Forces beyond my understanding have been leading me towards a Renaissance in which Da Vinci keeps making an appearance.
Firstly I visited the internationally roving Da Vinci exhibition at the Chavonne Battery Museum in Cape Town, where Mona Lisa was revealed as she would have looked in 1505. All thanks to a 250 million pixel camera that can look into the very soul of the painting. The exhibition also brought to life Leonardo’s prolific inventions. But what intrigued me most were his notebooks written in mirror image to protect them from prying eyes. Read more here.
ITAL-CHIC DESIGN AT DAVINCI HOTEL
Then there I was last week at a bookshop in Cape Town airport when Mona Lisa stared out at me from the front cover of the first edition of National Geographic HISTORY. I had to buy it….more particularly because I was on my way to stay in the DaVinci Hotel in Johannesburg’s richest square mile – Sandton. Now that’s what I call the universe leading me by the nose!
Unlike its sister hotel the Michelangelo (more on that here), on the opposite side of Nelson Mandela Square, DaVinci doesn’t pay homage to Italian palazzo style but can certainly hold its own for Italian-style chic interiors. Its black and white décor, spotless sparkle and styled furniture make you feel like you just walked into a photoshoot. I found myself topping up my lipstick and holding my head a little higher just to feel like I belonged in such a swanky environment.
I was the only one judging me, the staff treat every guest with utter professionalism and usually a big smile in this frenetic business and tourist district, now the financial hub of Johannesburg. I couldn’t quite get my bearings as all I could see was a city skyline that was unfamiliar to me. What I did know was that the Sandton Gautrain station was a short walk away, but why walk when the hotel provides complimentary transfers. This proved to be something I came to rely on as I hopped on and off the Gautrain to reach the departure stop for the informative hop on/off red City Sightseeing Bus, thus fulfilling my mission to be a tourist in the City of Gold, Egoli/Joeys/Jozi.
A GIANT NELSON MANDELA
Cape Town being my chosen city out of the whole world in which to live, Joburg has a lot to live up to for a tourist and just doesn’t enthrall me. So, after a day of dull city sightseeing (excepting the wonderfully creative Maboneng Precinct and some cultural stops on the Soweto Tour), I couldn’t have been happier to get back to the refined surroundings of the DaVinci. The best thing about its location is that the hotel literally looms tall over some of the best shopping in Jozi – Sandton City Mall, where my credit card got some exercise! Another location bonus is the hotel’s proximity to a cornucopia of restaurants and Nelson Mandela Square where I looked up (and up some more) to admire the giant bronze Mandela in his inimitable mid-dance posture. I get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I look at that man.
Things I especially liked about DaVinci Hotel
1. Super-chic open plan bedroom with freestanding bath and all amenities you expect from a 5-star hotel, including in-room Nespresso Coffee machine.
2. Breakfast buffet and a la carte choices to keep you going all day in airy black/white tiled conservatory.
3. Shoe shine at the hotel foyer to make sure you walk out looking as chic as most other people in Sandton.
4. The Pillow Menu – a nice touch with a choice of: neck support,firm, microfiber, non-allergenic unicurl or goose down.
5. Free transfer to Gautrain Station.
6. So stylish it made me up my game and don my best clothes and a jot more make up than I usually go for.
7. Their commitment to sustainable operations through the Heritage Environmental Management Company and minimizing impact.
A few facts:
Have you been to the DaVinci Hotel in Sandton? Tell me about it.