The Palazzo Hotel is old school palatial luxury.
The Palazzo Hotel is old school palatial luxury.
An expansive suite at the Palazzo Hotel in greater Johannesburg, South Africa.
An expansive suite at the Palazzo Hotel in greater Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Daddy, are we here to see the queen?”

I wasn’t surprised so much by my two-and-a-half-year-old’s command of the language. She’s advanced. I was surprised by her appreciation of her surroundings. We were indeed in a palace of sorts, The Palazzo hotel to be precise, which means palace in Italian. She’s young, but a little girl who’s daddy’s princess knows a good thing when she sees one.

There we were in the palatial Palazzo, feeling like millionaires (but knowing better). We were guests of Tsogo Sun, and their magnificent hospitality. It starts with the small things, a welcome note on a card from guest relations manager Deon Prinsloo; then a tray of chocolates and dried fruit just to get the blood flowing while the kids swirled around the room in fits of unbridled joy. Maybe it was the sugar from the chocolates, but they had space to monkey around and energy to burn, baby.

People with children aged anywhere between 2 and 8 will at this point understand the need to drink occasionally to take the edge off, and as if Tsogo had read our minds, the wife and I spotted a complimentary bottle of red wine posing on the cabinet. Without speaking we reached for it, and settled into our weekend of leisure and pleasure at Montecasino.

For starters, the king size bed makes an awesome trampoline, as my kids discovered. (We never claimed our kids were civilised.) Seriously though, it was like sleeping on a cloud inside a palace inside an oasis.

The wood and fabric décor was classy and yet understated with earth tones of brown and cream. None of that uber chic, ultra-modern, neon-coloured throw cushions that glow in the dark. No, this was old school luxury, the kind that royalty is accustomed to, and the kind that makes us paupers feel privileged.

The bathrooms were exquisite, with brass and marble finishings. I literally had enough space to do some morning exercise in the shower. No more water restrictions in Jozi makes anything possible.

Adjacent to our bedroom was a living area, complete with big screen TV and extra-large couches. We were made for this life.

As I parted the curtains to look outside, I could see the popular bird gardens, a perfect time killer with the kids. Nearby the glittering swimming pool lay motionless in the afternoon light.

As I gazed towards the horizon I was reminded that I was in the middle of the concrete jungle - Fourways - but in the oasis that is Montecasino, another world exists.

We know all too well about Cape Town’s gems and the allure of the ocean and white beaches, but what about a getaway in Johannesburg, Africa’s most cosmopolitan city? Too often the City of Gold is overlooked as a holiday destination, but African travellers are learning there is more to South African holidays than the coast.

Luxury hotels like Palazzo have raised the bar when it comes to service and hospitality.

To while away the time, we took in the entertainment on offer at Montecasino; the entertainment centre, the restaurants and the cinema. Sun Square overlooking the Piazza is also a well-priced place to stay if you’re on a smaller budget.

There was no reason to leave Montecasino or the Palazzo for the next few days. My princess was in her palace, and daddy and mummy were feeling like royalty, and reluctant to abdicate.