To the north of central Johannesburg is Sandton, a former municipality that has flourished in the last couple of decades. After moves away from downtown in the 1990s and 2000s, Sandton is now the center of most business and political action in the city of Johannesburg. It is also an area that appeals to tourists, with golf courses, parks, shopping centers, and many of the city’s finest hotels and restaurants.
The Radisson Blu is one of the best options for business travel, with crisp, no-fuss styling and professional service. Most importantly, the business center is top-notch, and there is also a gym to rival that of any hotel gym anywhere. The outdoor pool is for leisure, and then there is a separate indoor pool (both are quite large) for exercise on one of the gym’s three floors. There are also expansive cardio and weight areas, and a complete indoor running track with air-conditioning. For travelers who need to keep up their workouts while in town, there’s no better place to stay.
Another top-notch business hotel right on Nelson Mandela Square is the InterContinental. It has all of the amenities of any hotel of its caliber, with some impressive extras as well. The fountains and lighting of the lobby are beautiful, and the pool, gym, and rooms are all what you would expect or better. The InterContinental serves well as both a business hotel, since it’s in the heart of central Sandton, but also excellent if you’re in town on pleasure. The walkway to the adjacent shopping center lets you get from place to place easily, and quite a few restaurants are within easy walking distance.
A stay of equal quality but with much more relaxation can be found at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa. A stay here is a different kind of experience altogether, as unlike the towering modernity of most of the other business hotels in Sandton, the Fairlawns is an elegant and luxurious three-wing building with masterfully landscaped grounds. Even though it’s in the city, it almost feels like an escape to a European-style colonial safari lodge, in a different place and time altogether. The rooms and common areas are also decorated accordingly, with dark wood, large plush armchairs, and a roaring fireplace. Food and spa are both luxurious in quality as well.
For a less expensive but still comfortable stay, the Protea Hotel Balalaika is a great option. It’s also in the center of Sandton, but has a serene garden and pool area which serves as the perfect place to have a swim or a cup of coffee in the morning on the terrace. The entire place is large, but is clean and very well kept up. The lobby is attached to a mini-mall, and larger shopping centres are within a few minutes walk as well.
[photo courtesy of attawayjl]