It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for luxury accommodation and our latest staycation at The Houghton Hotel ticked all the right five-star boxes. One of Johannesburg's newest and most luxurious hotels, the hotel has already scooped up the award for Africa's Leading New Hotel 2020 in the prestigious World Travel awards, and is likely to win many more awards.
Situated amongst the lush avenues of the upmarket Houghton Estate suburb, where former President Nelson Mandela spent his last few years, The Houghton Hotel is close enough to the airport as well as business and shopping hubs to be convenient, but secluded enough to make one feel far removed from the chaos that is Johannesburg.
Whereas most of the city’s other five-star hotels are geared towards business travellers, it differentiates itself by being more of a lifestyle destination catering for discerning leisure and business travellers, and locals too. Facilities at the hotel include an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at the Houghton Golf Club, the world-class spa and wellness centre, a state-of-the-art FitBar gym, a running track, four swimming pools as well as function and conference facilities.
A magnificent spiral staircase dominates the opulent lobby, and fascinating artworks adorn the walls. Smart elevators determine which floor you live on once you scan your card. As Givenchy once said, “Luxury is in each detail".
For meals, there is a choice of two restaurants serving fresh seasonal cuisine - the signature Séjour restaurant and the more casual Nova Deli. The hotel even has its own herb garden!
On arrival, our temperatures were checked, hands sanitised and details noted for tracing purposes. After a quick check-in, we proceeded to our room which was so comfortable that we were loath to part with it. Once we eventually managed to tear ourselves away, lured by the temptation of seeing more of this beautiful hotel, we headed to the restaurant for sundowners and some amazing sushi. This is when we realized how much of a social hub the hotel was. There were buzzing parties, social rendezvous, and family meals in progress at the piazza, overlooking the pools and the golf course.
The following morning, we enjoyed a delicious à la carte breakfast at Nova Deli, consisting of smoked salmon and cottage cheese bagels, poached eggs with spicy salsa and avocado, hearty oats, freshly baked pastries and refreshing smoothies with names like Babalas Buster, Coffee Date and Green Monster.
There are 56 rooms, 4 presidential suites and 7 grand penthouses of varying sizes. The 830 square metre Rockstar Penthouse is fit for a rockstar – or royalty - and comprises four bedrooms, a private jacuzzi, a swimming pool, a steam room and a butler.
Our spacious room featured a king-size bed, a lounging area and a working table. A huge television dominated the space opposite the bed. Plush toweling gowns and slippers were provided for our comfort, while the Nespresso machine kept us adequately caffeinated. Floor to ceiling sliding doors opened onto a small balcony and the curtains could be opened and shut at the touch of a button. Smart technology sensors also determined when we needed lights and switched them on and off, as required. Should you choose to lie in and not leave your private sanctuary, then room service is always an option.
The open-plan bathroom had retractable screens which could be closed for privacy or opened for more space, double vanity basins, massaging and rain showers, as well as a spacious free-standing bathtub.
The Houghton Hotel may be located in one of South Africa’s biggest and busiest cities, but once you’re inside, it’s wonderfully serene and you feel as though you’re miles away from the city. We loved the rooms, the facilities, the food, the vibe and the park-like setting in Johannesburg’s affluent green belt. It’s certainly on par with other luxury hotels we’ve visited around the world. Whether you stay there for business or pleasure, indulge in a spa treatment or enjoy a meal or sundowners there, just make sure you experience this Johannesburg jewel.
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