5 Star Luxury

The Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa has been given a makeover, taking it to the next level of luxury. The renovation has been described as contemporary, colourful, chic and slightly quirky, whilst remaining sympathetic to the charm and sophistication of the 19-year old iconic property.

New Look for Award-Winning Boutique Hotel

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The Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa has been given a makeover, taking it to the next level of luxury.  The renovation has been described as contemporary, colourful, chic and slightly quirky, whilst remaining sympathetic to the charm and sophistication of the 19-year old iconic property.


According to its Managing Director, Michael Kewley, “Fairlawns was one of the first five-star boutique hotels to be opened in Johannesburg. It has grown from a staff complement of 13 to just over 100 today. Originally the Oppenheimer Estate, Fairlawns still exudes a park-like ambience with huge trees and prolific birdlife, but now boasts 40 suites, a presidential spa apartment, two restaurants, a Balinese spa, a conference centre and a fitness centre.”


Kewley opted to retain most of the hotel’s antiques and furniture but these have been given a fresh transformation with paint and rich, luxurious fabrics.


The Manor House Bistro is the new all-day, a la carte restaurant featuring rich velvet touches, intricate and bold tiles, and a unique Strawberry Daiquiri Cake Trolley inspired by The Ritz in London.  Amuse-Bouche, the property’s flagship restaurant features modern cuisine prepared in Africa with a French influence, in a spectacular fine dining setting. Both restaurants overlook the rolling green lawns and are open to the public to enjoy.

Fairlawn’s “Into the Woods” 12-seater private dining area features huge glass windows which overlook the hotel’s immaculately manicured garden. The outside is brought inside through ceiling to floor wallpaper depicting a green Birchwood forest.


The Balinese spa is an oasis of calm.  It now features a new unisex sauna, mood lighting in the treatment rooms and a new manicure and pedicure lounge.  The spa has also introduced a ‘Tan Can’ and offers Clarins as a product.


At Fairlawn’s conference centre, more relaxed furnishings have been introduced.  “We have noticed that our conference delegates prefer plush armchairs and couches instead of the usual formal seating arrangements,” says Kewley.


The conference centre has taken a more modern stance. It has been fitted with latest conference technology, the majority of the furniture is also new, with some key items upcycled for the new space.  The landing area has also been refurbished, making for a refreshing cocktail experience between breaks for delegates.

The 40 suites at Fairlawns each have a different theme and have been named accordingly.  For example, The Africa Suite is now called ‘Savannah’ and features cork walls and raw metals – a modern take on afro-chic.   The Empire suite is now known as ‘Azzura’ due to the beautiful blue shades used throughout the suite.

“We are currently upgrading the gardens and pool area.  The upgrade will be completed later this year, just in time for the launch of our Mad Hatters tea parties and Spring picnics, Lazy Days and Lawn Blankets.  There, guests can enjoy private gazebos, croquet, picnic blankets and a harvest table the last Sunday of every month,” says Kewley.


Kewley concludes: “We look forward to welcoming guests – returning and future – to our sanctuary in the city.  We have no doubt that they will be delighted with our evolution.”

A note from Michael Kewley

As we stand on the cusp of August, it is imperative for me to reflect on what has essentially been a continuation of Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa’s “butterfly years” – taking the property from a grand old dame, to an exquisite tour de force, not only from a South African perspective, but also internationally.


The property’s metamorphosis is, of course, one which has not happened overnight. A lot of blood, sweat and tears – and above all things: love – has gone into Fairlawns’ transformation. Not only do I stand indebted to my wonderful staff, but also to the guests of Fairlawns. Both those who have been visiting our lovely oasis in the city for years, even decades, and also those who have only recently discovered us.


When asked what has been the driving force and the inspiration behind the new winds of change that have been blowing across our property’s lawns during the last two years in particular, I don’t have to think too long. Everything I have achieved in life – both from a personal as well as a professional perspective – can be attributed to innate self-drive and a simple philosophy of “why not?”


This philosophy is also something which I have endeavoured to carry across to my staff; and I am proud to report that it is evident in the world-class, effortlessly friendly service we provide to all our guests; it is present in the smiles on our guest’s faces when we go over and above to make sure all their needs – however big or small – are tended to; it is visible in the amount of pure, unadulterated fun and care that has been taken to transform Fairlawns and it is tangible by each and every person who visits the property.


While Fairlawns has essentially been my “baby” for the last six years, my real passion for décor and renovating beautiful spaces has truly come to the fore in the last two years. I have solely been responsible for the ongoing, 25 million Rands’ worth of refurbishments, which have transformed our city resort hotel, into the eclectic jewel of Sandton that it is today. From reincarnating all 41 of the five-star hotel’s rooms into unique African and European destinations, to the award-winning Balinese spa at the bottom of the gardens (probably my favourite spot on the property), I am proud to say that I had a hand in every last detail.

Fairlawns also recently walked away as winners in the “Luxury Boutique Hotel” category as part of the World Luxury Hotel Awards, which is testament to the fact that we are a local establishment, with global appeal. Further to the latter, we recently collaborated with the vintage, highly sought after French champagne brand, Perrier-Jouët, to launch MUSE, our on-property boutique Champagne Bar and Courtyard for our guests to enjoy. This brand new addition is just one of the ways in which we want to thank our guests for their unwavering support, while at the same time paraphrasing Marie Antoinette when she said: “Let them drink champagne!”


Looking to the future, I am both excited and honoured to be surrounded, not only by the immense beauty that Fairlawns brings to Johannesburg and South Africa as a whole, but also by the talent that has recently joined our family of 104 valued employees.


Our new Executive Chef, Tyron Lumley, joined Fairlawns in May, bringing with him over 20 years of experience, various accolades, a world of travelling to all the corners of the earth, and heading up some of the world’s finest establishments. From an operational perspective, we recently welcomed Theunis Marais as Fairlawns’ Resident Manager. Not only will Theunis, or Theuni as he prefers to be called, be looking after the property from an operational and financial point of view, but he will also be responsible for the day-to-day running of the hotel, marketing and sales, and the hotel’s “health” in general.


In closing, I would like to thank each and every person who has contributed to Fairlawns’ success over the years. It is full steam ahead for us towards the end of the year. After all, we have dreams to build, plans to action, smiles to create, and wings to grow.

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