With almost 3,000 kilometres of coastline, world-famous wildlife reserves, and the second-largest economy in Africa, South Africa is a country of infinite promise. It’s also the nation that The Sunlux Collection calls home. This select brand that is part of Sun International, the country’s premier hospitality and entertainment business, introduces a capsule collection of properties around South Africa, taking visitors on an enlightening, intriguing voyage from the waterfront of Cape Town to a nature reserve ringed by majestic hills, from a prestigious district of Johannesburg to a tech-forward precinct in the administrative capital Pretoria.
“The start of your Africa journey would not be complete without experiencing the essence of The Sunlux Collection; a perfect start complemented by the beauty, elegance and unique experiences,” says Sherene Allaman, Vice President, International Sales and Marketing of Sun International. “A seamless thread linking The Table Bay positioned at the best address in Cape Town, The Palace at Sun City surrounded by 57,000 hectares of the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve to The Maslow Sandton nestled in incredible gardens and end your incredible stay at The Maslow Time Square in Pretoria where luxury is in every detail.”
With Sunlux, visitors to this gem of the continent can experience all the best that South Africa has to offer, both within each property and in the immediate surrounds. “The Sunlux Collection hotels have been well-positioned in the Southeast Asian market as South Africa has many familiar interests for the Asian travellers,” add Shiela Gomez and Daniel Shankar of SG Luxe Collection, the Southeast Asia market experts representing The Sunlux Collection since 2014. “Explore and experience the local hot spots located within close proximity of these hotels, making it easier for travellers to enjoy the vibrant culture, exchange valuable knowledge with the friendly people, enjoy the ethnic drums and dance, the surrounding pulsating sounds celebrating every moment, delectable cuisine, radiant colours and landscape.” Here are four highlights of the collection.
The Table Bay, Cape Town
Set within the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the pulsing heart of this coastal city, and with Table Mountain as an unforgettable backdrop, this historic property with a stately blue roof was opened in May 1997 by former South African president Nelson Mandela. Upon arrival, guests encounter a gold seal statue named Oscar, representing the gregarious cape fur seals found in the oceans nearby. Inside, the property has a relaxing aura with comfortable seating, high ceilings and sophisticated rooms with striking views of the mountains or the Atlantic Ocean.
Among the top picks are the Lion Head Presidential Suite with inspiring vistas of the Lion’s Head, and the Table Mountain suite, that brings the Cape Town icon right into a room that features a baby grand piano and a dining table accommodating eight guests. Guests will also be dazzled by the rich choice of dining that makes full use of the Cape’s exquisite ecosystem and its native plants — the executive chef regularly forages for herbs and plants to use in the kitchen. The hotel even offers a foraging tour for guests that want to learn more.
For diners that would rather dig into the sumptuous plates on offer, Camissa Brasserie offers brasserie style dining and wine room. The Union Bar embraces the nautical theme with shipping memorabilia, wood-panelled walls, leather armchairs, and cocktails galore. One of the most revered treats is the high tea, served daily in the Lounge, where piano tunes accompany the courses, teas like green, and rooibos. The Table Bay also offers the opportunity to unwind, with a pool with views of Robben Island where Mandela spent 18 years as an inmate.
Beyond the property, the city has endless options for the curious visitor, and the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service within a five-kilometre radius. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, directly accessible from the property, is a smorgasbord of entertainment, with shopping, plenty of places to eat and drink, museums that explore diamonds and African contemporary art, and even a comedy club. From here visitors can catch helicopters for scenic rides around the city and environs. Table Mountain is the city’s defining image, with its flat-topped peak, 1500 floral species, and unmatched views of the city.
The neighbourhood Bo Kaap is distinguished by distinctive, colourful, Instagram-primed houses, many that belong to Cape Malays — people of Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Africa brought here to work in the Cape. Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is where Nelson Mandela eked out much of his 27-year prison sentence and today is a sobering site where travellers can comprehend the difficult journey of the country’s former leader. In Woodstock, a funky neighbourhood to the east of the waterfront, the Neighbourhoods Market is a hugely popular food market housed in a former biscuit mill; Woodstock is also where to find some spectacular street murals. No visit to the city would be complete without a stop at the District Six Museum, a stark reminder of the heartless regime of apartheid that tore communities apart.
The Palace of the Lost City, Sun City
About a two-hour drive from O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, and located in the North West Province, The Palace is a hotel that lives up to its name, with domes and balustrades, columns and corniches. Built to recreate an ancient royal residence for a fabled African King, it features a six-story rotunda which was conceived as the royal entrance chamber overlooking a magnificent palatial lobby. It sits within Sun City Resort, a part of the Pilanesberg landscape, an area of grand, concentric hills, remnants of a 1300-million-year-old extinct volcano.
Numerous celebrities, including Elton John, have stayed at the resort, drawn as much by the exceptional facilities as the rooms and the colour palette is warm and welcoming. Luxurious suites stand out — the African, Royal, King and Desert have their own butler, a sauna and a Jacuzzi, and a baby grand piano. As inviting is the Olympic-size outdoor swimming pool surrounded by tropical gardens, or the Royal Salon wellness spa and beauty salon, a holistic centre of healing and pampering. Guests can tantalise their taste buds at a host of restaurants from Afro-French at the intimate Plume to fine wines and meats at the Grill Room, from traditional African dishes at the Crystal Court to colonial splendour at the safari-themed Tusk Bar and Lounge and not forgetting the delectable high tea. Couples ready to tie the knot can choose wedding options like walking down the aisle in a spectacular romantic setting or taking vows in a hot-air balloon over animal-filled plains.
There is plenty to do near The Palace. Sun City is one of South Africa’s premier golfing destinations, with two 18-hole, par-72 world-famous courses designed by South African legend Gary Player. Sun City’s iconic water park – the Valley of Waves – offers family-friendly activities that lure adventurers of all ages with attractions like the Roaring Lagoon, a 6500-square-metre wave pool that generates waves of two metres high every 90 seconds. The largest permanent maze in the Southern Hemisphere, the Maze of the Lost City recreates an ancient archaeological discover that spreads over one half-acre. And beyond the resort, bordering Sun City, Pilanesberg Game Reserve is a 57000 hectare, malaria-free expanse that marks the largest game re-settlement project in the history of South Africa, with 6000 animals moved here in the early 1980s. The park is known for being a habitat for the Super Seven — the Big Five of elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo as well as cheetah and wild dogs — and roan, tsessebe, sable antelope and more than 360 species of bird. Guests can admire the wildlife from game drives led by expert guides or while lazily floating up high on a hot-air-balloon ride.
The Maslow Sandton, Johannesburg
One of the city’s financial hubs, Sandton is an affluent district, home to shops, restaurants, corporate headquarters and the angular, modernist Maslow Sandton, only 20 minutes by car from O.R. Tambo International Airport. This 281-room specialist business hotel within the continent’s richest square mile is filled with state-of-the-art technology designed to meet the needs of the fast-paced corporate environment, with a variety of spaces suited for meetings from four people up to grand settings up to 450.
Elegant rooms create an environment equally suited to working and unwinding, simple interiors with high ceilings, natural light, luxurious linens, soundproofed walls, and delicate paintings of flowers hung above the bed; some have private balconies. Blackout curtains and a roomy workstation allow guests to decompress and meet deadlines with ease. Visitors can relieve stress at the outdoor pool bordered by leafy trees or at the Africology Spa, where local ingredients like Marula oil and shea butter are used in massages, body wraps, and aromatherapy treatments. After feeding the soul, guests can attend to their stomachs at Lacuna Bistro, where the locally sourced bistro-style cuisine includes using herbs from the hotel’s onsite garden. The Lacuna Bar, with leather and rattan banquettes and views of the gardens and pool terrace, is the spot for fusion gin and tonics and Cohiba and Montecristo cigars. Meetings facilities are unrivalled, with the carbon-neutral event venue including meeting rooms ranging from 23-54 square metres, dedicated lunch and lounge areas with pretty gardens, and alternative breakaway zones for meeting and dining opportunities.
With its position in the heart of Sandton, the Maslow allows guests to walk to many attractions. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is a short stroll from the property while just beyond is the Sandton Convention Centre. Nelson Mandela Square, with a towering statue of the great man taking centre stage, welcomes one million visitors each month, and is a dizzying mixture of restaurants, cosmopolitan sidewalk cafes, a theatre, and 88 exclusive luxury stores. Even more shopping is on offer at Sandton City next door, with 300 retailers selling everything imaginable from computers to toys to ice cream to sports apparel. Those looking for locally produced items can stop by the African Cultural Market on Maude Street, brimming with African masks, beadwork, wooden carved animals and scores of other gift items. A short ride from Sandton is Liliesleaf, the heart of the liberation movement during the apartheid era, a farm where Nelson Mandela used to live that today is a heritage site with guided tours that detail the country’s checkered past.
The Maslow Time Square, Pretoria
In the technology advanced In the technology advanced Menlyn Maine precinct of the country’s administrative capital, Time Square houses one of the continent’s largest casinos and the deluxe business hotel The Maslow Time Square. Spread over 18 floors, with a futuristic glass-sheathed exterior, the 238-room specialist business property features the unique attribute of three-to-five-star accommodation all under one roof, split among Foundation, Median and Zenith levels. Accommodations are filled with energy, bold, jazzy carpets paired with patterned wall panels, while at the open-air 15th-floor pool, bird-cage seats offer a relaxing nook ideal for unwinding. Gourmands are spoiled for choice at the property, a vast array of dining options catering to all palettes. Tatso, which means taste in Sesotho, one of 11 official languages in South Africa, is a buffet with a broad choice of freshly cooked dishes. Kung Fu Cowboy unites East and West cuisines, supplying diners with succulent sushi and juicy burgers. At Guy Fieri’s Kitchen & Bar, expect handcrafted signature beers, great cocktails, and the celebrity chef’s American-Italian menu; lovers of classic Italian can head to Forti Grill & Bar, refined dining with intimate pergolas, a wine cellar, and a full butchery that focuses on Wagyu beef. Fans of Asian cuisine can savour Indian dishes at The Raj or traditional Chinese fare at Shun De. Night owls are blessed with a number of options: Globe Bar presents fine wines and premium whiskies, La Rosa, a Mexican Grille Tequileria offers an unforgettable experience, Solis Bar, for Zenith guests, has breathtaking sunset views and bespoke cocktails, and Altitude is a supper club and champagne garden for those yearning for the night to never end.
Menlyn Maine is a district whose guiding ethos is connectivity, with offices, residences and facilities weaved together in South Africa’s first Green City, positioned along the integrated-living principles of New Urbanism. Not surprising given the complex’s name, Time Square is populated with big clock displays and grand timepieces to signify both the passage of time and the quality of timelessness. At the heart of the district is Central Square, a sustainable hub of retail where glazed roofs allow natural light to filter in and shops include home stores, clothing outlets, health, wellness and beauty salons and upmarket grocery stores. Sun Arena, next door to the hotel, is a state-of-the-art, 8500-seat, multi-purpose venue with more than 100 indoor screens, four luxury hospitality suites, and the largest outdoor screen in South Africa. For those looking to see if Lady Luck is on their side, Time Square is one of the country’s largest casinos, with 2000 slot machines, 60 tables, and private gaming all split over two storeys. Outdoor enthusiasts can visit the free Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve, a former dairy farm dating to the early 1800s that is now a reserve managed by the local metropolitan authority. Spread across 100 hectares, the reserve has hiking trails, rich aviary life and mammals such as blesbok, springbok, duiker, impala, ostrich, bushbuck and zebra. Just to the east, the Woodhill Country Club course sits on what also was a working dairy farm, and today is one of the top 100 golf courses in the country, offering yet another reason to hurry to South Africa’s gem and The Sunlux Collection. For more information visit www.suninternational.com/sunlux or email: firstname.lastname@example.org ◼
© This article was first published in Feb-Mar 2020 edition of World Travel Magazine.