BACKGROUND: Tsogo Sun Hotels is one of Africa’s largest hotel and gaming groups, and the Palazzo in Montecasino is one of five luxury properties in the group’s portfolio, having opened in 2000. All 246 rooms underwent refurbishment in 2014, and a new function and restaurant venue – ‘Rosa’ – was added.
WHERE IS IT? In the northern Johannesburg suburb of Fourways, adjacent to the Montecasino entertainment complex, which is home to a host of restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres, and a casino. It’s about 20 minutes’ drive to Lanseria International Airport and slightly longer to O.R. Tambo International Airport.
ROOM FACILITIES: ‘Tuscan luxury’ is the prevailing theme, and the 246 rooms are made up of 177 Superior rooms, 36 Deluxe rooms, 21 Executive rooms, 10 suites, one penthouse suite and one presidential suite. We had one of the 10 suites, which are 63m2 in size and consist of a small entrance hall that leads into a large lounge and on to the bedroom, which featured a king-size bed, en-suite bathroom and walk-in dressing room. Our suite had a view of the gardens and outdoor pool, along with the busy William Nicol Drive. Fortunately, double-glazing keeps the noise of the road out. Additional features included a trouser press, digital safe, large work desks and flat-screen TVs (with news, sport and movie channels) in both the lounge and bedroom, complimentary Wi-Fi (which worked efficiently), tea and coffee-making facilities with Nespresso machine, and mini-bar. The lounge was a comfortable space, with also a dining room table and chairs, making it multi-purpose for work, TV watching, dining, or entertaining. The king-size bed was a bit soft for my liking, but I loved the big walk-in rain shower.
RESTAURANTS & BARS: I started with a room service lunch of an enormous club sandwich in wrap form, accompanied by soft potato wedges and mayonnaise, before heading to the Medeo Restaurant later on for dinner. There we found a quiet corner, with the more rowdy tables outside on the terrace. The service was very attentive and the food outstanding – the beef carpaccio to start with, with onion mousse, quail egg and pickled walnut, followed by the pork belly with roasted corn and tomato insalata, corn cream and pork soy sauce. That was more than enough for me, so we skipped dessert. Departure morning saw me sample the eggs benedict – always a good yardstick – and I wasn’t disappointed. The service in the morning wasn’t as impressive, but the coffee was good, as was the setting, on the terrace looking out onto a koi pond, which in turn leads down to the pool area. Guests can enjoy a breakfast buffet or a la carte meal from 06h30 to 11h00 daily, as well as an a la carte lunch and dinner menu. The restaurant also services the large terrace and two wooden decks, where you can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail. Similarly, light meals are also served at the pool. The other option is the Cafe Rialto bar and lounge area, which is a more informal venue for meetings or pre-dinner drinks. The hotel also does a high tea between 14h00 and 17h00.
BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: The hotel has a business centre just off reception with a TV, desktop computers, printer, copier, fax etc. Downstairs, adjacent to the restaurant, the boardroom can accommodate up to 10 guests with a wooden-carved table, high-back leather chairs and wood-panelled walls. The Soave and Castello meeting rooms can do up to 50 delegates, cinema or cocktail-style, and are 68m2 and 66m2 in size, respectively. Otherwise, there’s the new Rosa venue, or you can make use of the larger conferencing and banqueting facilities at Montecasino.
LEISURE FACILITIES: Look no further than a relaxing Mangwanani Spa massage next to the massive pool, which is where you want to spend your down time. Interestingly, the noise of the many fountains drowns out any potential traffic din. Alternatively, find your way to the 24-hour fitness centre. I opted for the pool.
VERDICT: If your travel budget allows, look no further than this northern Johannesburg luxury offering.
Address: Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways
T +27 11 510 3000