The terrace is great for breakfasts.
The terrace is great for breakfasts.
The bedroom & well, what more do you want?
The bedroom & well, what more do you want?

Sandton harbours several peaceful havens where Gautengers can “get away from it all” without the need for time-consuming and expensive travel. One of these is Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, a luxurious five-star establishment tucked away in a cul- de-sac off Bowling Avenue in Morningside Manor.

Fairlawns offers a number of packages for events such as honeymoons and celebrations. Now it has come up with an attractive package at R3 900 per couple, to “warm the cockles” over the chilly Gauteng winter season, which is seen as extending to the end of August.

This includes an overnight stay in a suite, a two-course dinner and a sumptuous breakfast as well as a visit to the Balinese-style health spa with an aromatic steam session and hot stone massages.

My wife and I recently enjoyed a pleasant overnight stay at the hotel, which was judged one of SA’s Boutique Hotels of the Year in the 2011 and 2010 World Luxury Hotel Awards.

It certainly lived up to its reputation as ultra-luxurious and provided a memorable experience of pampering and personal care in amazing surroundings.

The Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa is the brainchild of the live-in owners, John and Anna Thacker, who lived in the original house with their family before deciding to create something really special and out of the ordinary in the mould of a world luxury hotel.

The hotel was established in January 1998 on property that once belonged to the Oppenheimer family’s Little Brenthurst Trust.

The architecture is of the Palladium style reminiscent of 18th-century Europe and it is most impressive how additional buildings have been phased in so that the appearance is complementary to the original structure.

The hotel is situated almost literally “around the corner” from our home and we have attended functions at the venue before, although this was the first time we had stayed overnight.

A happy, smiling face at the front security gate was a sign of what we could expect from the staff, who all seem proud to be working at this beautiful and highly-rated establishment.

Our accommodation was the ultra-spacious and immaculately furnished Nelson Mandela Suite. As expected, there was a strong African theme, from the animal spoor patterned carpet to the woven grass headboard, wickerwork lampshades and boldly patterned furnishings that echoed the hues of animal skins.

On entering the large lounge one is immediately aware of a prominent fireplace, which will be ideal on a cold winter’s night, but was not needed on our balmy autumn night which was lit by a “supermoon”.

Besides the lounge being furnished with a huge couch and easy chair there was also a dining table where, after dinner, sherry and chocolate fondue will be served following dinner as part of the hotel’s special winter package.

Besides a good selection of novels to while away the time in a longer stay at the hotel, there was a selection of coffee table books that included one on Nelson Mandela as well as those focused on Africa, its people, animals, birds and wonderful places to stay.

The bedroom, dominated by an ultra large king-size bed, led onto a dressing room with an enormous amount of wardrobe space. The centrepiece of the bathroom was a large bath with Jacuzzi action, as well as a spacious shower enclosure, with his and hers hand basins.

We went to the rather rustic bar alongside the restaurant for pre-dinner drinks and ended up befriending an Australian visitor (paging through the comments in the visitors’ book it is evident that foreigners make up a good number of the clientele).

My wife and I decided on a main course and dessert instead of having a starter and main. She had the beef medallions, which were done perfectly to her choice of “very well done”, but probably did not endear her to the kitchen staff.

I selected the duck, which was very tasty, and we chose La Motte Pierneeff Sauvignon Blanc to accompany our meal. The wine was rather pricey at R264 a bottle but most enjoyable.

I had the generous helping of very tasty tiramisu for dessert, while my wife was very satisfied with her choice of crème brûlée.

We then joined our Australian friend Carrie on the patio alongside The Terrace restaurant for nightcaps under the stars. The men chose Irish coffees, while my wife opted for Kahlua Dom Pedro.

The night passed quickly – or so it seemed – and then it was breakfast on The Terrace, where some of the sliding perimeter windows had been opened to welcome the new day.

The breakfast selection was vast – extending from healthy fruit and a good selection for those who enjoy a continental repast to a wide variety of choices for a hot breakfast. We both stuck to the traditional English breakfast, of which we were given a generous and tasty helping.

The cherry on the top of our stay at Fairlawns was our visit to the spa, which is in the Balinese style and transports visitors into a totally different world to the rest of the property, which is mainly manicured English garden style.

Walking through this peaceful and tranquil garden with strong green bamboo, lilting music and the soothing smell of incense burning prepares you for the pampering and massaging still to come.

We enjoyed an Indian head massage and pressure point foot massage in the spacious spa villa and it was a wonderfully restful way to end our visit and prepare us for the rest of a busy Saturday. - Saturday Star

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