Perched on rocky hills overlooking the city, the Westcliff was designed as a residential enclave of architecturally harmonious apartment blocks and villas, courtyards, paths and gardens. Goldenrod-yellow buildings line tree-shaded cobblestone streets. The Four Seasons property’s 2015 makeover retains its village feel. Stay in: the rooms are spacious, the restaurants superb, there are two pools, a spa and gym and the resort’s “Art on the Hill” program brings the best of Joburg’s culture into the resort itself. Go out: the concierge can organise unique experiences of the rapidly renewing city, from visits to artists’ studios to street food banquets and walking tours of the inner city with the social enterprise Dlala Nje.
Surrounded by the historic mansions of the gold tycoons, the Westcliff is a hop-skip from the financial districts of Sandton and Rosebank, the up-and-coming cultural precincts of Braamfontein and Maboneng and the fast-renewing CBD. The airport is 22 kilometres away, about a 30-45 minute drive.
The three-bedroom Royal Suite, complete with dining room and private gym is fit for a king. But there’s plenty of space for all, with most rooms measuring 36-50 square meters. Each individually designed room and suite features contemporary, comfortable furnishings with an African vibe. Ours had an enormous marble bathroom, a snuggly sofa, a balcony with a mesmerising view and a four-panel print portrait of Nelson Mandela.
Food and drink
There can’t be many urban resorts where you might hear a lion roar or spot elephants from your “zoo view” breakfast table. The aptly named View serves up great breakfasts – caviar, roll-mops, artisanal breads and homemade muesli all feature in the buffet. For dinner, it offers seasonal tasting menus with excellent vegetarian options, paired wines and can organise special wine-tasting evenings. “Kalahari cuts”, Karoo lamb, plank-roasted cauliflower and other hearty, braai-inspired dishes feature at Flames (pictured above). In all there are five restaurants including the streetside Deli which, like Apres-Spa, offers creative and delicious Health Yourself alternatives.
For business traveller
The Westcliff’s 24-hour business centre provides everything from computers to secretarial and translation services. Each of the resort’s 13 meeting rooms, which range from boardrooms to ballrooms, boast high-speed internet and top-of-the-line audiovisual facilities. Conference cocktails in the Rose Garden, perhaps?
For wellness traveller
Work up a sweat in the state-of-the-art 24-hour gym, then sweat some more in the eucalyptus-scented steam room. Try spa treatments using local ingredients such as rooibos and baobab seed and oil. Or just go for gold with the destination spa’s signature three-hour “City of Gold” treatment, complete with gold-particle-infused fragrant oils. Travelling from afar? Ask for the special jet lag-busting massage.
The fab factor
Location, views and cultural engagement – the Westcliff hearts Joburg and will have you loving it too.
Best for: luxury travellers of all stripes – business, leisure and families
Number of rooms: 117 rooms and suites
Rates from: US$359 (about AU$491) night
Wi-fi: Free fast wi-fi in all rooms
Parking: On-site for 130 cars
Address: 67 Jan Smuts Avenue, Saxonwold, Johannesburg
Telephone: +27 11 481 6000