Reserved Suites Illovo: a shopper’s delight with Jozi's jewels at your feet
If malls are a magnet, you’ll love this lofty spot, just a hop from the glittering shopfronts of Sandton in one direction and Rosebank in the other
SO YOU WANT TO COME TO JOBURG?
I’m a Joburger, born and bred, and I love my city. A fairly frequent traveller, I am also well versed in the reaction the word “Joburg” gets from many people in other towns. It’s a concrete, crime-ridden jungle with no charm, they say. To which I reply that those who know it and love it see another side: a cosmopolitan, lively, treed city with great restaurants and cafes, wonderful parks and theatres, and the country's friendliest city slickers. Don't get me started on the shops.
It is sprawling, though, and I’ll admit it takes a certain street smarts to navigate. As a visitor, you can’t be naive or wet behind the ears, and for whatever reason you’re passing through, picking the right place to stay is crucial.
In the most sweeping terms, most locals would agree north is nicest. And when location is key you can’t do much better than Illovo, right on the edge of the famously affluent business hub of Sandton.
Here you will find Illovo Central, a 16-storey development with a blend of office, retail and residential space. The locals who live here have either bought into or signed up for tenancy in “luxury furnished apartments”. And nestled among these are apartments available for short-term stays which go by the name Reserved Suites.
Parallel to busy Oxford Road, which runs from historic Parktown through Rosebank to Sandton's edge, is Melville Road, a drive down which will carry you past a seemingly never-ending stream of high walls and office blocks, gated complexes and security guards. But, just before the road curves to join Sandton’s buzzing Rivonia Road, and right across from one of the city’s most ostentatious eventing venues, Summer Place, is the high rise named Illovo Central.
A reassuring sign in Jozi, a security guard mans the boomed entrance and once you’ve made it into the parking lot a mirrored lift will take you to the sparkling front desk. A swift check-in will give you time for a stop at the reception-side shoeshine station, if you like, and petrolheads will want to peek at the car dealership just out the front door — Ayob Motors deals exclusively in “class cars”. If you’ve always fancied a selfie with a Porsche Carrera or a Ferrari 488 Spider, you might just be in luck.
For those budgeting or with little need for space, the smallest option is the queen room with a queen-size bed, Nespresso machine, computer desk and standing balcony. A little bit extra will get you the same but with a splendid view of the Sandton skyline.
The small studios are similar but with self-catering facilities: a stove, microwave, sink, bar fridge and kettle. The apartments throw in full kitchens, appliances, living spaces and patios. Parties larger than two people (sharing) will want a two-bed or larger. The three-bedroom also has a long dining table, a study and a gigantic patio with panoramic views. It can sleep six adults.
WHAT ELSE IT HAS
There is a gym with a sauna and steam room on site, which guests can use for free. There is also an outdoor pool which, though on the small side, does offer wonderful views over the city and a pretty cool place for an early morning dip.
For eating, there is an in-house restaurant — Cafe on Central — which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, has a super friendly owner and a menu that runs the gamut from wraps, tramezzinis and burgers to schnitzels, shawarmas and pastas. For the budget conscious, there are several menu items that fall well below the R100 mark — quite a rarity on the Joburg dining scene.
Alas, it does not have a liquor licence and it's clearly catering to office workers in daylight hours — with diner-style seating, a fridge full of cooldrinks and a counter full of chocolate bars — giving it an inescapable cafeteria ambience. That’s fine if you want no-fuss feeding but it’s not a true contender if you’re looking for a special night out.
A small outdoor seating area benefits from the lovely view but suffers from backing onto the gym’s outdoor workout area — a strange choice to have such spaces side by side. I’d say it’s a much more appealing idea if you want to eat in to have your meal delivered to your suite, which is an option. Or venture out to the plethora of fantastic restaurants on your doorstep.
If malls are a magnet, you’ll be delighted by this location, just a hop from the glittering shopfronts of Sandton City in one direction and Rosebank Mall in another. Hyde Park and Melrose Arch are also not far off.
The Sandton Gautrain Station is 2.2km away, thus qualifying it for the free shuttle that’s available to Reserved Suite guests within a 5km radius. They can assist with transfers, laundry and dry-cleaning services and booking tours.
As for the dreaded load-shedding, good news is the building has a backup generator. Even as a Joburger myself, when the load-shedding schedule is particularly onerous or a substation trip extends the misery in my 'hood, don't be surprised if you find me checking in for one of those fully functional kitchens, working lights and a cosy uninterrupted evening of burrowing down in the duvet for some Netflix on the flat-screen.
RATES AND SPECIALS
From R1,300 for a queen room to R8,500 for the three-bedroom penthouse apartment. There is a range of specials available on the website, including a Black Friday deal valid for stays between December 1 and January 31, where you can get up to 25% off.
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