Travelling for business is a tricky thing. Apart from having to recover from a long flight, which can be arduous, even in business class, you also have to adjust to a different time zone and be at the top of your game at work.
There is a fine distinction between a leisure hotel and a business hotel, and few manage to be both. These four top Johannesburg hotels focus on business travellers, and cater to their every need.
Saxon Villas, Hotel and Spa
Whenever a celebrity is in town, you can almost guarantee that they’ll be staying at the Saxon. Nelson Mandela famously wrote his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, here, and everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Justin Bieber has called this Sandhurst gem home.
The five-star service starts from when guests park their cars — a Mercedes Benz pulls up to transport people to the reception area, 100 metres away. The lobby’s main feature is an exquisite sweeping staircase, and staff who know your name. Rooms have an African flair, and are appointed with a loaner laptop, complimentary minibar with snacks, lounge and dining area, while suites have a dedicated butler service and private decks.
Make sure to book well in advance if you want to dine at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Five Hundred. Ingredients are sourced directly from the Saxon’s vegetable garden, and the restaurant is a gastronomic feast, with a smorgasbord of delights being presented to you throughout the six-course menu.
The Hyatt Regency
While Joburg is great in many ways, one thing it still has to improve on is public transport. Taxis are ridiculously expensive, and if the city is new to you, its five-lane highways may make hiring a car a tad daunting.
The Gautrain is a rapid train system which provides direct access from OR Tambo International Airport to the business districts of Rosebank and Sandton. If visitors choose to stay at the Hyatt, their journey would end at the station, as the hotel is situated right next to it.
Another location based aspect that makes the Hyatt a great choice, is the fact that it’s part of the Rosebank Mall, one of Johannesburg’s trendiest and largest malls, with two movie theatres and a number of good restaurants, so visitors needn’t resort to room service every night.
The hotel has two boardrooms and six meeting rooms on site, so there’s no need to contend with Johannesburg traffic. Ask for a room on a higher floor so you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city.
The Peech Boutique Hotel
If you are planning to be in Johannesburg for a long period of time, you may be after something a bit more homely. The Peech is the only 4 star property on this list, but it offers extra touches that aren’t found in some 5 star hotels, like electric blankets and heated towel rails.
The boutique hotel was originally a private residence, built in the 1950s. After some renovations, it now has 16 rooms, and features an outdoor swimming pool and an acre of lush gardens that guests can amble through en route to their suites, which feel like mini loft apartments, with private decks, separate living areas and cosy touches like rugs and interesting décor.
The real bonus when staying at the Peech is being able to dine at their bistro, which is open only to in house guests. This is so good, it could easily be a standalone restaurant. The head chef, Greg Jardim, has tried to create a menu that reflects what the Peech is all about: “simple, laid back and chic with an understated touch of sophistication.”
The Peech is big on responsible tourism and has implemented measures to assure this throughout the hotel: some large like solar water heating, others small, like using rechargeable batteries.
Situated a stone’s throw from Sandton, the business capital of Johannesburg, Fairlawns has 40 individualized suites as well as a conference centre and Balinese spa. The hotel has all the luxuries you’d expect from a five-star hotel, along with the comforts you miss when away from home.
Suites are furnished with Persian carpets, fine art and historic artifacts, far from the sterile, stock standard layout of most hotel chains. If guests desire a break from their rooms, they’re able to relax on an oversized armchair in front of the fireplace, or take a walk in the vast gardens.
I’d recommend visiting the plethora of restaurants in the Sandton area rather than dining at the hotel’s eatery, which isn’t worth the extravagant price tag. One thing that is worth doing at the hotel is visiting the award winning Balinese spa, which features an oversized couple’s treatment room and a range of quality products. A QMS collagen boosting facial is a great way to relieve jetlag and perk yourself up for an early morning meeting.