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Issue 18
Africa Travel> Issue 18
UPDATED: August 7, 2015
A Palace in Africa
The Tsogo Sun Palazzo Montecasino Hotel offers a slice of Tuscany in Johannesburg
By Jo Kromberg

Meditteranean inspired architecture (WILLIE SMIT)

Bellissimo! From my five-word Italian vocabulary this is the one word I know the meaning of exactly – gorgeous! And so this is my first impression as I walk beyond the wondrous doors and literally step into an Italian palace.

The splendour of the Tsogo Sun Palazzo Montecasino Hotel in Fourways, Johannesburg is evident from the moment you enter. This 5-star Mediterranean-inspired hotel is luxury personified with a Tuscan theme running all the way through, from the décor, furnishings and architecture to the stunning chandelier and a painted ceiling ala Michael Angelo in the lobby. The service is superior - warm, friendly and super-efficient. We are booked in within minutes and shown to our rooms. What a splendid sight. Opulently furnished, my suite features a canopied gargantuan bed with chandelier and bath with luscious finishes and fittings all reminiscent of the Italian theme. Grandness and opulence reigns but also taste and elegance. Little luxuries like the heart shaped ottoman, luxurious fabrics, nespresso machine, fluffy gowns and antique furnishers make this special. The room has marble top finishes on the bedside tables and in the bathroom. The view from the fourth floor with trellis work balcony looks out over the spectacular landscaped gardens and swimming pool and the Magaliesberg Mountains beyond.

Celebrity treatment

The 246 beautifully-appointed rooms include Deluxe, Executive and Superior Rooms as well as King Suites, a lavish, opulent Penthouse and bespoke Presidential Suite where royalty, pop stars and presidents have stayed. Every room is equipped with all of those small touches that add to your comfort – direct-dial phones, tea and coffee stations, mini bars, 24-room service, free WiFi and electronic safes.

Highlights to add to your stay include the Mangwanani Spa Boutique, a fully-equipped fitness centre, business centre, Montecasino Entertainment Complex, delicious Mediterranean dining at Medeo Restaurant, relaxing cocktails at Café Rialto, conference rooms and many more. Outdoors, a large swimming pool invites you to dip into its cool waters to escape the heat of a long day, while the poolside area beckons hours of relaxation as you let your mind finally unwind from the daily pressures of life.

After an Indian summer afternoon of lying by said beautiful pool with its own massage areas, I have a sublime bath in my luxurious bathroom with its dresser and walk-in cupboard, a glass of excellent (complimentary) Shiraz in hand as the sun goes down over the leafy city. Dinner is a head-spinning cornucopia of all things splendid in the Medeo restaurant. Lobster bisque, seared tuna and aged steak tartare are just some of the morsels for starters. The bisque must be what angles nibble on before performing miracles.... My partner has the steak tartare with cured egg yolk, coriander coulis, garlic aioli and puffed wheat and pronounces it a triumph. For main course he has the duck confit with egg yolk ravioli and coffee cognac foam and almost expires in spasms of pleasure. I have the aged rib eye steak with taglliolini cheese croquette and horse radish butter and emulate his reaction. Other mains include lemon and thyme sous vide chicken, Scottish salmon with parmesan mash and Osso buco with saffron risotto, veal picatta and pork belly. The wine selection is great and includes boutique South African wines like Glen Carlou Paarl and Bouchard Finlayson Kaaimansgat Overberg 2013 in the white wine selection.

Secluded corners to take time out (WILLIE SMIT)

Tuscan ambiance

Sitting outside in the cool evening air overlooking the fountain and with candles and ambient lighting you would be forgiven for believing you find yourself in Tuscany rather than in one of the biggest cities in Africa. Our waiter Themba is delightful but then the service in general is superb.

For dessert I have the deliciously decadent chocolate tiramisu and my partner has the mouth-watering banana crème brulee.

After dinner we decide to try our luck in the adjacent casino. The hotel is situated within the award-winning Montecasino Entertainment Complex which is a wonderland emulating an Italian village with restaurants, high-end clothing boutiques, theatres and of course the casino. We falter at the poker table but later our luck changes at the roulette table and, knowing when to quit while we're ahead, we make our way back and I sleep like a person in a coma in my gargantuan bed with its wonderfully crispy linen.

The champagne breakfast the next morning is fit for a king. Apart from the amazing buffet consisting of cold meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and cereals and a variety of home-made flaky and delicious pastries, you also get a choice of a hot, cooked breakfast. Again, small touches make this an extraordinary hotel such as home-made jams like berry and champagne. Our wonderful host Chelene takes us for an inspection of the Penthouse suite and my, oh my, what a place. Located on the top floor of the hotel and spanning the entire floor, the suite consists of kitchen, living room, three en-suite bathrooms and an amazing outdoor/indoor patio for entertaining.

It's with sad hearts that we bid farewell to our new friends and one of the most elegant, wonderful and extraordinary places in South Africa – Montecasino Palazzo, grazie mille!

A place to dream (WILLIE SMIT)

Facilities and Services:

Free high-speed WiFi

Free high-speed WiFi internet access per room, per day. Enjoy effortless access and great connectivity with a dedicated 750mb per day.

Business Centre

This well-appointed business centre is equipped with computer stations, internet access, printing and photocopying facilities.

Fitness Centre

This state-of-the-art fitness centre is available 24 hours at no cost to residents. Refreshments and towels are provided and headphones are available for TV screens.

Mangwanani Spa Boutique

On-site African-inspired massage therapies are available in the comfort of your room as well as in gazebos alongside the pool.

Montecasino Entertainment Complex

This world-class entertainment centre is located on site and offers an array of dining options, retail shops, cinemas, theatres, casino and children's entertainment facilities.

Local Attractions:

Montecasino Entertainment Complex

As Gauteng's premier entertainment destination, this complex is located in Fourways and has been voted Best Casino, Best Entertainment Complex, Best Cinema Complex and Best Place to Take Out-of-towners. Onsite

Teatro at Montecasino, Pieter Toerien Theatre

Situated within the Montecasino complex, these theatres offer the best of entertainment from all genres. Onsite

Newtown Cultural Precinct

This cultural hub of Johannesburg offers world-class theatre, dance, music, art, photography and crafts. Key attractions include the Market Theatre, Museum Africa, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and the Dance Factory. 15km

Timeless elegance (WILLIE SMIT)

Jewel Africa

Now located at Montecasino, the spectacular and spacious Jewel Africa showroom offers a world-class interactive shopping experience that offers exclusive jewellery tours. Discover the richness of traditional and Modern Africa jewels. Onsite

Cradle of Humankind & Maropeng Visitor Centre

Visit this site and the interactive display will be sure to leave you feeling exhilarated about the past, present and future. 40km

Bill Harrop's Balloon Safaris

Enjoy a hot air balloon while sipping on champagne as you hover over the tree tops of the beautiful Magalies River Valley and Magaliesberg range.

Lion Park

This park is situated in Gauteng near Lanseria Airport and Fourways and offers terrific up close views and interaction with a large variety of predators indigenous to Africa.

Pilanesberg Game Reserve

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is in the Bojanala Region of the North West Province about an hour and half's drive from Fourways. The park ranks among the largest of the parks in South Africa and accommodates virtually every mammal of Southern Africa and is home to the Big Five.

Elephant Sanctuary

The Elephant Sanctuary provides a safe haven for our elephants and offers a unique platform for guest education and interaction.

Lesedi Cultural Village

This unique cultural venue invites visitors to experience the spirit of Ubuntu in Africa. The village is tastefully incorporated into the local bush with five traditional homesteads including Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa and Basotho.

Ngwenya Glass Village

This Glass Village is only 20 minutes from Johannesburg and is a glass wonderland where you can watch the ancient art of glassblowing and buy handmade, recycled glassware.

Poolside moments to yourself (WILLIE SMIT)

Sandton Sun Spa

This exclusive Spa is located in the luxurious Sandton Sun Hotel and offers guests an intimate and rejuvenating experience. 2km

Soweto Township Tours & Shebeen Route

This unique experience takes you on a history lesson through Soweto.

Fourways Mall

Conveniently located close to the N1 freeway, this offers a unique shopping experience to the community and tourists. 2km

Wonder Caves

The Wondercave is located in the valley of Kromdraai and is surrounded by game farms with abundance of both wild-and birdlife


Go to http://www.tsogosunhotels.com/Deluxe/The-Palazzo-Montecasinofor more information and reservations.

Getting there:

There are no direct flights between mainland China and South Africa at present but many airlines offer multiple-stop flights such as Emirates, Cathay Pacific and South African Airways.

The hotel lies just 15 minutes from Sandton and is within easy reach of O.R. Tambo International Airport, Lanseria Airport, the Gautrain rapid rail system and many other world-class attractions in the city.

The hotel offers a shuttle service to and from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

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