Hotel review: At The Ivy you can treat yo'self ... and your dog

The author poses in front of the hotel's unicorn floatie-filled swimming pool.
The author poses in front of the hotel's unicorn floatie-filled swimming pool.

The Ivy Villa Hotel & Spa
160 Helen Rd, Strathavon, Sandton
From R3 200 per person sharing per night
Our rating: 5 stars out of 5

Opened on August 1, the new Ivy Villa Hotel in Sandton, owned by the Capitol Group, is a five-star establishment with a wonderful bush-lodge feel.

Personally, I detest hotels. I find they veer from being offensively garish to impersonal and I would much rather check into a cosy little guesthouse or B&B when I’m travelling.

The Ivy bucks all those hotel clichés. Instead it is tasteful, warm, nature-inspired and full of quirky little touches.

Take for instance their unicorn floatie-filled swimming pool – which I’m sure is going to be a hit in the summer.

During City Press’ visit, the hotel was exhibiting the astounding work of renowned local sculptor Anton Smit, meaning guests meandering the hotel’s lovely paths would come across massive granite heads and other sculptural odes to the human anatomy.



But by far the most avant garde touch at The Ivy is the fact that it’s one of Joburg’s few dog-friendly hotels.

Two of the building’s rooms are especially set up for dogs. Owners will receive pet bedding, treats and a walking map on arrival with their pooch.


The hotel has its own dogs, which you’ll see when you enter – two majestic and very serene Great Danes called Duke and Ivy.

The dogs are walked by butlers daily and sleep in the reception area at night. What’s great is that the hotel has pet sitters if you need to step out and can’t leave your dog in your luxurious room.


The Ivy is also home to renowned South African chef Reuben Riffel’s signature restaurant. Riffel is known for fine dining with a Cape Malay feel. We tucked into bobotie-flavoured steak while we were there.


The Ivy prides itself on its team of butlers, who wear top hats and suits designed by Gert-Johan Coetzee.

“Our butlers have worked across the world and have been trained to offer the most remarkable service, and support guests in myriad ways – including unpacking luggage, personal shopping services, arranging a private chef experience in our villas, introducing a cognac and cigar service or offering wine pairing recommendations,” hotel manager Lindsay Wright says.


They’re even contactable 24/7 via WhatsApp.

I experienced a touch of their service before dinner that night. Completely night blind, I walked into a full-length glass window that I mistook for the sliding door.

The hotel staff were extremely concerned, perhaps because I’m also heavily pregnant. They immediately organised me an ice pack.

They even wanted to phone a doctor. Luckily my head was okay, only my pride hurt..

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