Brian Berkman lets the train take the strain when he visits the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel in Johannesburg
From one of the hotel’s 220-bedrooms and suites in Sandton, Johannesburg’s premium shopping and lifestyle metropolis, to the airline check-in counter at OR Tambo International airport in 25-minutes seems like an impossibility. That is, unless you are staying at four-star graded Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel and using the high-speed Gautrain link which deposits you directly into the airport.
There are, of course, hotels directly within the airport precinct and many near the airport too, but the advantage of lodging in Sandton is easy access to the best the city has to offer in terms of upscale shopping (the vast Sandton City Mall is remarkably close by) and many happening bars and restaurants.
We last stayed in this property before the Gautrain project was completed and the hotel has since been almost entirely overhauled with new and smart public areas. Designed with the business and leisure traveller in mind, there is a good workspace with plenty of plug points, including international configurations in the room, and the large public areas, located on the third floor of the building, are welcoming and designed to accommodate a strong flow of foot traffic.
With a bar with vibrantly coloured chairs and high-energy decor and TV screens on the one side to the all-day buffet restaurant, Central One, way on the other with outside seating and large picture windows, the public areas are always abuzz and perfect for people watching. This is one of the advantages of staying in a hotel rather than an Airbnb.
Keycard operated lifts are programmed to only stop at the floor your room is on and despite the hubbub of the public areas, room corridors and the bedrooms were quiet, an essential requirement if one is a light sleeper.
There are several room categories, some with corner floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies but even the standard room comes with an excellent king-sized bed, workspace, Nespresso machine, kettle and bathroom with tub and rain shower.
A fully equipped fitness centre is on the 10th floor with giant windows from which to watch the city below. There is a pool and sun-loungers on the main third floor all interconnected to the sitting areas with chic Le Corb-style chrome and black leather armchairs.
The neat furniture and fittings aside the luxury here is in the quality of the bed and proper blackout curtains. And the free wi-fi is extremely fast.
There is a double-lane road, albeit with pedestrian traffic lights, which must be crossed from the Gautrain Station to the hotel. But, using the on-time Gautrain service from Sandton also easily connects to Rosebank, a nearby suburb also with a plethora malls and fine eateries. As a premium transport service, the Gautrain has monitored CCTV cameras throughout the train and at the stations. A Gautrain card is required which can be purchased at any of the stations and easily topped up. There is also an app which provides train schedules and route planning.
Tell Me More About The Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel
The Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel Corner Of Rivonia Rd And West, Sandton, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
T: +2711 286 1000. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
For a standard room for two people on June 8, 2022, for example, the cheapest rate, without breakfast, is R1815 or about £93.