Noble Savage (he said):
Driving through Sandton, you quickly realise that pretty much every national and multinational business has an office somewhere in the vicinity. Looking at the skyline in the mornings on the way to my day job, the horizon is littered with cranes around the skeletons of new office blocks going up. And Sandton is not showing any signs of slowing down.
But on a Saturday afternoon, it’s somewhat of a different place. Altogether a bit more relaxed, it’s a bit easier to breathe and relax in Africa’s richest square mile. Which is why we decided to check in at the Radisson Blu Gautrain on a Saturday afternoon. Located across from the Sandton Gautrain station (obviously), it’s location is ideal for any business traveller needing to spend time in the city.
Radisson Blu Gautrain is not a one-trick pony existing solely to fulfil business people’s needs. It’s ideal for a quick weekend getaway if you’re not keen to spend hours driving.
We were warmly welcomed by the staff, making us immediately feel at home. The lobby shines in understated class, with the glass stack doors opening up to the deck by the pool. This is the ultimate setting for a drink as the sunset’s orange glow paint the concrete and glass on the surrounding buildings.
Central One Restaurant is at the other end of the lobby. We’ve visited a couple of years ago, and were very impressed by the presentation and quality of the meals. I’m glad to report that they have kept up the standard. The service is top class, and the food is sublime.
I opted for the spaghetti allo scoglio; spaghetti with a tomato and vodka sauce, with queen prawns added to the mix. And it was brilliant! The house wine is Protea by Anthonij Rupert, and the fruit of the Shiraz cut through the acidity of the tomato quite nicely. Don’t let anyone ever tell you to only have white wine with seafood….
Off to bed! The rooms are understated, which lends it an unpretentious level of class. Everything you need is there, including a Nespresso machine. This is an important inclusion, as the regular instant sachets at hotels tend to be a bit of a let down. Once under the soft, white duvet, it didn’t take long for sleep to arrive.
As with most hotels, a buffet breakfast is available. But Radisson Blu Gautrain is not your run of the mill hotel buffet. Anything you could possibly want for breakfast is available, be it cereal, cheese, or a good old fry up. I’m not the biggest breakfast eater, but couldn’t help but indulge in some fried eggs, copious amounts of bacon, and a variety of breakfast sausages. To finish off the breakfast, I had a spicy tomato cocktail. Perfect!
Sandton isn’t only for business people. Take the time to venture into the CBD on an afternoon during the weekend, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how the weekday bustle gives way to quiet streets. A perfect opportunity to have a drink on the deck of Radisson Blu Gautrain.
Boozy Foodie (she said):
I’ve been looking forward to this little mini-break for MONTHS! Central One Restaurant at Radisson Blu Gautrain was our very first Restaurant Week outing – ever. And it was such a lovely, romantic experience – I was so eager to repeat it. This time, however, we didn’t have to rush to catch the last train to Centurion! Win.
The reception and lounge area is open and welcoming. Exactly like the staff – big smiles and a professional, welcoming attitude. What a joy! But first let’s go check out our room.
Walking into our room, there were three things that immediately caught my attention.
- The View
On the 9th floor, facing away from the Sandton City side, it is clear to see that there’s a lot more exciting things in store for this economic hub. Just look at that beautiful blue sky! You’ve got to love winter in Gauteng.
2. The Nespresso machine
Noble Savage mentioned this previously. Nothing is as disappointing as walking into a hotel room and seeing 2 x Huletts Brown Sugar sachets, 2 x Five Roses Tea Bags, 2 x Ciro coffee sachets and 2 of those strange triangular milk thingies. It is such an issue for me that I often take my own coffee and milk with me when I travel, especially for longer stayovers. So I was thrilled to see this lil’ beauty in our room! With enough capsules, sugar, milk and even hot chocolate. BIG thumbs up.
3. The bathroom
Or more specifically, the shower! I really like the layout of this bathroom. Big, spacious shower, right next to the bath. I was also impressed by the quality of the bath goodies – that shower gel smelled absolutely heavenly! Again, Radisson Blu Gautrain impressing with the finer details.
After chilling in the room for a bit, we made our way down to the pool deck for some sundowners.
Sipping on a pink drink, watching the sun set over the Sandton skyline – a special kind of relax mode.
Moving on to dinner time – and off to Central One we went. Brighton, our waiter, was super attentive and offered some personal recommendations as well. Being a chilly June evening, I just couldn’t resist the Thai Chicken and Prawn Green Curry. Served with the works – basmati rice, poppadoms, etc – this was exactly the warm and comforting meal I was craving. Great recommendation Brighton!
I was looking at the dessert menu. Was torn between these two options:
I know right?? And in the end – after much internal turmoil, I didn’t have dessert at all. And now, four days later, I am still OBSESSING about it! I must go back to try it out!
After a good night’s rest, and bit of lounging around in our room – sipping decent coffee – it was time from breakfast. Despite having a good meal the night before, we were starving! A breakfast feast of note greeted us.
I can post an entire page of ‘breakfast at Radisson Blu Gautrain’ photos (the spread is seriously impressive), but I realise that I must maybe start to wrap this up now!
A big thanks to Radisson Blu Gautrain for hosting us. All the staff we dealt with were utmost professionals and really made us feel at home – with a special mention to Paul, the Manager.
As we were checking out on Sunday, they were setting up for a Father’s Day Braai – so do check out their Twitter page for upcoming events and news! https://twitter.com/RadBluGautrain
Hope to see you again soon!