This post was in collaboration with the hotel.

I had the privilege of staying at Sanctuary Mandela in Houghton recently, and I must say, it was such a beautiful experience.

Ever walked into a place and immediately got goosebumps because of the history it holds?

Well…that is exactly how I felt knowing that I was staying in a hotel that was once upon a time the house of Nelson Mandela.

This is the home Madiba lived in after he achieved freedom – where he hosted the likes of Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton which later became the headquarters of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Sanctuary Mandela is now the re-envisioned residency, a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel with 9 curated rooms and offers retreat spaces for reflection, healing and thought-provoking experiences inspired by Madiba’s life.

The design of the hotel stays true to the original building with a twist of a modern home. It felt more like a home away from home than a hotel, to be honest.

Sanctuary Mandela is surrounded by lush gardens and retreat spaces filled with perfectly-curated exhibits that evoke memories of the legend himself. Every corner of the hotel is envisaged to provide the perfect combination of tranquillity, heritage, and mindful experiences.

Here is what stood out for me:

  • Customer service

You are treated like royalty here from check-in to check-out. I expected nothing less from this hotel and they truly did deliver.

Sanctuary Mandela
  • Room

Each room is named which shares a little history of Nelson Mandela. I thought that was a very clever idea because each room has its own unique story to tell.

The design and interior of the rooms are simple yet beautiful. I fell in love with the bathroom and of course, that bathtub… I did spend a lot of time there. 😉

Sanctuary Mandela
  • It was the little things that made this an experience I will never forget.

It’s the little things that count for me like the fudge left on my bedside table in the evening and coffee in bed. The hotel is also filled with décor that holds history. Every piece of art displayed in this hotel has a story that makes your stay much more meaningful.

Sanctuary Mandela
  • Insights Restaurant

You have an opportunity to try out some of Madiba’s favourite cuisine. The restaurant is truly an experience on its own. There are so many delicious options to choose from on the menu that doesn’t disappoint.

The best part is Nelson Mandela’s personal chef Xolisa Ndoyiya carefully crafted the menu which offers a choice of delicious contemporary cuisine.

We had dinner and breakfast here and overall, everything was delicious.

A must try – The Ethiopian Kitfo starter which is a spicy beef tartare.

It was my first time trying a tartare. It left me salivating for more.

  • The tour

We got a tour of the premises where we learned a little more about Nelson Mandela. Like his letters from prison, the gifts he received from other influential people and more about his childhood and daily habits.

Sanctuary Mandela

Sanctuary Mandela celebrates Nelson Mandela and his legacy. It is worth a visit even if it is only for dinner to celebrate a special occasion.

Talking about special occasions, Insights Restaurant is hosting Christmas and New Year’s Eve lunch or dinner.


The menu for the day is inspired by Madiba’s favourite Christmas dishes as previously (and now) prepared by his long-time personal chef, Xoliswa Ndoyiya.

Date: 25 December 2021

Times: 12pm or 6pm

Cost: R950 per person

Sanctuary Mandela

New Year’s Eve:

A 5-course ‘Graham Beck’ paired tasting menu.

Cost: R1070 per person

Time: 18:00 for 18:30

Bookings are essential for both.

For any queries, please contact the restaurant on phone: +27 (0)10 035 0368 or email: [email protected].

For more info on the hotel or to book a room, visit