Nelson Mandela Square epitomizes the South African high life. Situated in the hub of elite Sandton, the square was originally simply named Sandton Square. It was later re-named in tribute of one of South Africa’s most iconic figures, namely Nelson Mandela. In recognition of its namesake, a statue of Mandela was erected and has since become a favourite meeting point for visitors.
Somewhat paradoxically, the square has been imbued with a distinct European ambience and features a number of elaborate frescoes and finishes. Likewise the majority of the 93 outlets which make up the square are of the European persuasion. The shops consist primarily of exclusive jewellery stores, art galleries, fashion outlets, flower shops and boutique eateries-all of which tend to err on the expensive side. A theatre and library complete this continental cocktail.
Bally shoes, YDE, Krem’s shoes, Gucci and Occhiali sunglasses are but a few of the designer stores selling their wares to card carrying fashionistas. Feel like blowing the budget? The gleaming Apple store is guaranteed to put a significant (but oh so appealing) dent in your pocket. If you have a spot of penance to pay then Brown’s Diamond’s, Charles Grieg, Emmanuel’s Goldsmiths and Magnum Diamonds will put you back in the good books.
Window shopping and swiping plastic is hard work. Slake your thirst at Lattelicious, Caffe Della Salute or sit down to a hot (or cold) cuppa at Exclusive Books. Book purchases aren’t mandatory however it is a rare person indeed who can resist the power of these word peddlers.
Stylish restaurants abound and deliver a world of taste sensations. Ghirardellis, Go Sushi, Piatto Mediterranean Kitchen, Picollo Mondo, The Butcher Shop and Grill, Trumps International Grill house, Montego Bay Seafood and Sushi Bar, Wangthai and Pappas on the Square are just a few of the eateries which make up this eclectic mix. Of course a trip to the square wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the decadent ice-cream bar Baglios so make sure you leave room for dessert!
The jewel in the crown of Nelson Mandela Square is the Michaelangelo Hotel. The hotel features 218 deluxe and superior rooms as well as 22 Premier and Executive suites, all of which reflect an elegant renaissance style. The hotel also hosts two Presidential Suites each of which have a private dining room and lounge as well as a 24-hour butler service for the more discerning guest.
It is clear that Nelson Mandela Square really does have it all and is well worth the visit. So even if you can only afford a cup of coffee, do yourself a favour, sit down at one of the café’s and just watch the world go by.