This is part two of a ten part trip report from my travels to South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and covers my stay at the Radisson Blu Gautrain.
- Delta ATL-JNB BusinessElite B777-200LR
- Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Kapama River Lodge – Kruger National Park, South Africa – Hotel Review
- Kapama River Lodge – Kruger National Park, South Africa – Safari – Game Drives – Bush Walk Review
- South African Airways Johannesburg (JNB) – Cape Town (CPT) – Johannesburg (JNB)
- Westin Cape Town, South Africa
- British Airways – JNB-LVI (Livingstone, Zambia) B737-400 and crossing the border into Zimbabwe from Zambia
- Microlight / Microflight over Victoria Falls with Batoka Sky – Zambia
- Bungee Jump over the Zambezi River off Victoria Falls bridge – Border between Zimbabwe & Zambia
- Elephant Hills Resort – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Booking – There are several hotels located in the Sandton region, including two Radisson Blu properties that are literally down the street from each other. The Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton, which has been around for over twenty years, and the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel which opened May 1, 2010, just in time for World Cup. Although the Gautrain Hotel is newer (and in my opinion nicer) than the older property, it is almost always priced lower in terms of the nightly cash rate. The Gold Points rate is the same at either property – 44,000 per night. I typically only spend my Gold Points on properties that retail for $400 or more per night, so I opted for the paid rate at $185.95, plus I had a $75 voucher that I was able to apply to the room. The cash & points rate was poor at 10,000 points plus $139.46.
Check In – The first level of the hotel where you’ll walk in from the street is not actually the lobby. You’ll need to take one of two elevators up to the lobby level for check-in.
Once upstairs, the check-in process was easy with three separate check-in desks. As a Club Carlson Gold member, I was informed that I had been upgraded from a business class room to a junior suite. Breakfast is complimentary each morning for all Radisson Blu guests.
The lobby has a very modern and open feel with a restaurant (where you’ll have breakfast), a cool lobby / sports bar, a lounge area, and access to the outdoor pool deck and seating area.
If you’re not into feeling like you’re at a club while walking to your room, you might not love the hallways. They are dark, have music playing, and lined with funky red and white lights spaced throughout the floor.
The room itself was ultra-modern and you could definitely tell that the hotel was built within the last few years. I enjoyed the comfortable bed and bedding, strong shower and modern bathroom, and the separate sitting room with a couch and table with chairs. There was a flat-screen in the living room and another in the bedroom.
I really enjoyed my upgraded room and have no complaints. There were ample outlets on both sides of the bed as well as at the desk. The wifi was super fast and a bottle of local wine was provided complimentary every few days (a perk that’s since been removed). There’s a large gym as well with free weights and multiple bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills.
Up until February, there was a rooftop club – ZAR, that guests were able to access for free while skipping the line. We took advantage of this a few nights and boy was it an experience. The crowd, hmm how to explain them, they were like nothing I’ve ever seen before. All locals (most of whom took the Gautrain from other parts of Jo’burg) and they love to party…and dance. One girl told me that ZAR was her home and the only place to let loose after work each night and every weekend. ZAR will be missed, though you can visit their new location in Cape Town. Word is that the Radisson will be opening their own venue in that space within the coming months.
The location and service were excellent. I can’t tell you how convenient the Gautrain is to the airport. It’s literally 15 minutes on a modern comfortable train from JNB to the Sandton station. The station is located directly across the street from the Radisson. It was so convenient that I stored my bags at the Radisson while I took a side trip to Zambia and Zimbabwe. Upon returning, the staff assisted with my bags, literally walking me across the street, down the escalator, and onto the train. They were also fantastic with directions, excursion recommendations, and overall helpfulness. The breakfast had a ton of variety – an omelet station, hot plates, salads, fresh juices, homemade yogurts, etc. The location also puts you next to Sandton City “Africa’s leading and most prestigious shopping center”. There are several good restaurants inside the multiple connected malls (indoor and outdoor) and there’s also a gigantic supermarket where you can pick up necessities for the room. I felt completely safe walking the short distance from the hotel to the mall.
Overall, we were very happy with our choice and I’d definitely recommend the hotel to anyone staying in the Sandton area.
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