Layovers in Johannesburg SA

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Accomodations, Africa, Johannesburg, SA, Restaurant, Review, Story

Intercontinental Johannesburg

IMG_4760This hotel is only a five minute walk from the OR Tambo Airport. It has a total of 138 rooms and two suites. Guests have access to meeting rooms, free wifi, a gym, a spa an indoor heated pool as well as an award-winning quill restaurant.

All rooms are designed elegantly. The Presidential Suite is not only used for VIP Clients, but also as a good venue for business meetings or small intimate functions. The bedroom in the Presidential Suite is similar to the Executive Rooms. It’s the extended lounge and receiving area that adds to the grandeur. The couch in the lounge area can also be converted to a bed if you are a family of four.

Executive Rooms occupy corners of the hotel providing impressive views and ample natural light. Standard rooms on the other hand make up the rest middle of the building with views of either the airport, the runway or the highway. Price wise, the difference is not substantial. All rooms are provided with safes, blow dryers, umbrellas, slippers, bathrobes as well as an iron and ironing board.

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Quill’s, the hotel’s in-house restaurant has earned much recognition for specializing in exotic dishes like springbok, warthog, kudu and crocodile, paired with outstanding South African wines. Quill’s Bar serves an excellent variety of cocktails, local wines, ciders and beers, as well as an all-day snack menu. Here, guests can relax and mingle in the distinctive atmosphere of the restaurant. The bar is an ideal meeting place for local and international business executives and travelers. Our guests particularly enjoy sundowners and dining al fresco on our terrace, metres from the airport yet miles from the fuss.

For the more budget conscious traveller, there are other hotels that are also close by the airport – The Southern Sun, City Lodge and Protea OR Tambo. Within the vicinity there are many activities to plan such as a day tour to Lion Park, a cultural village, the Apartheid Museum etc. or you can easily hop into a Gautrain to Sandton in 15 minutes.

With only our carry-ons to schlep, we headed to the duty free mall at Terminal A, which we discovered had some interesting stuff to do:

  • Have an African meal at African Place
  • Try an excellent espresso drink at Caffé Ritazza
  • Browse uniquely African music at CNA
  • Shop for homewares at Indaba Lifestyle
  • Find safari wear and souvenirs at Out of Africa
  • Explore a slew of tomes at Exclusive Books (including some that have only been published in Africa)
  • While seated in a forward-facing ergonomic chair, get vigorous massages from the no-nonsense young South African women at Letsema

Peech Hotel, Johannesburg

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The Peech is an eco-friendly, chic boutique hotel that recently won the title of Best City Boutique Hotel in Africa at the World Boutique Hotel Awards in London. It’s half an hour from the airport and ten minutes away from Sandton. There are a total of 16 rooms (two superior doubles above the main house, 12 garden rooms and two garden suites). The rooms come equipped with king-sized beds and rain-showers. Wi-fi and iPod sound systems are complimentary. There is a bistro restaurant, a champagne bar, a boardroom, an events space and an adjacent gym as well.

It is an ideal businessman’s hotel as the size and facilities are just right for transit professionals. We stayed in one of the garden rooms on the second floor. The decor was very chic and elegant – comfortable bed, great bathroom (loved the turquoise tiling, great bath and shower). The staff were really friendly and it had the personal, welcoming feel of a boutique hotel. Breakfast was delicious. I would heartily recommend this place to those who prefer a more personalized, warmer ambiance in an upscale suburb.

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The concierge booked us a service to Sandton City – a fancy shopping center just like Beverly Hills.  This mall has everything, from chain stores to amazing boutique stores. There were also movie theaters, great restaurants and a food court with a large variety of food outlets. The tallest landmark in the area is the neo-rococco Michelangelo Hotel, which soars beside the state-of-the-art Sandton Convention Centre and an enormous mall called Nelson Mandela Square. At the Square you’ll find both a huge statue of South Africa’s political hero as well as more shopping and dining opportunities.

For dinner, we made reservations at the Butcher Shop & Grill.  If you take your meat seriously, you’ll find what you’ve been looking for at this restaurant. There is an in-house butchery offering customized butchering as well as block men cutting and preparing your meat. The meat is aged to perfection to create delicacies such as thick sliced leg chops and rosemary deboned legs of lamb, The place offers an unparalleled taste adventure. Rump, fillet, sirloin, rib-eye, T-bone and prime rib are wet aged for approximately 21 days, and then paired perfectly with a wine selection from both their wine cellar and their vintage cellar.


Service was very efficient and so in no time. We enjoyed our appetizers of a complimentary sausage platter and steamed mussels in light cream garlic sauce. Things got serious when it came to meat:  We both ordered the Grass Fed Argentinian Rib Eye which was so succulent!

There is a variety of traditional beef cuts – and for the more adventurous, there are many unusual dishes to choose from. Steak Tartar, Wagyu, Australian Rump, Lamb Shank, Lamb Chops of the Day, Slow-roasted Lamb and Chilli Pork Spare ribs are guaranteed to be served succulent, tender and tasty. There are also seafood and poultry dishes such as Scottish Salmon, Tiger Prawns and Langoustinesl. ‘Tastes of Africa’ takes one through a heady taste journey, with Ostrich Fillet, Game of the Day and Venison Pie.

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