Johannesburg might have two faces – one glitzy and the other gritty – but it has always been a melting pot of cultures where Buddhist temples, African craft markets, Turkish mosques, and flashy Western shopping malls each enjoy pride of place. When gold was discovered here in 1886, the city rapidly grew from a small village into South Africa’s largest city and earned itself the nickname, ‘Egoli,’ which means the ‘city of gold.’ Since then, people from all over Africa and the world have come seeking fortune and have carved out a place for themselves in this rich, multicultural and diverse city. Whether you are after a cultural experience, peaceful retreat or a wild night out, a 5 star hotel in Johannesburg will not disappoint.
Beauty under the African skies: The best 5 star stays in Johannesburg
Inner City & Maboneng: Art markets & Urban revival
Meaning ‘place of light’ in seSotho, Maboneng attracts a young creative and a chic, art-loving crowd. Located on the eastern edge of Joburg’s central business district, Maboneng is one of the first developments that happened in the inncer city neighborhood and has become a creative hub with a mix of coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries and chic boutiques and a diverse, vibrant and inclusive atmosphere. Arts on Main, with its renovated atrium of galleries, shops and cafés, is the cultural hub of this trendy area and the best place to have a Sunday brunch or enjoy local produce and African cuisine. Discover the latest and greatest in African design from a variety of disciplines at the Museum of African Design, which has rotating exhibitions every four months, or watch an indie film at the Bioscope before sipping on a sun downer at the green eco oasis of the Living Room, a rooftop venue boasting unrivalled views of the city’s skyline. Weekend markets are a huge part of the cultural fabric of Johannesburg, and you’ll find artisan markets in every corner of the city. In Maboneng, you’ll find everything from fresh food stalls to vintage clothing. Here you can also pick up the perfect souvenir of your trip in the form of traditional beaded necklaces or handcrafted local artwork.
Melville, Greenside & Rosebank: Hip eateries & Green spaces
Johannesburg is one of the greenest cities in the world, and when seen from above, it resembles a veritable urban forest. In November, when the jacaranda trees are in bloom, the city bursts into color turning all its neighborhoods purple. The leafy suburbs of Greenside and Rosebank are a food lover’s paradise. Exceptional local produce, celebrity chefs, and contemporary dining rooms boasting spectacular views come together to provide the ultimate fine dining experience in gastronomies located here. Adjacent Melville has long been a bohemia enclave attracting a younger crowd thanks to its proximity to the University of Johannesburg. Boutiques, eateries, markets, and cafés line the leafy, tree-lined streets just a stone’s throw away from Joburg’s two most popular green spaces, the Botanical Gardens, and Zoo Lake. A vast refuge for nature lovers, the Botanical Gardens also houses Emmarentia Dam which attracts water sports enthusiasts at the weekends. This is the perfect parkland haven to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Sandton & Outskirts: Luxury shopping & Safari parks
Housing the Sandton Convention Centre and Johannesburg Stock Exchange, a 5 star hotel in Sandton puts you right in the heart of one of the wealthiest suburbs in South Africa surrounded by luxurious estates and upscale shopping precincts. For a swanky shopping experience, head to Hyde Park Corner or Sandton City to browse an abundance of local and international designer stores at your leisure. The 6-meter tall bronze statue of the former president and iconic statesman, Nelson Mandela located in Nelson Mandela Square, a popular shopping and entertainment centre, is a must see whereas foodies and gourmet lovers will be delighted by the Organic and Natural Market in Bryanston. A 5 star hotel in Sandton is a great base from which to explore the abundance of safari parks and game reserves around Johannesburg, like Dinokeng Game Reserve and Pilanesberg Game Reserve to name but a few. The surrounding safari parks will satisfy daytrippers and discerning travelers who want to experience the African bushveld up close and personal without venturing too far from the city as most of them are a mere two-hour drive away. The Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves, a UNESCO listed archaeological area, will captivate archaeological buffs and anyone interested in our common African ancestry. This is where many significant fossil finds were made, including that of ‘Mrs Ples’ and ‘Little Foot’ and the first stone tools used 2,6 million years ago. As impressive as the Lascaus paintings in France are, the numerous cave paintings, etchings and rock art found in the Sterkfontein Caves in South Africa are more varied and at 27,000 years, much older, making this a World Heritage Site not to be missed.