the saxon hotel with the city behind

Sophisticated Elegance at Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spas, Johannesburg – Review

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What more could one ask of a holiday?

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Despite the hint of a vintage marauder in its moniker, the 53-suite Saxon is as sophisticated and genteel as a hotel could possibly be. This former private residence tucked away in Johannesburg’s leafy Sandhurst neighbourhood has been transformed into an oasis of quiet lake, clipped grass and utter calm. Nelson Mandela would also pitch up here to write his autobiography – so there’s that. 

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Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spas – Review

It doesn’t take long to see why generations of South Africans have ear-marked the Saxon as their hotel of choice. Ensconced in the midst of a lush 10 acre estate paired with a luxe two-storey spa, the sense of cosseted and discrete seclusion is probably why royalty, literary types and the reluctantly famous have been so enchanted over the years, and why they keep coming back.

STAY 

a villa terrace at the Saxon

Villa Luxury Suite

There are no bad angles to the Saxon. Every suite category is dressed in a light palette of contemporary African style and motifs, and channels a sophisticated elegance while somehow avoiding any hint of uptight stuffiness. The Luxury Suites have the advantage of being within the main hotel building – and, therefore, close to the principal amenities – but the Villa Luxury Suite’s location in the gardens is a world apart. And, if the latter’s Eden-esque quality appeals, consider adding a few days to the trip with a visit to sister property Shambala Private Game Reserve for game drives through 12,000 hectares of African bush and spa treatments.

the exterior of the shambala, sister property to the Saxon

Shambala Private Game Reserve

DO

The Saxon’s diversions are extensive enough that the question here isn’t what to do, but rather what to leave out. Between the six swimming pools, a library, a bar, two restaurants, a wine cellar, and piano lounge, the days are packed. Meanwhile, the sprawling two-storey spa is the sort of place you’d imagine would be a favourite with Wakandan royalty with its mix of modern facilities, and therapies based on crystal healing, healing native ingredients and Tibetan sound baths on heated water beds. 

EAT

To say that you won’t go hungry at the Saxon is merely to emphasise both the gourmet quality and relaxed mood of the resort’s gastronomic offerings. Qunu serves up contemporary fine dining in a setting that reminds you of a fancy bush lodge, while The Terrace’s all-day menu is gently paired with panoramic views of the estate’s gardens and pool. 

Meanwhile, the Piano Lounge rolls out a lavish afternoon tea – happily, a vegan and vegetarian menu can be ordered – amid deep comfy sofas, antiques, shuttered screens and Regency-style furniture. Genteel hardly begins to describe the moment. 

the view from The Terrace at the saxon

The view from The Terrace

THE FINAL WORD

From the gentle colours of the gardens and light African decor of the suites to the poised service staff and thoughtfully curated facilities, everything about the Saxon conspires to lure its guests into a state of relaxed calm. No moment is ever rushed, as if time is entirely at your beckoning. What more could one ask of a holiday?

BOOK IT: Rates from ZAR 10,395 per night. saxon.co.za