I walked into the huge open-plan lobby of the Radisson Blu Gautrain and was immediately struck by its size – extending all the way from the Central One Restaurant on the one end to the bar at the other, with the reception area in–between. The public areas seemed to flow together harmoniously, welcoming me to the hotel. Full-length windows and doors opened out onto the terrace and pool deck. The modern décor reflected black and white prints with appropriate splashes of colour in the comfortable seating areas, creating an attractive setting.
If you are planning on visiting Johannesburg for business, you will probably not find a hotel that is better located than the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel in Sandton. Right opposite the Gautrain station, in Africa’s richest square mile, the hotel is also within easy access of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange), the Sandton Convention Centre and Nelson Mandela Square. A complimentary shuttle service transports guests to locations within a 4km radius. The hotel building also houses a SLOW lounge, and car rental companies, should you need some wheels. Wi-fi, one of the most essential components of a modern hotel, is complimentary.
The enviable location, extensive meeting rooms and superb business facilities are just some of the reasons why the hotel has won so many awards, including the one for Best Luxury Business Hotel in South Africa, at the 2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards - a prestigious accolade indeed. The hotel takes the environment seriously too. Its holding company, Carlson Rezidor was named one of the world’s most ethical companies in the world for the fourth year in a row.
There are 220 rooms including 20 suites with lounge and dining areas. The rooms are spacious and elegant and offer comfortable beds, luxurious toweling gowns, rain showers and Nespresso machines - all you need to feel revived and energised for the next day. The one touch service ensures that one call can get your room service delivered, your laundry collected and your airport transport sorted in keeping with the hotel’s motto - “Yes, I can”. The checkout time is a comfortable 12 pm, another thoughtful benefit.
But the hotel is not only a business hotel. It is also great for a city vacation with the family and the inter-leading rooms cater ideally for family stays. We stayed there with our children and they were not the only young guests there. When they walked into their room and saw the treats that the hotel staff had laid out for them, they were thrilled. Disney channel then kept them occupied while they were in the room. And when it was time to go out for some shopping, Sandton City Shopping Centre was a short ride away, although we could have walked there too, had we chosen to do so.
The award-winning Central One Restaurant, is the hotel’s in-house restaurant and was recently refurbished. It seemed to be quite popular with hotel guests as well as dinner guests who came just to enjoy the mouth-watering cuisine. We had a hard time deciding what to eat with so many tempting options available. In the end we dined on succulent sea bass, salmon, seared tuna and calamari while we enjoyed the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Unfortunately we weren’t there on a Friday night –which is sushi night at the hotel.
After a long day of exhausting brain work - or shopping, you can unwind at the gym on the tenth floor while taking in panoramic views of Sandton or relax on the pool deck while the sun sets over Jozi. There was something about the pool deck. It appeared to be a popular spot for sundowners and everyone always looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Perhaps it was the smug knowledge that they were not amongst the less fortunate souls below, who were navigating the long road home through Sandton peak-hour traffic. Or perhaps it was the excitement of its urban locale being reflected in the vibe and ambience that permeated the place, making it the place to be.
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