Fabulous Fairlawns : The secret is out


By Jacqui Thompson

I always swore I would never use the word “nestled” when writing about destinations.  So, what I will say about this superior boutique hotel is that it lies …hidden… in a tranquil leafy upmarket suburb in northern Johannesburg.  I discovered it when walking my dogs. Intrigued by the imposing entrance I first thought it must be the home of either a politician or possibly a dictator in hiding. A discreet sign informed me otherwise.

Fairlawns has subsequently become my home from home. It’s where I flee to to indulge in scones and tea, a massage, to sip G&T’s pool side at sunset or simply desire some silence and sophistication. I kept mum about it believing only myself and foreign dignitaries, royalty, heads of state and international celebrities (I snooped through the impressive guest book) were privy to this beautiful hotel’s existence, but Fairlawns is just too good to keep to myself and famous foreigners.

A major part of Fairlawns’ success is due to the hands on attention-to-detail duo, owners John and Anna Thacker. Together they have created an inviting and beautiful place to dine, wed, rest or rejuvenate.  The hotel and the 40 individualized suites were decorated by Anna. How she got the eclectic mix of French provincial, old English charm and African ethnicity to work is beyond me.  But work it does. Beautifully.

There’s a large sunlit pool with attendant gazebos, over half a dozen conference or function venues, a gym (far too well-equipped for me to come up with an excuse not to use it), a cosy bar complete with winter time roaring fire, and a Chaine des Rotissuers Association member restaurant with an award-winning wine list.

The hotel itself boasts several awards and nominations and its popularity continues to grow. I now have to call ahead to make sure there isn’t a wedding or some private function getting between me and my scones. Nothing more pesky than the sound of honeymooners murmuring sweet nothings, clinking champagne flutes and chattering guests on what is supposed to be a quiet weekend afternoon. Bah humbug.

And as someone who considers my dogs better behaved than most children I am very happy with the ‘children allowed at the discretion of management’ principle.

For an absolute spoil book a spa treatment (the honey and coffee body mud mask is a must) at the fully imported Balinese Spa Villa – that explains why it feels so darn authentic! - and take lunch next to the meditation-inducing brook and bamboo grove. I recommend the Full Body Sculpting Body Treatment “designed to decrease fatty tissue” even though they declined my request to leave the stuff on overnight and stuck to the 90 minutes. All those scones show up somewhere you know.

At this time of year, if you are looking for a perfect upmarket venue for your Christmas gathering, you will find what you want at Fairlawns; one of Joburg’s best kept secrets nestl….oops…I mean hidden under ancient oaks and only 10 minutes from Sandton.

Address : Alma Road, Morningside Manor Ext 6, Sandton,

Email :  reservations@fairlawns.co.za

Website : www.fairlawns.co.za

Telephone : +27 11 804 2540 or + 27 73 481 7734

Dining : A la carte and delicious

Wheelchair friendly : No

Parking : Secure

Children permitted : On request and at management’s discretion