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Business in the City of Gold: Checking in at Radisson Blu Sandton

Business in the City of Gold: Checking in at Radisson Blu Sandton

"The Radisson Blu brand has a unique heritage, dating back more than 50 years to the world’s first designer hotel, The Royal Copenhagen, in Denmark – created in minute detail by iconic architect Arne Jacobsen to serve the needs of the new jet set for SAS Airlines." Today, the label is a leading name in luxury hospitality, with a strong focus on design and architecture, creating iconic buildings with exciting contemporary interiors. This may be their heritage, but it is the "Yes I Can!" service culture that remains the centre of their business ethos. Currently there are 294 Radisson Blu hotels operating around the globe, with 68,725 rooms - another 102 properties are under development, which will add an additional 23,258 rooms. Pretty impressive!

Location

The hotel is located within the teeming business hub of Sandton, north of the Johannesburg city centre. It is within walking distance of the Stock Exchange and Convention Centre, the famous Nelson Mandela Square as well as the world class shopping centre, Sandton City. Conveniently, the modern and safe Gautrain rail station (which links directly to OR Tambo airport) is only 600m away, and it takes around 25 min to reach the International terminal by train. Within the surrounding cosmopolitan area there are a hoard of other hotels and various upmarket restaurants, bars and cafes. 

© Traverate 2016

Room

Radisson Blu Sandton has 290 stylish guest rooms and suites, as well as 11 luxury penthouses (which are available for longer stays). My corner suite was located on the 12th floor and offered expansive views over the surrounding area, thanks to its huge floor to ceiling windows. A comfortable king size bed dominated the space, and the ensuite bathroom was kitted out with soft towels, bathrobes and a variety of toiletries by British brand, "This works".

The room had an additional guest WC, which are only available in certain suites, a large brand new flatscreen TV as well as a sufficiently sized work desk, lounge area and wetbar (with Nespresso machine). Unfortunately there was a lack of international outlet converter plugs by the desk area - this can be rather annoying to foreign travellers. However, the wifi connection was flawless and quite fast. Something else I noticed was the low noise level, probably because of the suite's corner position, which turned out to be great for a good night's sleep.

© Traverate 2016

Facilities

Being a business hotel by character, there is a surprisingly good selection of leisure facilities onsite. My favourite was the nicely sized outdoor swimming pool located on a large sun deck, surrounded by ample loungers and umbrellas. The hotel also has a large spa, which offers guests a selection of signature treatments to help you unwind and destress. 

If you're planning a workout during your stay, you will be pleasantly surprised by the extensive premium gym located on the 10th floor. The massive 3 leveled space boasts a 25m indoor pool, running track, spinning and yoga studios, vast amounts of cardio machines and an entire floor dedicated to weight training. It is managed by the Planet Fitness group, which means you'll be sharing the fitness centre with their members - regrettably the facility is not open 24h.

Business class rooms/ suites all have access to the contemporary club lounge on the 25th floor, which affords you free snacks and drinks throughout the day (alcohol from 17h30 - 19h00), as well as a complimentary breakfast in the morning and a light supper for early evenings.  

© Traverate 2016

Dining

Vivace Bar & Restaurant is the hotel's signature eatery, and it serves a modern Italian inspired menu. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, their selection of featured dishes comprises of soups, salads and pasta, to grills, fish and desserts. I enjoyed a hearty spaghetti bolognese during my stay - the sauce was tasty and flavoursome, and the portion quite large. For breakfast I headed to the Business Class lounge, where a good selection of hot and cold items were served. There is also a cafe in the fitness centre, preparing a variety of informal light meals like salads, wraps and smoothies. 

© Traverate 2016

Service

In my experience, as far as predominantly business hotels are concerned, service tends to be rather prompt and less ornamented than at leisure/ luxury properties. However, the staff I encountered here were quite intuitive and genuinely hospitable.

After checking in, I found the room assigned to me being kitted out with a new TV, and the workmen were still busy mounting it to the wall. I returned to reception and the staff managed to speedily allocate a different room on another floor - a minor disruption. 

Other than that, I experienced a small issue with the check in procedure at the gym. I forgot my room number (that happens a lot), and it became apparent that there was a slight administrative disconnect between the fitness and hotel receptions as they scrambled to verify if I was in fact a hotel guest. It would be preferable if your key card was able to grant direct access to the facility, instead of having to "sign in" before you train. 

© Traverate 2016

My thoughts

The Radisson Blu remains one of the most favourable large hotels in the area. Whether you stay for business or pleasure, they manage to sufficiently meet the different needs of their guests quite well. The property is very secure (it hosts the president of the USA on state visits) and well maintained, and it also has more unique features than other local competitors. Additionally, it is the best choice for travelling fitness fanatics, as it boasts the largest and most extensive hotel gym in Joburg.


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All photos and opinions are mine. © Traverate

 
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