The Balalaika Hotel Sandton Hitting The Right Notes

Whilst Sandton came to a grinding halt and the Bull Run bronze sculpture bull remained the only figure on Maude Street, the Protea Hotel by Marriott Balalaika Hotel Sandton pushed through, emerging from the global pandemic with a fresh look and feel.


  • Situated in the heart of the Sandton CBD between modern high rises, this hotel offers guests a heritage experience.
  • It even boasts a bar showcasing key history facts that went down in the first bar in Sandton.
  • The Bull Run has been a popular Old School New York Style Steak House for over 20 years.
  • Visit for more stories.


On the doorstep of Africa’s largest stock exchange, this once countryside retreat is now in the heart of the financial hub of South Africa, having seen much change since its opening in the 1950’s. A popular getaway out of the then CBD Johannesburg, the Balalaika Hotel boasts an incredible amount of history, dating back to the early days of an emerging Sandton. Some of that history is still visible on the walls of the hotel, be it articles or photos of days gone by, and even in some of the architecture that provides clues to its past.


What many might not realise is that this upscale hotel in Sandton, is made up of two sections – the Balalaika and the Crown Court, each with its own lush, landscaped garden and sparkling swimming pool where guests relax, unwind and experience the timelessness and calm of a bygone era. Boasting 330 stylish guest rooms and suites, each accommodation is air-conditioned and has recently been tastefully refurnished in a contemporary, yet comfortable design, reflecting the neighbourhood and city it calls home.


The recently renovated rooms at the Balalaika Hotel Sandton offer a fresh, contemporary urban feel in the heart of Sandton. Image: The Sandton Times

Having seen parts of Sandton rise and fall, and then rise again, the Balalaika Hotel Sandton is centrally located, directly connected to The MARC shopping centre and a brisk walk to Nelson Mandela Square and Sandton City, passing the street traders on Maude Street and Africa’s tallest skyscraper, The Leonardo.


It’s a popular stopover for a few airlines cabin crew, who make the most of the quieter parts of the hotel after a long-haul flight and equally have access to some of the hottest bars, restaurants and nightlife in the heart of Sandton.


Another institution is the adjoining Bull Run Sandton restaurant, which in July 2018 reopened its doors after an extensive R20-million refurbishment. Award-winning interior designer Tristan Du Plessis created a masterfully designed experience that is both warm and welcoming, with a clever nod to the New York Stock Exchange and the classic New York grill house. Custom light fittings, plush furniture and handmade wall tiles now contribute to the comfortable and evocative space directly on Africa’s very own Wall Street. Equipped with its own private cellar for the wine connoisseur and a private dining room that is bookable on request, the Bull Run Sandton is a popular dining spot, especially for those enjoying a succulent cut of meat.


Fabulous bars and spaces in and around the Balalaika Hotel Sandton prove to be a popular hangout for cabin crew and travellers alike. Image: The Sandton Times

The recently renovated Conservatory offers a paradisiacal environment with bright white walls and touches of green, free flowing to the outside terrace, overlooking the beautiful manicured gardens of the Balalaika Hotel Sandton. The menu is uncomplicated with an emphasis on freshness and is host to the daily hotel breakfast spread.


Coffee on Twenty is the hotels express coffee bar, crafting the finest speciality coffees by a man who loves coffee so much, he even had the magic formula tattooed on his body. Roasted and brewed in-house, the Balalaika Hotel Sandton barista is a coffee artisan with a true love for the dark gold.


On a continual quest to provide local explorers a next level coffee experience, be sure to pay him a visit for your next coffee fix. Image: The Sandton Times

One stop not to be missed is a drink at the Lords Bar, a sophisticated and intimate after-dinner retreat for lingering over a fine Cognac or single-malt. Reminiscent of a 1920’s Speakeasy with plush leather and colonial style finishes the Lords Bar is a warm, cosy and exclusive spot, away from the hustle and bustle of greater Sandton


Nostalgia or purely a prime location, the Balalaika Hotel Sandton is an institution within the richest square mile in Africa, having stood the test of time and a global pandemic. For those looking to experience a piece of Sandton history, it’s certainly the right address to check into.


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Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


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