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Two nights at the the Four Seasons Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg

The perfect launch point for a South African safari

four seasons westcliff
Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon
Head of Digital
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Four Seasons beds are the most comfortable in the world – this is something I’ve known since I first slept on a cloud of theirs more than a decade ago. So while I knew our two night stop in Johannesburg would result in a really good sleep (after a less comfortable night flight from the UK) and a chance to acclimatise to our new surroundings ahead of a safari adventure, I hadn’t realised how much a part of the holiday of a lifetime our two nights in Joburg’s Four Seasons Westcliff Hotel would be.

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A touch of Four Seasons luxury is always welcome, but in Johannesburg I think, it’s even more particularly so. After a long flight and with a little trepidation of arriving in a city with a reputation of safety (or lack of) that precedes it, being met by a driver at arrivals and helped through the airport to your transfer, is a nice touch.

I love South Africa and am a hopeful cheerleader for Johannesburg – a city with a difficult history and some present day struggles which are evident even as we drive from the airport, the trip unimpeded by traffic lights as load shedding meant no electricity in the city for a couple of hours at the time of our arrival.

four seasons westcliff interiors

The modern African interiors are fun and luxurious

But the Four Seasons, perched on a hill overlooking the city, is a blissful base from which to explore – with generators and security leaving you unperturbed by anything, and being able to relax and enjoy the food, drink and sunsets that make this part of the world so special.

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The hotel is quite stunning - an array of white villas set high up on the rocky cliffs of Witwatersrand - it really feels like a holiday village of its own, with golf carts available to transport you up the meandering Mediterranean-style paths, which weave through courtyards, fountains and gardens.

sunset over westcliff

The views over Flames restaurant at sunset

We wanted to explore the city before we headed off on safari – and a couple of fantastic tours gave us a background into the city and country that we felt were an important addition to the thrils of bush and beach to come.

But I'll be honest, it was hard to tear ourselves away from the hotel. Its pools, spa, steam rooms and saunas are the epitome of luxury, and even in winter when we visited, the pools were too enticing to miss (the chilly waters took a bit of bravery, but it was worth it!).

johannesburg westcliff art

There's a lot of history worth discovering in Johannesburg

The setting is spectaular, whether at sunrise, during the day, sunset, or at night - a vista which spreads for miles across the city and onto the hills beyond. We even spotted a few elephants roaming around the Johannesburg zoo from our balcony!

The positioning of the main restaurant, Flames, is designed to maximise these views, with an opportunity to enter the cliff-top eatery via a stunning glass elevator. The seasonally-inspired menu is top notch - the wagyu steak and carpaccio de springbok were to die for. And the breakfast that is put on in the morning, while you watch sunrise, is equally enthralling. The pink strawberry-filled croissants an actual highlight of our trip for the teenagers!

pink croissants

Westcliff breakfasts have become legendary in our house

But above all of this, our expections of the perfect beds and some much-needed blissful sleep, were fulfilled! The beds, still the miraculous combination of support and fluffy cloud, ensured we took off on our safari rested and raring to go. The perfect first step on a holiday of a lifetime, or a last treat before home.

Rooms, suites and family rooms at the Four Seasons Westcliff can be booked via

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