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Where to Stay in Johannesburg: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018

With the greater metropolitan area sprawling out to more than 1,000 square kilometers, Johannesburg is South Africa's largest city and the continent's financial hub. It's definitely a massive place, and with attractions and lodging quite spread out, travel here can feel intimidating at first. The city center is where many top attractions, like the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, are located, but it has historically not been the safest area, and lodging options downtown are still limited. The majority of tourist hotels and guesthouses, in all price brackets, are located in the Northern Suburbs, which are split into multiple neighborhoods - like Sandton, Rosebank, Melville, Melrose, and Norwood. Each is home to its own shopping mall (where much of the city's dining scene happens), as well as some restaurants and shopping streets. To the south of the city center is the township of Soweto, where the 1976 anti-apartheid student uprisings started, and most travelers visit on a half-day tour, although there are a burgeoning number of family guesthouses here.

Where to Stay for Luxury

Johannesburg city street
Johannesburg city street
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Johannesburg has luxury properties in all 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 include balconies or terraces. There are also five restaurants on-site and two heated outdoor pools plus a spa.

One of the best hotels in Jo'burg, The Residence Boutique Hotel is another luxurious option. The boutique hotel is also just a few kilometers north of the city center, but in a different suburb. Inside a modern white and glass building, rooms are sleek with furnished balconies and free-standing tubs in the baths. For true luxury, book one of the suites, which have private hot tubs.

In the ultra posh Melrose Arch shopping district, the African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel has a great location. The opulent property also features chic rooms with exposed brick walls and pale wood floors. Also on the manicured grounds is an outdoor pool, with cabanas, and a sophisticated restaurant.

Where to Stay for the Best Value

Downtown view
Downtown view
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In the vibrant Melville neighborhood, which is home to many restaurants and shops, Motel Mi Pi CHi is one of the best-value sleeps in town. 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 an apartment-style sleep, Genesis All-Suite Hotel gets high marks for value, cleanliness, safety, and style. The suites are large with modern decor and full kitchens. The first few floors of the hotel building are also home to some shops, including a grocery store.

Another good-value choice in a solid location is the Garden Court Milpark. It is just east of Melville (a quick Uber ride) and offers basic but clean rooms. The staff here is professional, friendly, and happy to assist with recommendations for what to do and where to eat.

If you're traveling with the family, one of the best-value options is Premiere Classe Suites. Here there is space to spread out, with bedrooms separate from the living space.The full kitchen for cooking meals is another perk - especially if you are traveling with small children. The location in Melrose is also safe, and there is free parking and Wi-Fi.

Where to Stay on a Budget

Aerial view of Johannesburg
Aerial view of Johannesburg
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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 baths. For hotels, choices are more limited. SUN1 Berea is one option, however. It offers basic budget rooms that are clean and functional.

The Mercure Johannesburg Midrand Hotel is another choice in this price bracket. It features clean and quiet rooms, friendly staff, and has good security. The Wi-Fi is fast and there is a restaurant located next door.

Where to Stay for Romance

Jacaranda trees in bloom
Jacaranda trees in bloom
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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 sanctuary in the city. The boutique property has just 16 rooms, each of which is spacious and filled with all the modern conveniences, as well as decorated in playful, contemporary style. Beds are comfortable and there are rainfall showers in the bathrooms. The on-site restaurant is one of the hottest eats in Jo'burg.

The Monarch Hotel is an elegant and romantic boutique property inside an old post office building in Rosebank that retains its original 1930s colonial charm. The location, next to the neighborhood mall, is also convenient. There are just 12 rooms.

Also in the Rosebank suburb is 54 on Bath. This sophisticated hotel features classy rooms with plush fabrics and wallpapered walls. Each comes with an espresso machine and either garden or city views. Book one of the suites for a balcony. There is also an on-site restaurant serving international fare and an afternoon tea service.

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