As we walked into the reception area at the Courtyard Hotel Sandton, we were greeted by warm smiles and a friendly hello.
“Would you like something to drink?” A pitcher of lemonade stood enticingly to our left.
After our bustling morning, we were delighted at the offer. Mr C was eager to get to our room so I had to down my glass and follow suit. Once inside, we were taken aback at the size of the room. It was much larger than some of the hotels we’ve stayed in. The giant private balcony made complete with a wrought iron table and two chairs made me wish I had brought a book.
“This is awesome, I wouldn’t mind staying at another Courtyard!”, Mr C exclaims.
After asking me if I’d taken pics of the room (not wanting to mess it up if I hadn’t), Mr C plopped himself onto the bed, TV remote in hand and was sound asleep not long after. It had already been a tiring start to the weekend. The night before, he suffered through The Nutcracker at Joburg Theatre, something I had been looking forward to but was also left disappointed. The ballerinas were beautiful and amazing but the costumes and choreography could have been much better.
Since a power nap wasn’t high on my priorities, I opted for a refreshing hot shower. I unpacked my stuff only to realise that I had forgotten to pack body wash & shampoo. Last time I forgot the toothpaste. (I really should keep an overnight bag ready to go with all these items.) Thankfully the hotel had travel sized versions of these items, along with an array of other stuff (lotion, shower cap etc.). Furnished with more than just the bare essentials it truly was a home away from home. The hidey-hole kitchen even had a toaster!
Mr C was still in dreamland so I went out to the balcony to take in the view and the fresh air. Again, I wished I had brought a book. Instead I settled for reading through my social news feeds and interesting articles through my phone (nowhere near as good as reading a book, but hey I had to make do!).
When the king finally roused from his slumber (lol) it was time to get ready and head to the Theatre on the Square at Nelson Mandela Square to see BASH, a production that had an excellent run at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival this year.
With our scheduled trip to London this Christmas, we’ve been holding on really tight to the purse strings so a sit down dinner was not an option. Instead we got a slice of veggie pizza for each of us and an Appletiser to share, found a seat outside and wolfed it down before heading into the theatre. I must admit to feeling like a tourist at this point.
The show proved interesting, consisting of three one-act plays pulled off by truly gifted actors.
We emerged from the theatre to find that a storm had hit while we were inside. Even though it was a little cold by then, that didn’t stop us from ending the night with…ice-cream! It was my first taste of Baglios ice cream and definitely won’t be the last…all I can say is yummmm.
There’s just something about hotel beds that make you feel as though you’re sleeping on clouds. Or feathers. We both wished we didn’t have to go back to our lumpy bed later. We could have stayed under the covers but the day held a new adventure – plus we couldn’t miss breakfast. We weren’t sure what breakfast would hold since we were in the midst of a religious fast where we abstain from all kinds of meat. Breakfast was so good that Mr C didn’t even complain about having to miss out on the bacon & eggs!
Service at The Courtyard Rivonia was unlike anywhere else we’ve stayed. Initially, we thought maybe it was because maybe they somehow knew we were going to blog about our stay but at breakfast we noticed that everyone around us received the same exceptional 5 star treatment. The staff were genuinely welcoming that we did not feel like we were in a hotel but instead visiting with friends. I’m sure we will be dropping by again. Maybe not to this particular one but a Courtyard Hotel somewhere else in SA.
After breakfast it was time to to head to the train station for our first ride on the Gautrain. We were psyched to finally strike this of our to do list. It reminded us both of our time spent abroad, the days when taking the train was a part of our every day life. Gold cards in hand, we boarded the train to Rosebank. The only strange part of the experience was being told by a guard that I was not allowed to drink my water. Mr C and I both looked at each other puzzled but I complied anyway.
Rosebank Mall was bustling and after going in to a few stores, we wandered over to the Craft Market. It was mostly things we’ve seen before but I’m sure any visitor to our wonderful country would be in awe of the collection of South African crafts. We did find one item particularly intriguing – a springbok head (antlers and all) made out of coke cans 🙂