A note from Michael Kewley
As we stand on the cusp of August, it is imperative for me to reflect on what has essentially been a continuation of Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa’s “butterfly years” – taking the property from a grand old dame, to an exquisite tour de force, not only from a South African perspective, but also internationally.
The property’s metamorphosis is, of course, one which has not happened overnight. A lot of blood, sweat and tears – and above all things: love – has gone into Fairlawns’ transformation. Not only do I stand indebted to my wonderful staff, but also to the guests of Fairlawns. Both those who have been visiting our lovely oasis in the city for years, even decades, and also those who have only recently discovered us.
When asked what has been the driving force and the inspiration behind the new winds of change that have been blowing across our property’s lawns during the last two years in particular, I don’t have to think too long. Everything I have achieved in life – both from a personal as well as a professional perspective – can be attributed to innate self-drive and a simple philosophy of “why not?”
This philosophy is also something which I have endeavoured to carry across to my staff; and I am proud to report that it is evident in the world-class, effortlessly friendly service we provide to all our guests; it is present in the smiles on our guest’s faces when we go over and above to make sure all their needs – however big or small – are tended to; it is visible in the amount of pure, unadulterated fun and care that has been taken to transform Fairlawns and it is tangible by each and every person who visits the property.
While Fairlawns has essentially been my “baby” for the last six years, my real passion for décor and renovating beautiful spaces has truly come to the fore in the last two years. I have solely been responsible for the ongoing, 25 million Rands’ worth of refurbishments, which have transformed our city resort hotel, into the eclectic jewel of Sandton that it is today. From reincarnating all 41 of the five-star hotel’s rooms into unique African and European destinations, to the award-winning Balinese spa at the bottom of the gardens (probably my favourite spot on the property), I am proud to say that I had a hand in every last detail.
Fairlawns also recently walked away as winners in the “Luxury Boutique Hotel” category as part of the World Luxury Hotel Awards, which is testament to the fact that we are a local establishment, with global appeal. Further to the latter, we recently collaborated with the vintage, highly sought after French champagne brand, Perrier-Jouët, to launch MUSE, our on-property boutique Champagne Bar and Courtyard for our guests to enjoy. This brand new addition is just one of the ways in which we want to thank our guests for their unwavering support, while at the same time paraphrasing Marie Antoinette when she said: “Let them drink champagne!”
Looking to the future, I am both excited and honoured to be surrounded, not only by the immense beauty that Fairlawns brings to Johannesburg and South Africa as a whole, but also by the talent that has recently joined our family of 104 valued employees.
Our new Executive Chef, Tyron Lumley, joined Fairlawns in May, bringing with him over 20 years of experience, various accolades, a world of travelling to all the corners of the earth, and heading up some of the world’s finest establishments. From an operational perspective, we recently welcomed Theunis Marais as Fairlawns’ Resident Manager. Not only will Theunis, or Theuni as he prefers to be called, be looking after the property from an operational and financial point of view, but he will also be responsible for the day-to-day running of the hotel, marketing and sales, and the hotel’s “health” in general. In addition, the Fairlawns family also welcomed Darren Napier, who will be looking after Johannesburg sales. With extensive sales experience, we are excited to have Darren as part of the Fairlawns family and believe that he will contribute a lot to the success of Fairlawns.
In closing, I would like to thank each and every person who has contributed to Fairlawns’ success over the years. It is full steam ahead for us towards the end of the year. After all, we have dreams to build, plans to action, smiles to create, and wings to grow.