Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa

Sandton’s serene emerald treasure

When Nelson Mandela left prison, he retreated to Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, which then was home to Johannesburg billionaire Douw Steyn and his family. On those grounds, the South African president edited his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

After the private residence transformed into one of the city’s most sought-after boutique hotels, Mandela continued to be a regular guest. Photos of the leader adorn the hotel, and Saxon even dedicated a room — the African-influenced Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite — in his honor.

It’s no wonder that Mandela was drawn to these surroundings. The luscious 10-acre gardens that wrap around Saxon Hotel make it hard to believe that it’s in Sandhurst, less than 10 minutes from central Sandton, Johannesburg’s economic heartland.

Plus, Saxon Hotel offers everything that you could need, from fine dining and 24-hour butler service to a sumptuous spa and an iconic infinity pool, accompanied by the warmth of its attentive staff.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa’s carefully curated interiors showcase an extensive African art collection and ethically sourced local artifacts that once belonged to the private collection of owner Douw Steyn. Ghanaian fertility dolls, tribal masks, Benin bronze leopards and woven grass baskets give a true sense of Africa’s cultural diversity.
  • A pencil portrait of Mandela from his visit to the Steyns’ home hangs in the hallway, alongside other renowned visitors and guests, such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton.
  • While the showstopping infinity pool is the focal point of the Johannesburg hotel, it is mirrored by a second serene pool that’s tucked away beneath the shade of fig trees between two koi ponds. Follow your dip with a steam in the adjacent fitness center.
  • The two underground wine cellars — one for reds, one for whites — boast some of the world’s finest selections, which can be enjoyed as part of a private tasting or an intimate silver-service dinner, coupled with the expert guidance of Saxon’s in-house sommeliers.
  • Saxon Spa is an oasis of cascading water features and natural elements that take you on a journey of physical and mental rejuvenation by means of healing hammam, sound therapy and rhassoul mud rituals.

Things to Know

  • The raised boardwalk, which is reminiscent of Kirstenbosch Garden’s Boomslang tree canopy walkway, is a wooden-steel skywalk from the main boutique hotel building to three secluded villas.
  • Spring and summer (September through March) weather may succumb to Highveld thunderstorms, but you will be rewarded with emerald-green hues and a garden in full bloom.
  • Sarapana (the luxury hotel’s rooftop fruit, herb and vegetable garden) provides organic seasonal ingredients to the Saxon’s three restaurants, and particularly for Qunu’s VegVegan culinary experience.

The Rooms

  • The single-story Villa One houses seven Villa Luxury Suites, while the two-story Villa Two and Three also have four Villa Presidential Suites upstairs. These three standalone structures can be booked for sole use to ensure privacy.
  • Villas comprise an airy lounge and dining room with a fully stocked bar and breakfast nook that leads onto a private plunge pool necklaced by a wooden deck and loungers. These luxurious facilities are accentuated with a dedicated 24/7 butler service.
  • The spacious 861-square-foot Villa Luxury Suites are elegantly finished in a contemporary style with natural textures, stone cladding and wood furnishings, alongside geometric prints and local artifacts. The open-plan layout includes a seating and dining area with a desk and a balcony overlooking the gardens.
  • Opulent Villa Presidential Suites feature elegant contemporary décor that exudes tranquility and a sense of homestyle comfort. The expansive 2,152-square-foot space includes a seating and dining area, a separate lounge, dining room, guest bathroom and a fully equipped butler’s kitchen.

The Restaurants

  • At Qunu — named after Nelson Mandela’s adopted home village — the kitchen team flexes its culinary muscles to serve a menu of sustainably sourced ingredients infused with local flavor. South Africa’s deep-rooted traditions are reflected in dishes like tender springbok (South African antelope) loin served with macadamia nut purée or cheese platters composed with dairy from around the country.
  • Go to the alfresco poolside Terrace, which adjoins the Olive Bar, for lighter meals that can be enjoyed year-round, from summer evenings to sunny winter mornings.

Meeting rooms
Outdoor pool
Getting There
36 Saxon Road, Sandhurst, Johannesburg, 2196 South Africa
JNB (28-40 min)   HLA (28-40 min)  
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