Johannesburg's secret luxury hideout : Checking in at The Munro
Johannesburg is often referred to as an urban forest, and with good reason! It has over 6 million trees (yes, you read correctly) - the majority of which were planted by man in the last century. Formally established in 1886 as a result of the gold rush, Joburg has a short history of only 130 years. Since its founding it has become South Africa's economic capital, and is also the largest city in the world not situated on a natural body of water like a lake, river or coastline.
At the Munro Boutique Hotel you can witness the vast Joburg tree-scape from atop the glamorous Linksfield Ridge, which divides the City of Johannesburg and its affluent northern suburbs. Aside from the spectacular views, this exclusive boutique hotel offers guests a very private experience, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.
The trip from OR Tambo International Airport is a mere 30 min by car, and you can book the hotel's chauffeur drive service and travel in style. Rolls-Royce style that is! The Sandton business district is about 20 min drive away.
The Munro has 5 lavishly kitted out suites, each with their own style and unique features. I stayed in the Syringa suite, which is reached by crossing through the fabulous Victorian style conservatory (complete with Japanese garden and koi pond) in the centre of the mansion. My room was smallish by suite standards, but very comfortable and inviting. It had a large marble bathroom overlooking a small private fountain. The bed was very comfortable and I slept like a log, owing to the thick block out curtains and the room's private setting. With no neighbours on either side, it felt like I was the only guest in the place! Another plus was the in-room Nespresso machine - I could enjoy my morning coffee in bed, without having to venture out of the room.
The place you'd want to spend most of your time at whilst staying with the Munro is definitely the expansive covered terrace with its sparkling infinite pool and gorgeous surrounding garden complete with "waterfall". From here the views across northern Johannesburg are simply breathtaking. Trees as far as the eye can see, and the most glorious sunsets - needless to say it is the perfect place for a sundowner.
Apart from the sunny terrace, there is the opulent dining room and the magical conservatory where you can savour an expertly prepared meal by the hotel's skilled chef. The dinner menu changes daily, and any culinary requests are welcome if made in advance. I had a unique private dining experience in the conservatory - my romantic candle-lit table in the centre of the glasshouse was surrounded by a mini jungle of different plants - definitely something I will remember forever. Breakfast is served at a time that suits you (as arranged the night before), and consists of a continental and hot option that is made to order. For a nightcap you can settle in at the cosy bar just off the conservatory.
The service is informal and personal yet professional and efficient, with a genuine interest in your comfort and needs. From the moment I arrived I was treated like a returning guest, and since the hotel is very small, interaction is bound to be quite personal. I was promptly ushered to my room and asked whether I'd like to have dinner and/or breakfast at the hotel. Later, whilst enjoying some wine on the terrace, the owner, Marc, came over and introduced himself, welcoming me and ensuring that I had everything I needed. This is definitely the way a small hotel should be run.
What I liked most about this hotel is the fact that it feels like home. The beautiful setting, luxurious surroundings and personalized service make for a pretty fantastic stay. Pity there aren't any leisure facilities on site, so if you need a gym or 24h room service, it may be a slight bother.
All opinions and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated © Traverate