I have a soft spot for luxury hotels – especially those that come with luxurious gowns, Nespresso machines, free high-speed Wi-fi and great views. And the five-star Radisson Blu Sandton Hotel provided all of these. The hotel is fairly new and this is quite evident in the modern, trendy furniture, fixtures and fittings throughout it. It is conveniently located in the heart of Sandton’s business district within walking distance of the Sandton Convention Centre and opposite the Hyundai Sky Park. There is a free shuttle service to the Gautrain Station and Sandton City, both a short drive away.
As we pulled up at the hotel and parked our car on a Saturday afternoon, we were welcomed by the very-friendly Thomas at the hotel entrance. He guided us first to the reception on the 13th floor where we checked in then to our room on the 17th floor – the first few floors of the hotel are occupied by the parking zones. Thomas gave us an entertaining commentary and overview of the hotel while escorting us. We jokingly referred to it as the Radisson Blu Hotel 101 lesson.
The hotel is designed in such a way that all its penthouses, bedrooms, the restaurant and the other facilities which include the swimming pool, the spa and the gym, all have exquisite views of the Sandton and Johannesburg skyline. From the moment I entered my huge Business Class room, I found it hard to tear myself away from the floor-to ceiling windows. They directly overlooked the park with the Hyundai hot air balloon, which appeared to be quite popular and ascended frequently with passengers in it. I made a mental note to try it someday soon. Looking further away, I had a great view of the world’s largest man-made forest that is Johannesburg. I could see as far as the Ponte and Hillbrow Towers, which I didn’t even know was possible from Sandton.
When I did manage to tear myself away from the spectacular views, I had a look at the spacious bathroom and was impressed to find complimentary toiletries by Anne Sémonin of Paris, France as well as a shaving kit, a toothbrush set and laundry detergent. How thoughtful! The room boasted a large flat-panel TV, a steam press (how many hotels have this?), a Nespresso coffee machine and an air purifier apart from all the other standard amenities. The work area was spacious and comfortable too, although I certainly didn’t want to work there with so much else to do.
Vivace, the hotel’s Italian-style restaurant, has a vibrant red and orange décor, great for waking one up in the morning. It has an open kitchen where guests can watch the talented chefs creating culinary works of art. The tea station had all types of exotic teas including fennel tea and wild berry tea. Of course, I had to try both out. We had a lovely leisurely breakfast here while admiring the omni-present views. There is also a private dining room, a café serving drinks and snacks and a comfortable coffee lounge.
The hotel has some great facilities designed to make one’s stay as comfortable as possible, for leisure and business travellers alike. These include the 8th-floor swimming pool with a sun deck and spectacular views of the city skyline.
Adjacent to the spa is a whopping 5000 square metres state-of-the-art Platinum Planet Fitness gym with its own pool and an indoor/outdoor jogging track. While staying at the hotel, we could pop down to gym and the spa to get “tortured” and pampered, in turn, then pop back to our room to shower and change before going down to the restaurant. There was no need to go out of the hotel. It made for a great weekend away from home.