Where to Stay in Johannesburg: Best Areas & Hotels

Written by Carri Wilbanks
Updated Jan 3, 2022
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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, whether for families, couples, or solo adventurers 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 in Johannesburg for Luxury

Johannesburg city street
Johannesburg city street

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.

The Houghton Hotel, Spa, Wellness & Golf recently opened as part of an upmarket residential complex that also includes an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at the Houghton Golf Club. The 5-star hotel is a grand affair set on acres of sprawling parkland.

Besides swanky rooms and suites, this lifestyle resort also hosts four heated swimming pools, restaurants, a FitBar gym, and a posh spa. If you are traveling with kids, the property is family friendly and offers everything from a kids' pool to babysitting.

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 in Johannesburg for the Best Value

Downtown view
Downtown view

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 in Johannesburg on a Budget

Aerial view of Johannesburg
Aerial view of Johannesburg

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 in Johannesburg for Romance

Jacaranda trees in bloom
Jacaranda trees in bloom

For a stylish, modern, romantic stay in Melrose, check out The Peech Boutique 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 Clico Boutique Hotel in the Rosebank suburb is set on a quiet street. It is located close to a shopping mall and just one kilometer from the Rosebank train station where you can catch a train to OR Tambo International Airport. Set inside a Cape Dutch building, it has just nine elegant modern rooms each with a different look. Some have balconies and one has a kitchenette.

Breakfast is complimentary, and guests can also have other meals at the on-site restaurant. There is a garden area with a swimming pool surrounded by sun loungers for relaxing after a day exploring the city.

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.

Where to Stay in Johannesburg for Families

Zebra in a nature reserve on the outskirts of Johannesburg
Zebra in a nature reserve on the outskirts of Johannesburg

If you want a five-star sleep, try The Winston Hotel in the hip Rosebank suburb, which has a wonderful weekend market. This hotel is an elegant affair that mixes colonial-era and modern African styles in the beautifully appointed rooms and suites. Amenities include a chauffeur-driven vehicle that will take you around the Johannesburg metro area, as well as an outdoor pool and a European restaurant. Breakfast is also included in the rate.

It is hard to believe the Thaba Eco Hotel is just 10 kilometers from the city center, as this great family hotel in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve feels worlds away. It is a great spot to recover from jet lag and has space for the kids to play and opportunities to spot local wildlife and birds. There are family rooms and suites available, which are comfy and decorated in modern South African style. On-site amenities include a restaurant, coffee shop, spa with a meditation trail, and a swimming pool.

Westpoint Executive Suites is a good-value family sleep that is still quite posh. The location in the heart of Sandton is convenient to attractions like Nelson Mandela Square and the glitzy Sandton City Mall. The hotel features serviced apartment-style suites that come with full kitchens and washer/dryers. On-site amenities include an Olympic-sized swimming pool and outdoor barbecue facilities.

Finally, families should check out the mid-range Holiday Inn Johannesburg-Rosebank in Rosebank. It sits next to The Zone Shopping Mall, which is filled with restaurants and offers modern rooms and suites with large windows and appealing decor.

On-site amenities include an outdoor swimming pool with a terrace where snacks can be ordered, a gym, and a more formal restaurant. Babysitting services can be arranged. The property is also close to kid-friendly attractions like the Johannesburg Zoo - just a five-minute drive away.

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