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“Not bad, but better places in town” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Backpackers Ritz

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Backpackers Ritz
1A North Road, Johannesburg 2004, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Not bad, but better places in town”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2012

Stayed one night here before we started an overland tour. Pretty disappointed. Transfer from airport was expensive, was noisy at night time, and kitchen was dirty. Staff were "interesting". But it was a safe part of town and convenient as our overland tour left from here. We stayed elsewhere when we returned to Jo-burg and kinda glad we did.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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49 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

This is definitely a backpacker's scene. We only stayed one night before the start of our overland tour in Southern Africa and what a mistake it was! Lots of partiers stay here and they were drunk and loud all evening. The bathrooms are dirty and not maintained. The hostel seems to be in bed with many of the overland tour companies which guarantee their business. Too bad and never again!

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
28 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

A friend of mine & I stayed one night here in May this year. The owners were easy to communicate with - through them, we organized a pickup from the airport & a dropoff at the bus station, and they were reliable. Pickups and dropoffs were right on time.
The backpackers is located in a safe little nook in town. We walked to a nearby mall for a later meal on a Sunday night.
The bathroom was average, beds were fine, and staff was friendly. 5% extra if you use credit card, FYI.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2012

I stayed here at the beginning of my South Africa trip and it wasn't the greatest start. After flying almost 24 hours I had to wait a couple of hours for my transfer to pick me up (even though the hostel told me he was already waiting). On getting to the hostel the staff seemed bored and sometimes rude. I have stayed in endless hostels so l know you get what you pay for but this hostel wasnt really worth the money andbeds were old and very uncomfortable making it difficult ro sleep. On the plus side there is a great view over joburg from the garden but I wouldn't choose to stay here again.

  • Stayed May 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

I stayed here for four nights before beginning my Acacia tour of Africa, from Johannesburg through to Nairobi. The tour only departed from Johannesburg, it didn't visit the city itself, so if you wanted to explore Johannesburg, you had to book extra days there yourself. The Ritz was an easy choice for me, as it was where our tour departed from, and where our meeting was held on the night before starting, but it was something I wouldn't have regretted anyway. The Backpackers Ritz is basic and simple, but, as other reviewers pointed out, it has everything you need, and I didn't find it dirty or uncomfortable at all. The dorms sounded like they should be crowded, with twelve beds (ie six sets of bunkbeds) but as they were arranged all facing different ways, it gave the feeling of having a lot of space, and they were pretty big dorms anyway, so you don't feel crowded at all. There was a table for guests to use right onfront of the reception desk, with leaflets about different hostels and different things you could do in Jo'burg, and a common room in between reception and the dorms, with a TV and computers (I didn't use them myself, but the Internet wasn't supposed to be very fast!) The staff seemed friendly most of the time, some more serious than others, but overall a friendly feel off the place and its workers, and I had no problems with any of them. One guy in particular, Gavin, was friendly and helpful, and gave me good advice, and the kitchen and cleaning staff were friendly too. Nothing was too much trouble, and they said it was fine about me taking a cup of tea every night, as long as I paid them the next morning, so it was good of them to trust a guest like that! They did my laundry too and it was done very well, so I was happy with that service. I noticed another reviewer said the cleaning lady was noisy- well in my experience, if it was the same person, she was too quiet! You'd wake early in the morning to see her creeping around the room, with no sign that she was there, and often it would make me jump, having had no warning! But I couldn't complain about the way she cleaned the hostel!

The toilets and showers, obviously, were shared, but they all seemed clean whenever I used them, and no problems with either of those. The dorms were basic and plain but clean and comfortable, which was all I wanted, but the only thing I hated was that they were so cold! It was winter in South Africa when I was there (June) and it was FREEZING in the dorm at night! I can understand they can't control the weather, but they must have had no form of heating, apart from one plug-in heater which no one knew was there til the next day, and could only warm one section of the dorm. There's nothing they can do about the cold, but just be warned if you're going there in winter!

The gardens in that place really are amazing- they seemed to stretch on for ages, with hidden places behind bushes and trees, and different places to sit. There was also a tiny little bar down at the end, but I never went there, and never saw anyone else who did either. The hostel felt very safe, with a double-gated entrance at the front (you had to press the buzzer to let them know you were there), and a long street full of big houses behind locked gates. It felt very secure, but sometimes you felt very secluded and far away from everyone, especially if you wanted to mix, and feel part of the neighbourhood. There was also a smaller entrance out the back, behind the gardens and down some steps, which I didn't even know was there until the morning my tour began! There are two different groups of small shops up the road from the Ritz, in easy walking distance, and Hyde Park shopping centre is just a bit further away, about 10 or 15 minutes walk, so everything is conveniently near. The front desk arranges taxis and tours for you, for wherever you want to go- I got my tours of Lion Park, Soweto, and several other places arranged here, with no trouble at all. I also got talking to loads of different people here, who weren't even on my tour- I know that's just my experience, but it just seemed a very social place, with the dorms and the common room, and everyone I met seemed willing to mix. It would have felt very lonely staying in a hotel!

Overall, if you're looking for luxury and privacy, this isn't the kind of Ritz you're looking for. But if you want somewhere basic but clean and comfortable, near to so many convenient places and good for social reasons as well- which was exactly what I wanted- the Backpacker's Ritz is the ideal choice. Everything worked out fine on my stay there.

Room Tip: There's not much choice really- there's just a couple of dorms, either male, female, or mixe...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Basel, Switzerland
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2012

I stayed in this backpackers twice.
The backpackers is not outstanding in terms of design and style, but it has almost everything you need.
The dorms are very clean and extremely spacious (I've been travelling since 7 months now and I have never had so much space as here). I stayed also in a private room and also this one was tidy and spacious.
You will find the linen on the bed when you arrive and it is very confortable for sleeping. The shared bathrooms are clean and bright.
The reception is open 24 h a day and the staff, especially Gavin is very hospitable and helpful. He is the perfect host providing you useful information about the city and what to do and he tries to fulfil all your wishes.
The amneties of the kitchen are ok and there is a braai outdoor you can use. If you are not in the mood for cooking, you can sign up for dinner for a very fair price.
The backpacker is located in a safe area of Johannesburg, I often walked at night alone on the street for going to a nearby restaurant. Also during daytime, you can walk easily to the shopping mall close by (Hyde Park) or even to another one in 30 min walking distance (Rosebank).
The backpackers offers an excellent service for transfers to/from the airport, but also to many other places of interest in the city (very fair prices).
There is a inhouse bar where you can have good drinks and enjoy your time.
The only thing that is missing is a wifi-connection, but there are computers you can use.
This is definitely the best place in Jo'burg to stay if you are on a tight budget.

Room Tip: All rooms are very quite Dorms come with a parquet floor
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2012

Its a backpacker place.... .. it serves its purpose and puts a roof over your head and I couldn't complain about our stay at all.

The rooms are simple and you will need your insect repellent but it does the job, it has a pretty secure area with the two deadlock gates to get through before you can even enter the complex, so it does make you think twice about going out at night, but the rooms are clean, the bathrooms were small but again clean and the staff were lovely.

The bakery at the end of the road was just amazing, without a doubt one of the best I have eaten at!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Backpackers Ritz

Address: 1A North Road, Johannesburg 2004, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Johannesburg
Hotel Style:
Ranked #46 of 76 Specialty Lodging in Johannesburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 15
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Backpackers Ritz Hotel Johannesburg
Ritz Johannesburg
Johannesburg Ritz

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