Sarah Kingdom reviews The Residence Hotel, a boutique hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city.
Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and its financial hub, is a captivating city of contrasts and attractions. This is the hot heart of South Africa, a pulsating, thriving cosmopolitan city where the past and present meet to create in a tapestry of history and contemporary, an unforgettable destination, where innovation, creativity and enterprise flourish.
Glittering skyscrapers, well-known chains, and charming boutique hotels, there are accommodation types to all diverse tastes. While the allure of renowned international chains may be tempting, the city boasts an array of outstanding alternatives offering a local and arguably superior experience.
The first and most important decision you’ll make when planning your Johannesburg travels will be where to stay. This will determine much of what you do, what you see and how much you actually enjoy your visit. My top tip for this is to choose the meticulously managed The Residence Hotel. This gorgeous boutique hotel is located in the upscale neighbourhood of Houghton, with its surrounding jacaranda-lined streets and grand suburban residences, including the historic Nelson Mandela Houghton Estate, once home of the revered leader himself.
Attention to detail and a welcoming atmosphere are central to this fantastic boutique hotel – from a glass of bubbles on arrival, to the staff for whom nothing is too much trouble. Three swimming pools (one heated), a tennis court, a gym and a spa. Elegantly decorated rooms, with antique French crystal chandeliers, opulent velvet drapes, Persian carpets and fireplaces in most suites.
Every aspect of the Residence hotel’s decor has been thoughtfully curated, with each piece hand-selected by the owners. There are 8 Luxury Rooms, 5 Luxury Suites (with fireplaces and hot tubs), 1 Penthouse Suite (with a jacuzzi, outdoor shower and outdoor spa tub), 2 One Bedroomed Suites (one with its own sauna), a Pool Villa and the lavish Madiba Suite, with its very own hot tub, outdoor shower, relaxation area, small library, and outdoor dining and lounge area.
Guests can start their day with a delicious breakfast, either selecting from the extensive buffet or ordering from the impressive à la carte menu. The dinner menu is, if anything, even more impressive. For starters think Falklands calamari, a trio of carpaccio (ostrich, crocodile, warthog or springbok), or grilled oysters with a Korean chilli paste & bacon butter. Follow that with sesame seed encrusted seared tuna aged loin, rib eye steak with a truffle velouté, Mauritian seared sea bass or grille ostrich fillet.
Finish your meal off with a traditional Malve pudding or perhaps, my personal favourite, the Tripple Chocolate – chocolate ice-cream, chocolate brownie and chocolate rocky road. What’s not to love?
The in-house spa offers traditional spa treatments, a sauna and a steam room. For golf enthusiasts, the hotel is in walking distance of two prestigious and exceptional Johannesburg golf courses – Houghton Golf Club and Killarney Country Club. Sandton City, Africa’s most iconic shopping centre, is only 4 miles away and the hotel provides free private parking and a car rental service. OR Tambo International Airport is only 30 minutes away and an airport shuttle is available.
Something really special that the hotel offers is private tours of Johannesburg with the hotel’s exclusive in-house accredited tour guide, Marvin. Johannesburg’s reputation can make it a bit intimidating for solo travel, but a guided tour takes all the guesswork out of your travels about the city – you know you are in the hands of an expert, who knows the best places to go and the best ways of seeing them. Marvin is a real character, friendly, witty, entertaining and with an exceptional talent for personalising his guests’ experiences and guaranteeing an unforgettable, tailored tour of Johannesburg.
Marvin and The Residence Hotel offers a variety of tours from ranging from trips to Maropeng (Cradle of Humankind) and Sterkfontein Caves, to Johannesburg, Pretoria or Soweto tours. Each tour offers Marvin’s insights and enthusiasm and an opportunity to really get to know the city, its history and its future trajectory.
Not visiting Cape Town and its wineries on this trip to South Africa? Not to worry. As an added bonus, The Residence Hotel offers a wine-tasting tour to the esteemed Gerakaris Family Wines, founded in 2009. This is a delightful journey into the world of boutique winemaking in the heart of Craighall Park, Johannesburg. Fine wines, crafted from grapes sourced from farms in the picturesque regions of Swartland and Elgin, in the Western Cape.
The charming estate, with lush gardens, is a perfect setting for a wine tasting. You’ll enjoy a selection of 5 wines, each chosen to showcase the unique terroir and flavours of South Africa’s renowned wine regions. The wines are thoughtfully paired with olives sourced from the Western Cape, rich Wagyu beef droewörs (a traditional, coriander-seed spiced and dried boerewors/sausage) from the Eastern Cape, and a cheese board, from four exceptional South African cheese producers – all carefully curated to complement the flavours of the wines. A memorable wine tasting that embodies the essence of South Africa’s wine culture.
There’s no better place than Johannesburg if you want to see the modern face of South Africa. You do need to be a bit strategic when choosing where to stay here because it’s a sprawling city with some crazy traffic and getting around can take a while. The Residence Hotel is an ideal spot, close enough to all the activities, action and sites, but removed enough and luxurious enough to feel like a bit of an oasis in what can be a frenetic city.
Tell me more about the Residence Hotel in Johannesburg.
The Residence Hotel 17 4th Ave, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, 2198, South Africa.
T: +27 11 853 2480 E: email@example.com
Luxury Suites at R7133.00, One Bedroom Suites @R8 780.00, Pool Villa @R 8 780.00, Penthouse @ R8 780.00 p/night, Madiba Suite @ R 10 726.00.
All include breakfast.