Sandhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa
Voted the ‘World’s Leading Boutique Hotel’ since 2001, The Saxon is the epitome of excellence. Enter through the driveway and be transported into a vibrant green oasis within the heart of Sandton. Manicured, pristine gardens encompass the Saxon house and villas scattered with bright purple Jacaranda trees gracing the hotel in full bloom during my stay. Lay beside the infinity pool to watch the sunset or relax, taking full advantage of the hotel’s extensive spa offering with an abundance of ways to unwind.
Home to an impressive art collection supporting some of South Africa’s best artists, there is no doubt The Saxon suites are second to none. Fully equipped with a beautiful king-sized bed, lounge, dining and balcony areas, the suites are even fitted with an iPod docking station adjacent to a comfortable work space. Yet, it’s neither the daily newspaper nor the walk-in shower that remain at the forefront of my mind, days, weeks and months later; instead it is the people of The Saxon, who’s genuine care and affection cannot be imitated.
Take time to get to know each member of staff working at The Saxon whether it is the most genuine, humble Veli welcoming guests or Mpumi serving breakfast with the greatest smile and an even bigger heart, The Saxon should feel utterly privileged and proud to have such incredible people working at their hotel, creating a ‘home away from home’ atmosphere from arrival to departure.
I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at a vast array of hotels around the world but there is truly something special about The Saxon. When visiting a café, I often say that “good coffee attracts you but good people bring you back.” I think it’s fair to say the same for hotels in that, luxury beautiful accommodation draw you initially but it’s connections and people that drives a return, something I believe The Saxon masters.
Luxurious living is continued into the kitchen with two contemporary restaurants at the heart of the hotel: Qunu and Grei. Named after Nelson Mandela’s former home in the Eastern Cape, breakfast is served either in the hotel’s Qunu restaurant or out on the Fig Terrace. Now serving from a brand new menu, there is a wide selection of delicious, healthy breakfast choices including gluten-free, raw and vegan options. Along with a vast display of fresh baked pastries, fruits and juices, there’s the most appealing hot breakfast menu serving anything from vegan pancakes to Eggs Benedict. Needless to say, breakfast is still my favourite meal of the day.
Fit for a president? Absolutely. The primary reason for visiting The Saxon was my longing to experience the place that became home to Mandela after he was realised from prison. It is here that Mandela started his autobiography, ‘Long Walk To Freedom’, a pivotal point in South Africa’s history. I feel super lucky to have been able to experience first hand, the beauty of this picturesque retreat where the history of the nation lay engrained in each footprint, around every corner.