Splendour, opulence define northern suburbs' swankiest spots for well-heeled

On a night where most eyeballs were firmly fixed on the small screen awaiting the drama bound to accompany President Cyril Ramaphosa's  State of the Nations Address last Thursday, I and a host of other scribes headed off on a junket of some of the swankiest spots the northern suburbs has to offer.

The venues cater to the palate of the well-heeled, and the sundowners are served sleek and the hors d'oeuvres smooth out all the kinks that the Joburg traffic might have knotted.

The event, which goes by The Decks of Tsogo Sun – a Celebration of Summer, sees organisers taking you on a journey of several select decks of the hotel, each boasting a unique vibe and ambience, specific to whatever your individual taste happens to be.

First stop was the Southern Sun Montecasino, a splash whose design is said to be inspired by the opulence and splendour of the 15th century Palazzo Corsini villa in Italy.

The distinguishing factor of this deck is the contrasting serenity of the inside of the hotel itself, which you walk through to get to the rugged, woodsy exterior of the deck.

The lounge area is elegant and gives way to a gem of a deck that overlooks an infinity pool and a waterscape, inhabited by a family of swans.

The venue makes it a point to make the most of the last Friday of the month with live entertainment and a menu that features meze platters, pizza slices and sliders paired with a bespoke cocktail menu, including a distinctive selection of rum creations.  

Next, the entourage was whisked off to the heart of Rosebank, the home of 54 on Bath.  This intimate space is refined, relaxed and is perfectly positioned below a pool deck.

The incomparable Matthew Foxon is the executive chef and identifies the clientele as "niche, chic, discerning and on the lookout for a relaxed and comfortable experience.

Foxon whipped up a pekin duck breast, peach puree, carrot and miso puree as well as a fish dish made of sustainable line fish with a side of roasted peppers, baby fennel, artichoke and sauce vierge. Obviously, this sumptuous offering is only a smidgen of his expansive repertoire.

"The restaurant is quite upmarket, you could say traditional modern. We serve a lot of local guests, and we also have afternoon tea in the garden area, weather permitting. We make it our business to serve in- season. I am personally a firm believer in assuming responsibility for how we order, where we order from. We strive to be ethical, and take into account the welfare of the animals while also taking care to utilise the entire animal. Additionally, we only  do local produce, that way, we support local business," Foxon said.

It is no coincidence that weeks before the international love holiday,  Valentine's, the place was already fully booked. "We are fully booked for Valentine's Day, but for the whole month, we still have several treats for our guests. For instance, for any rose champagne order, we provide a complementary platter for two".

The tour continues to Hyde Park, a cosy space that has impressive views that overlook the splendour and opulence of the surrounding areas for miles, while the Sandton deck caters for a chic and upmarket clientele. The distinguishing feature is their preference for locally-made spirits, from gin to whisky. The staff is attentive and prompt, and they ensure your stay is pleasant.

So, the next time you are in the lookout for a sundowner spot, these scenes are worth your while.

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