Hotel check: Radisson Blu Gautrain

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Where is it?

Probably the most convenient location in Sandton – on the corner of West Street and Rivonia Road, directly across the road from the station entrance to the brand-new Gautrain high-speed link to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo international airport, some 35 km away. Now, from airport terminal to hotel room it’s probably about 20 minutes – which massively repositions the concept of an airport hotel in my mind. Forget being miles from anywhere fun, nestled up to a runway in a brick box – thanks to the Gautrain this hotel offers everything you’d need or want from any hotel anywhere in a massively convenient package – and then some. The bustling Sandton City and Sandton Square Malls are just a block away, and with about 70% of the country’s economic wealth within a 15 km radius, would you rather be anywhere else?

How Many Rooms?

There are 216 guest rooms including standard and business-class rooms as well as 20 suites, across seven floors. Business Traveller was accommodated in a corner suite (on a complimentary basis) which consisted of a bedroom, lounge with adjacent openplan dining room, a walk-on private glass balcony overlooking Sandton City and oneand- a-half bathrooms. It was spacious and impressive in size with modern, angular decor and muted colour tones.

Room Facilities

Although the lighting was only the on/off variety (we would have preferred a dimmer to lower the lights and enjoy the cityscape below us) and a minor teething problem with the floor lamp (the plug didn’t fit the wall socket) the suite was well appointed with comfortable lounge furniture and a great bed with excellent pillows. There was a Nespresso machine, a well-stocked mini bar and the bathroom amenities were of a high quality. We noted and liked the complimentary Wi-Fi. My wife commented that the in-bathroom hair dryer was uncomfortably situated and the dressing table provided had nowhere to sit, which makes it awkward for ladies to use. Nitpicking? It’s a common problem in business hotels everywhere as she again pointed out. Overall though, we loved the space, feel and layout of the suite. It felt like a home from home and we didn’t want to leave the room once settled in even though the hotel offers some good nightlife and restaurant options for lunch and dinner. We did find the room service menu both limited and rather expensive – around R100 for a salad! – and in the end opted to go out for dinner rather than eat in.

Restuarants, Bars and Business Facilities

The all-day restaurant at the Radisson Blu Gautrain occupies some 300 square metres on the ground floor and offers a contemporary seasonal and local menu of dishes. At breakfast time we enjoyed the selection from over 120 breakfast dishes. The buffet was not only plentiful but of superb quality. I particularly liked the full-sized glasses available at the juice counter. (It always strikes me as odd when other hotels offer a sumptuous, all-youcan- eat spread and then give you a thimble for a juice glass!) We enjoyed the attentive and interactive service and lingered a while longer that we expected over cappuccinos and newspapers. A quick morning tour of the ZAR bar, the hotel’s rooftop cocktail destination with its spectacular views and decor showed why the venue is a ‘hot and happening’ destination on the local nightlife scene. Available for either private parties or corporate bookings as well – it’s one to remember. The hotel also has a great range of conference options (handling up to 500 guests seated in cinema style.)

Verdict

A one-night visit didn’t really dothe hotel justice. Both my wife and I would have happily stayed another night as we really settled in here quickly. My advice would be to try it on your next Jozi visit, or for your next conference. It’s going to become a firm favourite and become a ‘must have used’ destination very quickly indeed.

Contact

Tel: +27 11 286 100

Website: radissonblue.com/hotelsandton-johannesburg

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