Suite Dreams: The Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa

Story by Jeffrey James Keyes. Originally published in

The Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa in Johannesburg, South Africa was the private residence of insurance giant Douw Steyn until 2000. It boasts countless famous regulars including Oprah, Shakira, Kevin Spacey, and the Black Eyed Peas. Nelson Mandela, another frequent guest, edited his Long Walk to Freedom at the Saxon after his release from prison. Three new villas containing twenty-nine new suites have more than doubled the capacity of the luxurious hotel, ensuring their rightful claim to the World’s Leading Boutique Hotel title for the ninth year at the World Travel Awards.

Saxon Suite
Saxon Suite

Designed with the luxury and exclusivity for which the Saxon brand is known, each of the new stand-alone villas has its own private pool, terrace, and lounge. The villas were initially tailored for celebrity guests in Jo’burg for the World Cup, but will certainly make for a posh welcome for your first stop in a big gay South African vacation. That’s the Saxon Suite to the left. Sweet!

Join the cute boys splashing and bouncing under the fragrant jacaranda trees on the Pool Terrace and get a glimpse of the colorful Koi on the Koi Terrace. A visit to the Saxon Spa and Studio is a must: Venture out of your comfort zone with an Elemental Massage Therapy, inspired by Earth, Fire, Water, and Air.  By the time the masseur gets to air, your jet lag will already be on safari.  Be sure to grab your first glass of Pinotage at the Terrace and Olive Bar and take in an inaugural African sunset before retiring to your suite or the Oprah room (yes, the Oprah room) for a little reading.

For more information, visit

On assignment for GPS, intrepid travel writer and photographer Jeffrey James Keyes made his way through South Africa recently. He visited many hotel properties and presents his “Big Five” picks for lodging most suitable for gay and lesbian visitors. Check back the next four Thursdays to discover the others.

Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

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