Johannesburg’s northern suburb powerhouse of Sandton is home to the top investment banks, financial consultants, the Johannesburgstock exchange, and one of the biggest convention centres on the continent. As the most important financial and business district in South Africa, it comes as no surprise that this nucleus of commercial activity offers a wide range of top class hotels and restaurants, coffee shops and conference facilities. For the most accessible conference facilities in Sandton or a list of restaurants and meeting facilities, look no further than Business Traveller’s essential guide to this African hub.
WHERE TO STAY
Balalaika Sandton Hotel
Established in 1949, the Balalaika Sandton Hotel boasts 330 completely renovated and refurbished rooms. This stylish property has two private gardens and two sparkling pools, a fitness centre and is completely Wi-Fi compatible. Each of Balalaika Sandton Hotel rooms is tastefully furnished to depict the ultimate in comfort and style, with private bathrooms and air-conditioning. The hotel is only 25km (15.5 miles) from Johannesburg International Airport, 180 metres from Sandton City Shopping Centre, Nelson Mandela Square and the Sandton Convention Centre and adjacent to the Village Walk Shopping Centre.
Main attraction: The Crown Court Lounge is a sophisticated, airy lounge, beautifully appointed with a languid English Country atmosphere, complete with an open-hearth fireplace, through the winter months.
Hilton Sandton Hotel
The Hilton Sandton Hotel which opened its doors in 1997 is situated in landscaped gardens, close to the Village Walk Shopping Centre. The six floors have 329 king and twin bedrooms as well as suites, four rooms for the disabled and an executive floor. All rooms are equipped with a television set featuring Deukom television and other channels. The hotel has a private health club with sauna for all hotel guests, and personal trainers are available. A tennis court and outdoor pool with gazebo are for those wanting to enjoy outdoor exercise or just relax.
Main attraction: A range of amenities including theatres and casinos are located nearby. There is the option of a complimentary shuttle bus to venues further away from hotel.
InterContinental Sandton Towers
Towering high above Sandton’s contemporary skyline is the ultra luxurious The InterContinental Sandton Towers Johannesburg. With direct access to South Africa’s exclusive shopping complex, Sandton City, as well as to one of the largest convention centres in the country, this fine hotel offers world-class facilities and service. At the heart of the hotel’s success is the passion of its staff to deliver top-class service.
Main attraction: A gym, spa and staffed business centre that includes wireless internet connection and secretarial services.
The Michelangelo Hotel
The Michelangelo Hotel boasts luxury accommodation in the heart of Sandton Square. This hotel’s 218 deluxe and superior rooms, as well as the 22 premier and executive suites feature Renaissance-style architecture and elegantly decorated rooms. A range of room options are available to choose from and the well equipped conference rooms can cater for up to 160 delegates. Guests can unwind with a relaxing treatment at the Health Hydro or shop at exclusive designer stores at the Michelangelo Towers Mall before ending the day with a delicious dinner at one of the many fine restaurants.
Main attraction: The Executive Lifestyle Fitness Centre is fitted with a heated and covered swimming pool and steam bath.
Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton
This hotel is a Sandton skyline landmark with 290 rooms and suites. Within walking distance of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the central business district and also exceptional world class shopping and golf, the Radisson Blu includes eight flexible conference rooms for small to mid-size corporate meetings, private functions and other events. Each room is fully equipped and has high speed wireless internet connectivity.
Main attraction: Guests can relax around the 9th floor pool and deck, work out in the spacious state-of-the-art gym or enjoy some down time in the wellness spa.
Quatermain Inn Hotel, Sandton
The luxurious Quatermain Inn Hotel, situated in bustling SandtonCity, offers business travellers a graceful taste of unforgettable old African elegance. The Quatermain Inn accommodates its guests in 36 superior and nine deluxe smoking and non-smoking rooms. From major shopping complexes, offering an array of designer shops, boutique and curio shops, and various highly reputable restaurants, to the fitness centre located nearby and a swimming pool on the premises, Quatermain Inn has a little of everything for everyone.
Main attraction: The hotel has two fully equipped conference facilities and there is a fully functional business centre with a boardroom.
WHERE TO EAT
8 @ The Towers
Situated at the Michelangelo Towers, this multi-functional restaurant is set in plush surrounds with a comfortably chic décor. The menu at this Cuban restaurant, which is open for early morning health breakfasts, late night snacks, as well as sumptuous lunches and dinners, is diverse. This venue performs the function of lounge and lobby area at the hotel, and such is its excellent reputation and service levels that it also is contracted to provide a room-service function for the rooms in the hotel and the neighbouring Raphael Apartments.
Chef’s favourite: Fillet with tomato, mushroom, red wine and cream linguine
The Bull Run
Within walking distance from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, The Bull Run is known for its top quality, maturely aged meat. While this restaurant specialises in prime cuts, with all meat and biltong hand-cut daily by an in-house butcher, the menu also caters to seafood lovers and vegetarians.
The kitchen, meat-cooler and the butchery are in plain sight of both the smoking and non-smoking sections. The terrace is the ideal place to enjoy an exotic cocktail or a bottle of champagne and indulge with plate of fresh Luderitz Oysters.
Aside from its extensive menu, The Bull Run’s award-winning wine list, selection of cigars, whiskeys and cognacs makes it a perfect dining place for both individuals and groups.
Chefs favourite: Biltong and avocado salad or the Crusted Pepper Steak
Offering a unique mix of exclusivity, flexibility, comfort, sophistication and design, Signature Restaurant offers some of the best blues and jazz sounds Sandton has to offer. Situated in Morningside Shopping Centre, this venue boasts an extensive lunch and dinner menu with a local and international wine menu for even the most discerning palate. Its blend of sophisticated cooking, imaginative ideas and respect for ingredients guarantee a delightful gastronomic experience.
Chefs favourite: The seafood dishes and sushi come highly recommended
The 160 seater, Pigalle-Sandton, located in the Michelangelo Towers a tNelson Mandela Square, is considered to be the benchmark in urban chic dining.
Its lavish décor is matched by a succulent menu where appetisers of escargot and smoked salmon start the culinary extravaganza. This is a restaurant that has seamlessly combined elements of luxury and fine dining with a true Baroque attitude and urban style. Owners Naldo and Victor Goncalves have leading status for outstanding cuisine but their recipe for success is undoubtedly their exceptional ability to create an overall unique and truly unforgettable dining experience.
Chefs Favourites: Lamb shank slow roasted in red wine and fresh herbs, served with sweet potato mash and stir-fry vegetables
White Boy Shebeen
One of South Africa’s best known restaurateurs, Alan Gerson, is behind the concept of White Boy Shebeen. With an emphasis on Afro-Fusion dishes, White Boy Shebeen offers a selection of South African cuisine and a variety of Alan’s famous signature dishes from other parts of the world. The temperature controlled cellar boasts an unbelievable range of wines from all over the world, with a special emphasis on CapeClassics. This is rounded off with a comprehensive selection of armagnacs, beers, cognacs, port, liquers, spirits, and cigars.
The décor, which is an eclectic combination of sophistication and comfort, makes it a superb venue for a casual dinner, a special event or as a showcase for overseas guests who wish to sample a taste of Africa.
Chefs favourite: Kingklip Malay – fillets of Kingklip tempura in a sweet & sour Julienne of fresh vegetables.
For many years Vilamoura has been synonymous with the best gourmet seafood dishes. The restaurant includes two private dining rooms and is able to accommodate a romantic dinner for two or a corporate function for up to 180 guests.
Vilamoura proudly serves delectable meals that honour the heredity of the Portuguese and Mediterraneantraditions. This restaurant’s renowned quality and service has resulted in numerous awards including ‘Best Restaurant’.
Chef’s favourite: A variety of shellfish and line fish stewed in a port wine sauce accompanied by savoury rice and chips
The Sheikh’s Palace
Sit back, relax and be treated like a Sheikh in this restaurant where you will feast on authentic Lebanese cuisine. The Sheikh’s Palace offers an exotic glimpse into the customs and traditions of an ancient civilization, with Lebanese hospitality expressed by the offering of a variety of foods from buffet style Mezze, where it is regarded as proper to eat with your hands to main course served either plated or pattered. Smoking of the Argileh (Middle Eastern Hubbly Bubbly) is customary as well as the performance by belly dancers. But it is the dessert that is the most important custom as it shows that one is satisfied with the hospitality.
Chef’s Favourite: Kibbeh Nayye – the national dish ofLebanon. Processed – fresh – raw lamb with crushed wheat
LET’S DO COFFEE
Mugg & Bean
Known for its bottomless coffee and huge muffins, Mugg & Bean is a firm favourite, conveniently located withinSandtonCity. Its menu items are specifically designed to meet the needs of just about everyone looking for a friendly informal dining experience. This restaurant provides a high standard of coffee and hot beverages and also has a great selection of food items including their legendary muffins and cakes.
Speciality: A diverse range of filter coffee blends and espresso-based drinks which are brewed according to the correct formulas and parameters to ensure a consistently good in-cup quality
Key to the success of Nino’s is its appeal to a wide customer profile: all ages, races and genders, or: “Anyone who enjoys a good cup of coffee, a reasonably priced meal and a relaxed atmosphere. Breakfast; omelettes; croissants and muffins; pasta; salads; light meals; tramezzini; panini; toasted sandwiches; and sweets. Nino’s has a unique atmosphere and great Italian coffee. Here you are warmly welcomed and offer delicious food
Speciality: Beans imported from Mokambo, Italy, producing only espresso-based coffees. Thirteen coffee variations are listed on the menu, all available in decaffeinated.
Vida e Caffè
Meaning life and coffee in Portuguese, Vida e Caffè was born out of the heritage of a truly European espresso bar. The simplicity of the interior, the focused menu, and the nature of the service, have all been designed with European streetculture as the foundation. The Vida e Caffè espresso bars aim to deliver the highest quality coffee and pastries, prepared to European standards with a menu based on the fare typical of a street café providing a slice ofEurope on African streets.
Specialty: Cups are 100% recyclable, made from potato skins and the lids are made from corn.
While it may be better known for its nightlife and cocktails, Capello still serves a great cup of coffee. The restaurant also serves an array of foods from sushi and seafood to pasta and a wide range of continental plates including meat dishes. From the suave, modern interior design to the delectably comprehensive menu, the trends have been set without compromising or consistent commitment quality, class and all round good taste.
Speciality: Creating the perfect balance of food, passion and people.
House of Coffees
Registered first in 1965, House of Coffees started as a small shop in the heart ofJohannesburg. House of Coffees is about heritage, passion for coffee, offering tasty light meals and catering for everybody’s needs.
Speciality: House of Coffees is rated as the market leader of the South African retail market for pure ground coffee.
WHERE TO MEET
Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa
The Saxon Hotel’s conference venue is used for private dining, boardroom style conferencing, cocktail functions, presentations and more. Built-in computerised technology forms part of the conference venue. Conference packages can be tailor made to your specifications.
Facilities include: Equipment available includes a screen, flipchart, television, video recorder and an overhead projector. Functions can be held in the Auditorium, seats 30 delegates; the Cocktail Lounge, seats 60 delegates; the executive board room, seats 12 delegates; the Conference Room 1 and 2, seats up to 40 delegates and the Dining Library which seats 10 delegates.
Fairlawns Country Boutique Hotel
Fairlawns is a luxurious 5-star boutique country hotel situated in Sandton,Johannesburg, which boasts conference, wedding and banqueting facilities, as well as an a la carte restaurant and room service. Golf excursions can be arranged at one of the excellent nearby golf courses. Conference packages can be tailor made to your specifications.
Facilities include: Equipment available includes a screen, whiteboard, flipchart, TV and VCR, standard stationary, a data projector and wireless connectivity. Functions can be held in the boardroom, seats 10 delegates; the De Beers room, seats up to 80 delegates; the Cecil J Rhodes room, seats 16 delegates and the Barney Barnato room which seats up to 80 delegates.
InterContinental Sandton Towers
This exclusive hotel enjoys a direct link toSandton City,South Africa’s premier shopping complex. Superbly placed for business, it is also the ideal base for golf lovers.
Facilities include: Equipment available includes screen, printer, lectern, computer, flipchart, PA system, whiteboard, fax machine, data projector, photo copy machine, pens and note pads, e-mail and internet and a VHS video and monitor. Functions can be held in the Maroela Room, caters for up to 1200 delegates; the Maroela North room, seats up to 350 delegates; the Maroela South room, seats up to 450 delegates; the Oleander room, seats 80 delegates; the Jacaranda room, seats 160 delegates; the Syringa, Acacia and Magnolia rooms, seat 260 delegates; the Fuchsia room, seats 25 delegates and the Camelia or Hibiscus rooms which seat 10 delegates.
Sandton Convention Centre
Sandton Convention Centre isSouthern Africa’s international leading and most prestigious, multi-purposes exhibition and convention centre. It offers easy access to over 5 000 hotel rooms, is adjacent to the country’s top shopping and entertainment complexes and provides nearly 11 000 secure parking bays.
Facilities include: There are over 22 000 m² of convention, exhibition and special event space. The Pavilion can seat 4 500 patrons. The Ballroom can seat 2 000 banquet guests and the 13 other meeting rooms can accommodate up to 350 delegates. The two exhibition levels have a combined floor space of 11 000 m². This twelve-storey structure is designed and built to provide convention, exhibition and special event space over five main levels.
Zulu Nyala Country Manor
Zulu Nyala Country Manor is conveniently situated in Fourways, while providing delegates with an African game lodge environment close to the city.
Zulu Nyala’s Country Manor is set on 13 acres of ground that mixes beautifully landscaped gardens with areas set aside for a few wild visitors from the bush, including zebra, blesbuck, springbok and warthog.
This venue is ideal for companies requiring a stylish, professional but distinctively individual venue for conferencing, company breakaways or team-building.
Facilities include: Equipment available includes a flip chart, white board, overhead projector, VHS and TV monitor, 35mm slide projector and a data projector at an additional charge. Functions can be held in Room 1, seats 70 delegates; Room 2, seats 50 delegates; Room 3, seats 40 delegates and Room 4 which seats 20 delegates.