BACKGROUND: Radisson Blu is the flagship brand of Radisson Hotels, an international hotel group with properties across the world. The group operates two Radisson Blu hotels and a Park Inn by Radisson property in the Sandton node – all within a few hundred metres of each other. The Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Sandton Johannesburg opened in 2010.
WHERE IS IT? Right in the heart of Sandton, diagonally opposite the node’s Gautrain station, and on the corner of West Street and Rivonia Road. The hotel is within walking distance of Sandton City shopping centre, 500 metres from Sandton Convention Centre, and about half an hour’s drive from O.R. Tambo International Airport, depending on the Jo’burg traffic. It is about 15 minutes on the Gautrain from the Sandton station to ORTIA.
ROOM FACILITIES: The hotel has 220 rooms and suites, and all come standard with complimentary high-speed wireless internet, a mini-bar, flat-screen TV with satellite channels and pay-TV movies, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, work desk, and tea and coffee-making facilities. They range in size from 28m2 for the standard and business class rooms to 38m2 for the junior suites and 60m2 for the one-bedroom suites. All except the standard rooms have Nespresso coffee machines in them and offer access to a private lounge. We were fortunate to be upgraded to the penthouse suite, which was significantly more than we needed, but luxurious nonetheless. The suite consisted of a bedroom with large en-suite bathroom, dining room, kitchen and lounge with grand piano and stunning views of Sandton, courtesy of the large windows. All mod-cons on offer, with Nespresso coffee machine and enormous flat-screen TVs in both the lounge and bedroom. Throw in the views and the comfortable lounge suite, and we found the lounge a pretty enticing space in which to relax and enjoy a coffee. In short, the suite as a whole was beautiful, luxurious and tastefully decorated.
RESTAURANTS & BARS: The hotel’s Central One restaurant is a short walk from reception and enjoys similar views of Sandton, looking out on the corner that faces the Gautrain station. It serves what it calls a ‘Super Breakfast Buffet’ every morning, as well as for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is from 06h30 every day, lunch at 12h00, and dinner from 18h00. We enjoyed dinner on a quiet Saturday evening, although the service was a little slow, particularly in taking a drinks order. Nonetheless, we settled into a window table and enjoyed the view. I opted for the beef carpaccio to start, with the dish coming with “compressed melon, grana Padano crisp, micro shoots, aged balsamic dressing, fresh celery, and roasted garlic mayonnaise”. I then went for the slow braised Karoo lamb shank, which came with “rosemary crushed potato, baby beetroot, red wine poached pear, crispy baby onion, and gluhwein reduction”. Both dishes were outstanding, as was the chocolate box I had for dessert. The hotel also offers 24-hour room service, and we made use of this on the afternoon of our arrival, opting for a late lunch. I went for the club sandwich with chips, which was delicious, but again, the service was a little slow, with the sandwich taking 45 minutes to arrive.
BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: The hotel has seven meeting rooms and two boardrooms, and all come with free high-speed, wireless internet, and the latest audio-visual technology. The largest space can host up to 600 delegates. That technology includes Radisson Blu’s ‘One Touch Meeting App’, which is complimentary with every event booking and can be found on the App Store and on Google Play. It provides your attendees with a customized and private meeting agenda and information, accessible via their smartphone.
LEISURE FACILITIES: The hotel has an outdoor pool and a fitness centre with weight-lifting area and cardiovascular machines. There’s also secure parking, a concierge service, on-sight unisex barber, and complimentary hotel shuttle within a five-kilometre radius. Additional services include a ‘grab & run’ breakfast and express check-out for those with a busy schedule.
VERDICT: Service just needs a bit of sharpening up, but otherwise, a great corporate hotel with an excellent location for business in Sandton, good food and rather comfortable accommodation.