Hello fellow jetsetters,
It’s Monday morning and I’m actually happy about it. After a week of jetting across South Africa, I’ve finally landed in my last stop—Johannesburg. I arrived late last night, but my taxi driver quickly whisked around the city’s infamous traffic and had me at the Saxon Hotel in 40 minutes flat. As we entered through the grandiose gates, I instantly felt my travel stress slip away. This luxurious spot has been called an urban oasis—and with good reason. Lush gardens encase the hotel and villas in Alice and Wonderland style, seeming to almost glow at sunset. As we approached the hotel, the valet quickly whisked open my door and I was led to reception and introduced to my butler. When they said five-star, they really meant it. My butler was available 24/7 to handle even the smallest task. Although once I settled into my spacious suite, I was perfectly at ease soaking in a Molton Brown-filled bubble bath. It was hard mustering the strength to escape the suite, with its lush bedding, terrace looking out across the trees, and mini fridge stocked with all of my favorites—South African sparkling wine included. But I was convinced to hit the town for dinner after chatting with the concierge downstairs.
“What kind of cuisine are you after?” The charming concierge asked. “Something local, with a buzzy bar scene,” I replied.
“It’s Sunday night, but this spot should still be what you’re looking for,” she said. A car arrived out front in mere minutes and I whisked off to dinner, where I lingered over a glass of Shiraz and quinoa superfood salad at gastropub Social on Main in Bryanston.
In the morning, I woke up and made my way to the gym, hoping to squeeze in a workout session before my long flight that evening. Not only did the gym look out at the koi pond (probably why this spot is called an oasis), it also had every state-of-the-art piece of equipment you could imagine—plus an on-site personal trainer. After my session, I crossed the pond and sat on the terrace indulging in one of the most lavish “Continental” breakfast spreads imaginable. The buffet was lined was gourmet freshly baked bread, a massive bowl of oysters, sushi rolls and charcuterie. I could’ve sat and feasted on this spread all day, but the spa was calling! Gorgeous crystal chandeliers hung in each of the treatment rooms, which were sprayed with the spa’s signature scent: a blend of rosemary, eucalyptus, rose and jasmine petals, pomegranate blossoms, musk, cedarwood, and sandalwood. After an hour-and-a-half-long “Himalayan Journey,” which included a Himalayan salt scrub and hot granite stone massage, I felt relaxed and ready to toast to my last evening in Johannesburg with a glass of bubbly and views overlooking the calming pool and gardens. It’s no wonder Nelson Mandela chose this spot to reflect and write his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom.”
After a perfect last day in South Africa, it’s time to say goodbye and jet off to the next spot. Au revoir for now!