Updated on March 23, 2016
After our wonderful stay at the African Pride in Melrose Arch, we decided to switch it up a bit and go more into downtown Joburg. Next stop, the Protea Parktonian All-Suite!
While in Johannesburg we used Uber almost exclusively. It was fast, cheap, safe and convenient. The Uber from Melrose Arch to the Parktonian cost us $14.50 total. And with the exchange rate even better now, it’d be closer to $13. Can’t be that for a 7 mile trip into downtown.
Immediately we could tell this hotel had a very different feel – but not necessarily in a bad way! Just being in the middle of the city not being the posh getaway like the last hotel.
The hotel is technically located in Braamfontein, located just north of the downtown city center.
It has a gated entrance manned by security and a welcoming and friendly front desk.
We arrived in the late afternoon on a Sunday and the hotel was pretty quiet. The bottom floor/lobby of the hotel consist of the on-site restaurant (The Orchard), a bar (Meridians Bar), another eating conference-type room (Meridian Room), two actual meeting/conference rooms and a souvenir shop.
We spent one of our evenings hitting up the Meridians Bar. When hotel bar beers aren’t even $2 a piece and the appetizers are only $4-5, you’re going to have a good night.
The first afternoon at the hotel we had the huge lunch buffet at The Orchard – it was solid. It was about $16 total, which, for a big buffet hotel lunch with seafood, pasta and meats, is awesome. We also had breakfast there another day. The words “chicken dish” stick in my mind, because that was the main dish, but it was actually pretty tasty and cheap.
Check in was a breeze with the help from Lydia at the front desk. We were given room 2310 on the 23rd floor.
Now, the room is very, very bare bones. There’s not a ton going on in the room and there were very little amenities. But honestly, we weren’t in the room much other than to sleep.
Somehow I missed a picture of the tiny bedroom. My bad.
The room had a big deck with nice views looking to the west/southwest.
Rest of the hotel
Pat and I played the elevator game here a couple times – it was awesome! Basically what you do is wait in the elevator lobby and hope that one of the 3 half-broken elevators decide to work and take you down 23 floors to the lobby. Sometimes we got to play the game for up to 10 minutes! I’d highly recommend it if you get the chance.
Anyway, the hotel is 24 floors, so other than the elevator issues (which was a huge pain in the ass), being on the 23rd floor was pretty awesome because it made for good views and was only one quick flight of stairs from the 24th floor, where there was the rooftop pool, outdoor bar, gym and meeting rooms.
The rooftop was pretty cool. It had a little bar there that they’d set up in the evenings right next to the pool, which boasted pretty awesome views of Joburg.
The rest of the 24th floor actually has some really nice meeting rooms.
They also had a open room that you could only enter from the outside. Not sure what it was, looked like another meeting room.
As I mentioned earlier, the front desk staff were fantastic, specifically Lydia. She helped arrange a tour for us into JoBurg and Soweto and was always there at the desk should we have any questions. As a Marriott Platinum member, I got free unlimited internet, which is a luxury there. However, the internet would run out or not work, etc., and the front desk was always there to assist or troubleshoot the issue.
One word of caution, however. Room service seems to come in every morning at 8 am….and they don’t knock….and there’s not ‘privacy’ sign available. So be prepared for that!
Overall, I really enjoyed the hotel. It was like being in a different world from Melrose Arch, but it felt more “real” and you definitely got a feel for being in the city. Both of the hotels were definitely geared towards business travelers and hosting meetings/conferences, but other than that the hotels were very, very different. A lot of people, including my family, were/have been worried about safety and security in JoBurg. I can honestly say we had zero problem with crime or danger, and the hotel felt very safe. Really a non-issue if you stick to the parts of town you should at the correct times.
If you’re looking for a hotel with a more central location close to downtown JoBurg, I would absolutely recommend!