These are the coolest hotels in Johannesburg

These are the coolest hotels in Johannesburg

The City of Gold's winning stays


The pool at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff

Pierre de Villiers

A South African writer with over 20 years' experience, Pierre began his career in Cape Town. Words in The Times, Culture Trip, Vera, and more.

As you’d expect from a place dubbed the ‘New York of Africa’ the hotel scene in Johannesburg (Joburg or Jozi to her friends) is achingly cool. From robot helpers to arty rooftop bars, a stay in South Africa’s City of Gold is never dull.

Radisson Red Johannesburg Rosebank / Image: Patrick King

The Radisson's epic rooftop / Image: Patrick King

Radisson Red Johannesburg Rosebank

Slick American design meets vibrant African style at the latest Radisson Red to land in the Rainbow Nation. As is the norm with the franchise, the hip factor has been dialed up to 11, from the artwork perched above the front door (a mischievous red figure) to the stunning wallpaper featuring huge, stylishly dressed models in the rooms. Like the Radisson Red’s sister hotel in Cape Town, the rooftop bar is eye-poppingly great, with its orange tiled pool, bright artwork and dreamy views over Rosebank.

Even the hallways are cool at Hallmark House

Hallmark House

Want to make sure your hotel’s cool credentials are in order? Then get David Adjaye on the phone. The Ghanaian-British starchitect has done a fantastic job at Hallmark House, repurposing the former diamond polishing workshop and warehouse into a retro-urban industrial space, complete with a 70s style bar in the reception area and colourful tub chairs in the rooms. Choose a suite with a balcony and you can ease into a funky hammock seat and look out over the increasingly trendy Maboneng area.

You can't beat the views from the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff

Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff

Imitating a hillside village, the chic Westcliff sits pretty on the rocky Witwatersrand scarp. If the hustle and bustle of Jozi gets too much, retire to one of nine peaceful villas set among a network of gardens, courtyards and fountains before hitting the hotel’s Apres Spa – home to the city’s only outdoor spa lounge that looks out over the treetops. At night take a glass elevator up to Flames restaurant for some seasonally inspired dishes.

Stay in The Saxon's Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite / Image: Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa

The Saxon

One of the most beloved boutique hotels in Joburg, The Saxon once acted as a refuge for Nelson Mandela – the late, great president using the suites and 10-acre grounds here to work on his inspirational autobiography Long Walk to Freedom after being released from prison. You can follow in the footsteps of greatness by staying in his Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite and even sit in the zebra-covered office chair he favoured. An enormous swimming pool and two-storey spa further adds to the appeal of an iconic hotel.

best House

Outside The Winston Hotel

The Winston Hotel is pretty suite

The Winston Hotel

Yes, this award-winning boutique hotel has beautifully designed rooms with themes like Royal Safari and Le Bijou and a pool lined with (slightly disturbing) severed-head sculptures, but the most remarkable feature at the Winston is its utterly charming checkered courtyard. A little slice of Andalusia in Africa, the space comes with an arched colonnade backdrop and is ideal for dining under the stars. And what a feast it is, whether you go for the slow-cooked springbok shanks or a rack of Karoo lamb.


The robot at Hotel Sky

Hotel Sky

The Terminator will check you in now. Well, not quite but the cutting-edge Hotel Sky does employ a trio of robots to make your stay more convenient. Lexi, Micah and Ariel look after room service, provide travel information and can drag up to 300kg to the suites. As eye-catching as the robot helpers is the showstopper of a lobby with an animal-print ceiling, huge chandeliers, a golden counter, and dramatic wallpaper with oversized flowers. The kaleidoscopic design is recreated in a bar area that borders an outdoor pool and deck, ideal for soaking up the African sun.

Peace and quiet at Sanctuary Mandela / Image: Sanctuary Mandela

Sanctuary Mandela

Set in Nelson Mandela’s primary place of residence in the suburb of Houghton, Sanctuary Mandela is just that – a tranquil retreat surrounded by lush garden that’s perfect for quiet contemplation and for celebrating the life of one the most important leaders of all time. Each of the nine rooms here are dedicated to Madiba’s personality and feature photos and letters from important points of his life. You can even eat like Mandela with the hotel’s menu based on his favourite dishes as prepared by his longtime chef.

Daze House is more than just a hotel

Daze House

Not just a boutique hotel with lovely hilltop views, but also an event space, art gallery and shop, Daze House is a creative hub like no other in Joburg. Once you’ve settled in, check out the luxury African artisan products that are for sale, mingle with upcoming artist that are part of the resident Kin Watu art project or take a cooking class to learn about local cuisine. Popular among African travellers who want to connect with their diaspora while staying in the city, Daze House is true home away from home.