Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa, Sandton, Johannesburg, hotel review

Fairlawns Boutique Hotel, 12 miles from Johannesburg OR Tambo airport, sits in 14 acres of landscaped grounds
Fairlawns Boutique Hotel, 12 miles from Johannesburg OR Tambo airport, sits in 14 acres of landscaped grounds
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Scotland on Sunday’s Do Not Disturb

The city has had its share of troubles, but it is emerging as an exciting, gritty metropolis, with culture and infrastructure to rival any international counterpart.

Villa Moji, is one of the accommodation options at Fairlawns, where there are apartments, suites and private mansions

Villa Moji, is one of the accommodation options at Fairlawns, where there are apartments, suites and private mansions

Fairlawns works closely with Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, offering a great base for pre- or post-safari adventurers.

Budget or boutique?

Once a private home, stylish Fairlawns is set amid 14 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, with tall trees, manicured gardens and pretty courtyards, in the upmarket suburb of Sandton. A mix of tradition with modern design, it feels more like a small, exclusive private village than a hotel.

Room service

You can choose accommodation in a chic private mansion, luxury apartment or upscale suites. Everything is tastefully decorated in varying themes from African and Eastern to French provincial, and with original international art adorning the walls throughout. Rooms are non-smoking and each has air-con, mini bar, wifi, flat-screen TV and a safe.

Wining and dining

Fairlawns has a cocktail bar, elegant restaurant, Champagne terrace and tea lounge.

Venturing outside the Fairlawns oasis, try some of the fabulous restaurants and cool bars that Jo’burg has to offer. Marble Restaurant in the art and food hub of Rosebank serves exquisite dishes of quintessential South African food cooked on an open fire. Thunder Gun family restaurant, now 50 years old, is the best place to go for meaty ribs. We headed out to the 27 Boxes in the trendy Melville area, a shopping mall made from 27 upcycled shipping containers, and an ideal place for a light lunch, dinner and drinks. We ate at The Countess, where meat dishes rule, and we started with the Planks, a recommended series of small dishes. Bars to descend upon include the Sir James van der Merwe Bar at Katy’s Palace in Kramerville, a cool warehouse space stuffed with the owner’s antiques, and with great views over Sandton from the rooftop terrace. Round the night off at Sin+Tax in Rosebank, a hidden speakeasy-style bar.

Worth getting out of bed for

Though tempted simply to bask at Fairlawns and the new spa, Jo’burg offers plenty of activities, and we chose a township tour. The sprawling southwestern townships are collectively called Soweto, a name now famously associated with former president and statesman Nelson Mandela, who once lived there. We visited his old home in Orlando West, Soweto, where we soaked up the history of the great man. A visit to Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum is also a must. Located on the corner of Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Road in Ormonde, admission is free. Also worth visiting is The Satyagraha House, where Mahatma Gandhi lived for a time during his South African years, from 1893 to 1914.

Little extras

Fairlawns managing director, Michael Kewley, happens to be an interior designer and an avid art collector, and the hotel’s walls and spaces have been tastefully decorated with artwork collected during his travels. Cool off in the outdoor pool, chill in a poolside cabana, enjoy an award-winning spa treatment or sweat it out in the gym.

Guestbook comments

“A beautiful and elegant retreat. Although the hotel has many rooms, you feel you are the only guest.”

Lisa Young

Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, Johannesburg, rooms from R6,900 (£360) per night. Contact reservations@fairlawns.co.za; Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, 1 Alma Road, Morningside, Sandton, Johannesburg, www.fairlawns.co.za

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, from R15,000 (£804) per person per night. Contact +27 11 447-7172 or email res@sabisabi.com Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Reserve, Kruger National Park, www.sabisabi.com.

South African Airways offers flights from London Heathrow to Johannesburg return from £543. Visit flysaa.com.