The 194-room Tuscan-style Southern Sun Montecasino was built to accommodate guests visiting the casino, as well as visitors to Joburg and from abroad. A variety of tourists from the Asia-Pacific region have crossed its threshold, as well as touring performers, business people and foodies.
Aside from its luxury guest rooms, its facilities — including a European-style bar, upmarket restaurant, popular high tea lounge and a coffee shop — provide a hub for socialites and fine living folk alike.
Hotel management decided to keep room rates affordable – as far as casino hotel stays go – which is good to keep in mind. My cosy room had windows facing towards the garden which afforded pleasant afternoon light. Furnishings included a crafted wood and marble writing desk, a flat-screen TV, a single-seater couch, a spindle chair, tea and coffee station and a comfortable queen-size bed topped with white linen. The landline was a silver, old-school telephone but the absence of an alarm clock was alarming...
The bathroom was quite unique and while not big in size, it did make up for it in looks. With white tiles from the floor to the ceiling, it had sliding doors next to the bath that could be opened, giving a view out of the window. I spent an hour or so soaking up the scenery while laying the tub.
The hotel restaurant, Punchinellos, is a massive Venetian-style dining hall complete with chandeliers. It features Mediterranean dishes made with the best local produce, and you can find everything on the menu from seafood and prime cuts of meat to seasonal vegetarian dishes. It's fine-dining that's never fussy, which is the restaurant's motto.
The buck does not stop there when it comes to dining at the Southern Sun Montecasino. Café Cru is an all-day venue on the terrace of The Pivot conference centre. Here, I enjoyed good coffee but they also have a selection of great wines and a deli-style menu.
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