luxe - Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas & Spa Johannesburg
Written by Lucy Corne
Combining gilt-edged luxury and intimate service, the Saxon Boutique Hotel is the perfect place to relax, indulge, and escape Johannesburg’s hectic pace.
Earthy shades and understated décor offer a gentle nod in the direction of the African safari lodge, but the modern design steers well clear of cliché. An outstanding art collection adorns the walls, with the pièce de résistance a collection of drawings by Dean Simon featuring the famous faces that have stayed in the Saxon’s sumptuous rooms.
The rooms – all of them suites – boast enough entertainment options to stop you stepping outside, but that would be to miss out on a stroll through the stately, park-like grounds or on sampling the tree-top walk that joins the villa suites and the main hotel via a collection of raised decks.
If the tranquillity found in the indigenous garden is not enough, retreat to the spa, whose signature treatment sets it apart from competitors. Focusing on healing from within, the sound therapy uses a range of gongs, bells, and bowls to ease away stress as you lie on a heated water bed. Aural pleasures continue in the pool, with its underwater music system that helps you forget you’re a stone’s throw from one of Africa’s most bustling cities.
A member of Leading Hotels of the World, the Saxon has been voted as the World’s Leading Boutique Hotel by the World Travel Awards every year for a decade since 2001.
With portraits of him hanging on the walls and a suite named in his honour, it won’t be long before you’re wondering about the Nelson Mandela connection. In fact he stayed at the property before it became a hotel while editing his autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom. While in the area, visit poignant sites from the great man’s life including his former home in Soweto, the prison-turned-museum that once held him, Constitution Hill, and the Liliesleaf farmhouse, once the HQ of his underground organisation which now holds a fascinating exhibition on apartheid.