The Catalyst Hotel

The fabulous thing about a hotel stay is the chance to enjoy all the facilities you don’t have at home.

Like the luxury of posh surroundings or having a chef cook delicious meals for you. I’m a fan of both those things – who isn’t - but my top treat is always a hotel with a spa.

At the new Catalyst Hotel in Sandton there’s a Sanctuary Spa, and it was bliss to have all my tension massaged out of me by the manager Micayla Baatjes. Micayla also practices reiki and she asked how I switch off my brain to relax at night. I don’t always manage, I admitted, but she already knew that because my energy fields had told her so.

My energy fields got a huge chance to relax after the massage when I went for a long toasty session in the sauna. Guests who book a treatment here can also enjoy a glass of bubbly in the king-sized Jacuzzi, and after that I felt my day couldn’t get much better.

Actually it could, because then my relaxed body floated along to the Kashew restaurant for dinner. The Kashew’s chef Justin Jonah has a strong pedigree including The Maslow Hotel and the Times Square complex in Pretoria. At The Catalyst he’s keeping the menu quite compact until demand grows, but there were still enough options to leave me dithering over a couple of choices.

I plumped for the char-grilled baby chicken, served with a Greek salad and those some of the best chips I’ve ever tasted, crisply dusted with paprika but soft and succulent in the middle. The baked cheesecake for dessert was equally impressive, and quite a work of art with a scattering of fresh fruit, whirls of coffee cream and cinder-toffee biscuits.

I was also impressed by a glass of Saronsberg Provenance Shiraz Tulbagh at R67 a glass. Not cheap, but not the Sandton-stupid prices you might fear here.

Kashew offers all-day dining plus a selection of cakes and coffees to enjoy in the main restaurant or outside on the deck. There’s a skinny strip of swimming pool on the deck too and a decent gym on the second floor.

The Catalyst opened on August 2 after long delays caused by the fluctuating Covid lockdowns, and the friendly employees are clearly delighted to finally be working. They’re all so friendly and happy to see you that you feel special just by being there.

The décor is a little less cheerful, following the current hotel zeitgeist of grey, white and black, and personally I’ll love to splash a lot more colour around. Its 206 bedrooms are designed to be comfortable for longer stays as well as quick visits, with an open-plan area of a kitchenette, dining area and lounge, a bedroom with Restonic beds and blackout curtains, and a bathroom with a bath and shower. Families can book interlinking rooms or a two-bedroom executive suite.

For business meetings its three conference rooms can seat up to 120, while its green credentials include solar panels to supply 90% of its power, and a generator strong enough to handle all the electrical needs. If the generator can keep the Jacuzzi and the sauna running too, that would be a brilliant place to soothe the stress of loadshedding.

The Catalyst Hotel at 100 Pretoria Avenue in Sandton is part of the Newmark Hotels, Reserves, Lodges & Residences portfolio. For details see Email: Tel: 010-110-1100

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