With an expanded urban area of more than 1,000 square kilometers, Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city and the continent’s financial hub. It’s an absolutely massive place and with attractions and accommodation quite spread out, traveling here can feel intimidating at first. The city center is where many top attractions, such as the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, are located, but it has not historically been the safest area and accommodations in the downtown area are still limited. Most tourist hotels and guesthouses, in all price ranges, are located in the northern suburbs, which are split into several neighborhoods – such as Sandton, Rosebank, Melville, Melroseand Norwood. Each is home to its own shopping center (where much of the city’s food scene takes place), as well as some restaurants and shopping areas. South of the city center is the township of Soweto, where the student uprisings against apartheid of 1976 began, and most travelers visit on a half-day tour, although there are a burgeoning number of family-run hotels here.
Where to stay for luxury
Johannesburg has luxury homes of all shapes and sizes, styles and locations. If you want to stay closer to the city center, check out the chic Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg. It features modern, elegant rooms, most of which have balconies or terraces. There are also five on-site restaurants and two heated outdoor pools plus a spa.
One of the best hotels in Jo’burg, The Residence Boutique Hotel is another luxury option. The boutique hotel is also just a few kilometers north of the city center, but in a different suburb. In a modern white and glass building, the rooms are sleekly decorated with furnished balconies and freestanding baths in the baths. For true luxury, book one of the suites with private hot tubs.
In the ultra chic Melrose Arch shopping area, the African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel has a great location. The opulent property also features chic rooms with exposed brick walls and light wooden floors. Also on the manicured grounds is an outdoor swimming pool, with beach bars and a refined restaurant.
Where to stay for the best value
In the lively Melville neighborhood, which is home to many restaurants and shops, Motel Mi Pi CHi is one of the best-value sleeps in the city. Rooms are spacious and clean, with mini-fridges and comfortable beds. The staff is friendly. The communal kitchen is another plus, although there are restaurants within walking distance.
For apartment-style sleep, the Genesis All-Suite Hotel gets high marks for value, cleanliness, safety and style. The suites are large with modern decor and a full kitchen. On the first few floors of the hotel building there are also some shops, including a supermarket.
Another good choice in a solid location is the Garden Court Milpark. It is located just east of Melville (a quick Uber ride) and offers basic but clean rooms. The staff here are professional, friendly and willing to help you with recommendations for what to do and where to eat.
If you are traveling with the family, Premiere Classe Suites are one of the most affordable options. There’s room to spread out here, with bedrooms separated from the living space. The full kitchen for preparing meals is another advantage – especially if you are traveling with small children. The Melrose location is also safe, and there is free parking and Wi-Fi.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Most of the budget sleeping options in Johannesburg are hostels rather than hotels, which usually have options for private rooms with shared or en-suite bathrooms. For hotels, the choices are more limited. However, SUN1 Berea is an option. It offers simple budget rooms that are clean and functional.
The Mercure Johannesburg Midrand hotel is another choice in this price range. It offers clean and quiet rooms, friendly staff and good security. The Wi-Fi is fast and there is a restaurant next door.
Where to stay for romance
For a stylish, modern romantic stay in Melrose, check out The Peech Hotel. With a lush garden and outdoor pool, tucked away in a private setting on a leafy street, it feels like a retreat from the city. The boutique hotel has just 16 rooms, each spacious and filled with all modern comforts, and decorated in a playful, contemporary style. The beds are comfortable and there are rain showers in the bathrooms. The on-site restaurant is one of the warmest dining spots in Jo’burg.
The Monarch Hotel is an elegant and romantic boutique hotel in an old post office in Rosebank which retains its original 1930s colonial charm. The location, next to the shopping center nearby, is also convenient. There are only 12 rooms.
Also in the Rosebank suburb is 54 on Bath. This refined hotel features stylish rooms with soft fabrics and wallpaper walls. Each room has an espresso machine and views of the garden or city. Book one of the suites for a balcony. There is also an on-site restaurant that serves international cuisine and an afternoon tea service.