The Saxon Hotel reveals new look following lockdown refurb

Saxon Hotel  Lobby 2020

The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa in Johannesburg has unveiled a fresh new face to its communal spaces in 2020 following a major refurbishment throughout the lockdown period.

The hotel’s main reception area, Qunu restaurant, Olive Bar and Cigar Library have been creatively updated taking inspiration from the property’s first layout in 2000 and marrying authentic South African touches and original features, such as the lobby’s distinctive chandelier and spiralling twin staircases, with an atmosphere of relaxed open space.

In tribute to the hotel’s connection with favoured former guest, the late South African president Nelson Mandela, the Dean Simon artwork “Foresight and Hindsight – The Five Faces of Mandela”, which traces the progression of Mandela’s life from his early youth through to the compassionate older statesman, has been given pride of place behind the reception desk, framed by textured wallpapers and artisanal beaded lampshades in traditional style.

Another feast for all senses is the revamped Qunu restaurant. The eye is immediately drawn to a gorgeous mural by Justin Badenhorst of Nomad fame, based on a photograph taken at sister property, Shambala Private Game Reserve in the Waterberg area, which evokes the feeling of being stood under a Wild Seringa tree, gazing at the African sunset. The ceiling-to-floor image blends into a striking liquid marble floor design, complemented by beautiful fabrics in subtle grey tones, together creating a cool and soothing colour palette.

On entering Qunu, guests can start by enjoying an aperitif, prepared at the newly installed bar area, accompanied by music from in-house saxophonist Femi Koya and pianist Jonathan Assempah, before embarking on a culinary journey centred on authentic African flavours and organic, seasonal produce from Saxon’s Sarapana rooftop gardens.

Managing Director, George Cohen said:

“I look forward to welcoming guests back to the Saxon to share these exciting improvements with everyone. We have truly missed being able to offer our inimitable Saxon Journey and we can’t wait to be able to do so again soon.”

On re-opening in 2021, the Saxon experience may look and feel a little different due to new safety initiatives, but the team look forward to welcoming guests once more with the warm South African hospitality that they have come to be known for. More details on the measures can be found on the hotel’s website at

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Saxon Hotel Qunu Restaurant 2020
Saxon Hotel Olive Bar 2020

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