BACKGROUND: This five-star hotel is operated by South African hospitality company Tsogo Sun – which recently celebrated 50 years of operations – under franchise agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group, with a second InterContinental property operated by Tsogo Sun at O.R. Tambo International Airport. The Sandton property is one element in Tsogo Sun’s ‘Sandton Mile’, consisting of the adjacent Sandton Sun and Sandton Convention Centre properties, and the Garden Court Sandton City on the other side of SCC. The InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers opened in 1993 and underwent a refurb in 2008/2009.
WHERE IS IT? In Maude Street in the heart of Sandton, a two-minute walk from Sandton City Shopping Centre and a drive of about half an hour to O.R. Tambo International Airport, depending on traffic. The local Gautrain station is a walk of about 10 minutes away and thereafter is a 15-minute train ride to the airport. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to the station.
ROOMS: The InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers has 231 rooms over a number of floors. After being directed from reception to the Club Floor for VIP check-in, we found our way to our 61.5m2 Club Deluxe Suite, a corner room with a view over the rest of Sandton. Well, two rooms, actually, dominated by a large lounge and dining room with huge flat-screen TV, lounge suite, work desk, dining room table and coffee counter. The bedroom was ‘small’, but only in comparison with the large lounge, and was more than adequate, with a king-size bed facing another large flat-screen TV and with decently-sized bathroom-en-suite. We gave the wi-fi a try and it was seamless to connect to, with great speed. Additional amenities included a walk-in closet, DVD player, Nespresso coffee machine, electronic safe, mini-bar, and 24-hour room service. The hotel’s ‘Standard’ rooms are 36m2, whilst the other options are ‘Club Floor’ rooms, ‘Corner Deluxe’ rooms, and the Penthouse suite, which is spread over two floors and comes with its own butler.
FOOD & DRINK: Having arrived around lunchtime and with one eye on an afternoon nap, we opted for room service, which for me meant sampling the Club Sandwich, which is my ‘go-to’ option. A generous portion, with French Fries, arrived about half an hour later and I wasn’t disappointed. An excellent version of this simple, yet classic dish. For more formal dining, the hotel has the Atrium Restaurant on the ground floor, which has large windows looking out onto Sandton. Here, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. We had breakfast on our way out, after a short stay, and here I went for the scrambled eggs, croissant and bacon combo, which was done just right. I’m not a fan of crispy bacon, so that was important, as was the quality of the coffee, which was hot and tasty. Throw in some attentive service and I can say that breakfast was a success!
BUSINESS: Guests in the Club suites also enjoy access to the Club Floor facilities, which include two private lounges, breakfast, snacks, canapés and drinks, as well as a valet service for up to three items per stay, VIP check-in and one hour’s use of a private boardroom. That boardroom is located across the road at sister property, the Sandton Sun. Otherwise, if you’re looking for something bigger, the adjacent Sandton Convention Centre can be accessed directly from the hotel and is a walk of barely a minute. Here, Tsogo Sun can accommodate groups of virtually any size, from six people up to several thousand.
LEISURE: The hotel has a fitness centre and a heated outdoor pool, whilst Sandton City is situated over the road. It has a host of restaurants and movie theatres. If you’re looking for a spa treatment, the adjacent Sandton Sun is where you’ll need to go.
VERDICT: A premium property in the heart of Sandton, with quality service, good food, comfortable accommodation, and an inviting club lounge, if you’re a corporate traveller who likes a bit of exclusivity. Certainly, if you need to be in Sandton and the budget allows, you can’t go wrong.