Johannesburg

The Leonardo

  75 Maude St, Sandton Central ,   Sandton          +27 87 536 0000     18 Feb 2021
The 234-metre tall The Leonardo in Sandton Central, Johannesburg
The 234-metre tall The Leonardo in Sandton Central, Johannesburg
Photo by Legacy Hotels & Resorts
You can't miss seeing The Leonardo. Located high on Sandton Central's steep ridge the building is visible from across Joburg's northern suburbs, especially at night when it's lit up with colour. Among Africa's tallest buildings, The Leonardo dominates the Sandton skyline – a 234-metre tall, 55-storey structure that houses 241 apartments, a Legacy hotel complex and the spectacular Aurum restaurant and pool deck. Owned by Legacy who have a number of hotel and retail properties across Sandton, The Leonardo took more than four years to build at an estimated cost of R2-billion. While the building's height dominates rather than its architectural flair, it's well worth a visit as much of what makes it extraordinary is within The Leonardo. 

Contemporary art at The Leonardo

Aside, of course, from its immense height, one of the most distinctive features of The Leonardo is its astonishing art collection. Over 100 artists were commissioned to create works especially for the building and The Leonardo contains almost 1,500 unique artworks by African contemporary artists. At the entrance (where you'll be greeted by Sandton's most stylishly dressed doormen) look up at the immense chandelier work titled The Ancestor, a giant metal swirl constructed from half a ton of glittering copper, brass and stainless steel, a reference to the City of Gold, the origins of Johannesburg. 
 
Mural by Mbongeni Buthelezi at The Leonardo

Inside the grand lobby an impressive floor-to-ceiling mural by Mbongeni Buthelezi greets you at the entrance and stretches across a voluminous area leading up to the hotel reception area. Mbongeni Buthelezi's signature style of heating plastic to create an oil-painting like effect (you see more of his work in the lobby of sister property, the Da Vinci Hotel Hotel and Suites Nelson Mandela Square) represents a slice of South African history.

Artworks abound – There are specially commissioned pieces in the elevators and stairwells, inside the conferencing rooms and all of the apartment suites managed by The Leonardo. Among the many notable large-scale works that feature prominently in the reception area are sculptural works by artists Bronwyn Lace, an incredibly intricate hedge-like wooden sculpture by artist Winston Luthuli and some breathtaking textile works. Call The Leonardo to book a guided art tour of the building's contemporary art collection. It's a great way to start your visit for drinks or a meal at Aurum restaurant. 

Serviced apartment stays at The Leonardo

The Leonardo contains some 241 apartments, including a super-sized penthouse apartment set across the top three floors (rumoured to be Africa's most expensive apartment).
 
Epic Sandton views from the bedroom in one of The Leonardo hotel apartments

Visitors can rent serviced apartments for short or long stays managed through Legacy Hotels. There's a choice of expansive one or two-bed apartment suites (located on the upper floors of the building), with fully equipped kitchens, en-suite bathrooms, and of course spectacular views. Breakfast is served in Leo's Lounge or you can opt to pick up something from the deli counter to enjoy in your apartment.

In 2022 ten floors of hotel rooms managed by the Legacy Hotel group are also set to open. Occupying floors 39 to 49 of the building, the views will be spectacular.

Dining at The Leonardo

Aurum restaurant at The Leonardo

Among The Leonardo's numerous dining destinations are Leo’s Lounge, Bar and Deli Kitchen, the swanky restaurant and wine bar Aurum on the 7th floor roof terrace and a more casual wood-fired restaurant-bar Octo Bar (also on the 7th floor).

The 250 capacity Aurum Restaurant is one of the most glamorous restaurant settings in Sandton. As soon as you step inside the cathedral-like space with its vaulted ceilings you'll be struck by the ribbons of gold mesh that spool out above you. The restaurant opens out onto the roof terrace overlooking a 25-metre pool. This is also where the spa is located. 

The light-filled Aurum is a great stop in the day for a casual brunch or lunch, while dinner presents an opportunity to dress up and enjoy lavishly plated contemporary cuisine and cocktails (for more on what to expect at Aurum read our restaurant review here). The pool deck is perfect for afternoon drinks, and if the mood strikes, an extended stay over to lie by the poolside. Enquire about details with your Aurum booking. 
 
The pool deck on the 7th floor of The Leonardo

Meetings at The Leonardo

Located in the heart of the Sandton Central business district (the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is barely 200 metres away) The Leonardo has always had business in mind so offers superb conferencing and events facilities. The largest event space can seat up 250 people banquet style and we are told there is even space to drive a car around (a super-sized service lift was installed specially).

We spent a day working at The Leonardo. There's also a choice of smaller boardrooms that can host up to seven people (ideal for smaller team meetings and business discussions) and larger meeting rooms seating between 20 and 30 people. We found the boardrooms to be spacious and the accompanying tech (including audio/visual equipment) top-notch. The dedicated service that comes with the meeting rooms makes for a seamless experience, with refreshments appearing almost as soon as we'd thought about asking for them.

The Legacy Balance Spa at The Leonardo

In addition to apartment hotel rooms, a range of dining options, the rooftop pool and a variety of meeting spaces, The Leonardo also (of course) has its own wellness and beauty spa located next to the pool on the 7th floor deck. 

Book a visit to The Leonardo

To enquire about hosting a meeting or event, or book an art tour or an apartment stay, call +27 87 536 0000 or find out more online at theleonardo.co.za.

Where is The Leonardo: The Leonardo is located at 75 Maude Street (close to the corner of 5th Street) in Sandton Central. The Sandton Gautrain is two blocks away at the corner of 5th Street and Rivonia Road.

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