I love travelling internationally so much, and whenever I travel I always look forward to staying at international hotels and experiencing world-class service. My best local hotel that I’ve stayed at to date has been The One&Only in Cape Town, but my recent stay at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, saw the One&Only shift to a second place on my list! I’ve heard of Fairlawns before as a great high tea and bridal shower spot, as well as their champagne bar, but getting to stay there was such a treat! Here is why I loved our stay at Fiarlwans and I recommend you pay a visit to it soon for the ultimate stay-cation!
It feels like you are miles away from the busy living of Johannesburg
I didn’t know where Fairlwans was exactly located, and as I drove into the hotel my mind immediately thought that it didn’t feel like I was in Joburg anymore. The beautiful grounds are drowning in lush greenery, gorgeous landscaping and elegant buildings. It felt like I have escaped to some foreign lands for the weekend and I loved it. Before Fairlawns became a boutique hotel in 1997, it was originally a ten-acre family home, owned by the Brenthurst Trust of Oppenheimer fame, and in 1994 the eastern section bounding on Bowling Ave was sold to developers and the residential estate known as Camelot was built on the site. An offer from developers for the western section took a bit more soul-searching before being sold as it meant loosing not only an historical cottage, but the lunge rink and grazing, which in effect meant parting with the horses. It was only once the family was left with the remaining three acres and the original homestead that Mr. Thacker decided to realize his dream of having a ‘country hotel’ – albeit in the heart of Sandton, the new CBD of Johannesburg.
Every corner of Fairlwans Boutique Hotel is gorgeous- from its entrance hall, to its dining area(complete with a live pianist), to its gardens and down to their luxurious suites. I love the style of Fairlwans and I felt almost at home running around their gardens. We got the amazing Bettina from Shoot the Moon Photography to come and capture us at Fairlwans, and you and you can see from the pictures, how beautiful the grounds are. It feels like we are miles and miles away from Joburg, right?
Their newly renovated spa will make you feel like you are visiting Bali.
I was just starting to miss Bali, as I was there a year ago exactly, and then I walked into the newly renovated Fairlawns spa. When you enter into the space, it’s all beautiful gardens with bamboo forests around you, a space that reminds me so much of Bali. The Balinese splendor includes an undercover heated hydro pool, rim flow Jacuzzi, relaxation lounges and salas, a private dining sala for 8 guests and bar – all set in beautiful, lush gardens. There is a couple’s treatment suite with a double spa bath and a maze with self-therapy scrubs and jets which guests can enjoy at leisure. We had the 30 minute Back, Neck and Shoulder massage, and while I can’t say that it was the best massage of my life, the beautiful space of the spa made up for it.
If you visit the Fairlwans Spa, you want to go as early as possible to enjoy all of the amazing facilities. I thoroughly enjoyed the little tea stations that they have at the entrance hall and inside, and I snacked on some muffins and fruit while filling in my forms. We spend a good hour in the Jacuzzi before our treatment, and then lay around and chatted after having our massages. This is the perfect space for a bridal party, to unwind and relax before a crazy bachelorette night. You can order some snacks and meals to enjoy inside the salas and the lounges, and let the champagne flow while you are enjoying this award winning spa. I loved it!
The suites are so grand that they will make you feel like a queen.
We got lucky enough to stay at the Maison Spa Suite which was grand, and oh-so-fabulous. This traditional opulent European style villa, boasts 240 square meters of pure luxury. The Maison Spa Suite offers two private en-suite bedrooms, a dining room and spacious lounge. To sleep in the master bedroom is an experience in itself, with its four-poster bed, working fireplace, French doors leading onto a balcony overlooking a sweeping view of the gardens and the pool. Cass and I stayed in the main bedroom mainly because I needed that walk-in closet, and Sarah stayed in the second room, which is a bit smaller but still very grand.
The Study is equipped with a large working desk and was designed for the busy executive, if you do feel like doing work while you are away. Then there is large lounge and dining room, as well as the adjacent kitchen and guest cloakroom. For those wanting total privacy, there is a discrete private entrance to the villa and private parking facilities as well as in suite check in. There is also a privet spa room, but I do recommend rather going to the spa. This suite is what luxury dreams are made out of, and of course you don’t need such opulence for a simple staycation, but if you are celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or it is perhaps your first wedding night, then trust me- you want to be at the Maison Spa Suite!
There are a variety of different suites available for every budget, with their Grand Chateu Suites starting at R3600 per night, the Courtyard Suites at R4600 per night and the Villa Suites at R5400 per night. If you are looking to escape the city, then I do really recommend Fairlawns as an option. Apart from the African Suite, the suites are mostly euro-centric in their decorating with high ceilings, elaborate cornicing, tall doors and sumptuous fabrics. It honestly feels very luxurious to stay there.
Each room is individually decorated, echoing the original ideas of the Courtyard and Villa suites, yet with a modern contemporary twist. The building process and day to day energy preservation was a key factor considered in the building of this new wing of the hotel.
Their dining options are great, and the food was spectacular.
Fairlwans offers a couple of dining options, and it’s a treat to even just go there for dinner. There is the Amuse-Bouche restaurant which offers an à la carte menu and a great wine list. The Amuse-Bouche menu is also available in the privacy of your suite through in-suite dining. The Manor House Bistro features more casual dining, in a contemporary setting that caters to eclectic tastes. The restaurant is elegant, yet still homely and welcoming, and features some delicious café style meals(not to mention the Strawberry Daiquiri tea trolley serving decadent sweet treats). I’ve heard amazing things about their High Tea, as I have had friends attend a few bridal showers at the Manor House. And then there is their beautiful Muse Champagne dining room, done in collaboration with French Champagne house, Perrier-Jouët. The champagne room and adjoining Courtyard is a sumptuous mix of things elegant and contemporary, using nature as its source of inspiration. It is the perfect place for pre-dinner drinks, or a Sunday afternoon treat.
We chose to have dinner at Amuse-Bouche, and while it was quite pricey (we each paid about R200 for a main, and then another R100 or so for drinks), it is a delicious experience, similar to what I had at The Four Seasons recently. The food is delicious, and prepared the flavor combinations that are inspiring. I only wish that I saved space for their delicious dessert, but alas, I will have to come back for it!
Breakfast on the terrace is simply scrumptious
The breakfast is included in the room rate, and is served on the Manor House Terrace. Anyone that knows me, knows how much I LOVE a good breakfast, and Fairlwans didn’t disappoint. The buffet provides some great options such as oysters (so yummy with a breakfast virgin Bloody Mary), salmon, granola pots and baked goods, and you order the hot breakfast off the menu. I had the rolled French toast which was delicious, and paired with a mimosa, overlooking the Fairlwans grounds, it made for the perfect Sunday morning.
My overall thoughts on Fairlawns are this- if you are looking for a great staycation place for a special night, this is the best place that I have experienced in Joburg (yes, even better than the Four Seasons which I stayed at in September!). I preferred the décor, the spa and the food at Fairlawns, and I really enjoyed my time at the hotel. While the Maison Suite might not be necessary for an ordinary night, it is THE place for a celebration. I am hoping to return to the Chateu next year for my anniversary, and I will definitely be returning to the spa and for a high tea there soon! I hope you find my post helpful and will be paying Fairlwans Boutique Hotel a visit soon!