I booked here based on the great feedback here on Trip Advisor for a two night stopover in Joburg, and I am so glad I did! I have always stayed at the Intercontinental in the past and while the airport location of the Intercontinental is convenient if you are on a short stopover (less than 12 hours), if you have the time, do yourself a favor and book the ARH.
This is definitely a Boutique Hotel and not a Guest House—the difference being the rooms are all independent of the common areas with their own entrances and very luxurious and contemporary. The back yard oasis is delightful with mature growth like giant palm trees and a beautiful respite away from the concrete jungle, autos and planes you get on the patio at the Intercontinental.
Musa, their wonderful driver (or Otti the owner himself if they are busy) will greet you after baggage claim and drive you in a Mercedes minivan to their location in a gated upper class suburban neighborhood, only a 10-15 minute drive that is not affected by traffic no matter what time of day. They track your flight and know exactly when you are arriving. They will even pick you up (or drop you off) at Federal Air if you are coming in on the air shuttle from the Sabi Sands or Kruger so you don't have to be shuttled back to OR Tambo by Federal Air.
The lounge at the top of the spiral staircase is a delightful reading room with all sorts of travel books (that are current!), and their conference room looks fabulous for intimate personal development seminars or executive creative/planning meetings where you really need to get some productive work done. The environment is just lovely and looks very conducive to productivity and has AV equipment built in.
All of the staff is world class and Otti and Zelda are hands-on and make sure they check in with you at dinner. They used to own a mobile safari company and a construction business and Zelda is an artist, so between them they have created a beautifully decorated facility with all sorts of special touches from their travels throughout Africa.
As others have stated, Christine and TK in the kitchen are talented ladies and they make some outstanding food. Everything is cooked Ala Minute so if you have special dietary issues I'm sure if you let them know in advance they will happily accommodate your needs.
Others have mentioned internet not being free and it appears they have heard people's pleas and now offer voucher for enough access to check emails and touch base. However, if you need to do some serious work or send files or photos back and forth you will need to buy more access from the provider AlwaysOn. I feel that is fair and reasonable as I know how outrageous the internet costs are in Africa, especially for businesses like this who have to have an enterprise plan to accommodate high volume usage.
Also there have been multiple comments about the rates vs. perceived value and I feel it is very fair, especially compared to the rates at the Intercontinental and the inclusive breakfast and reasonable food and drink prices. I had an amazing Crepe for lunch yesterday that was only 55 Rand. I'm sure it would have cost at least double that anywhere else.
I definitely look forward to using this property as my future Joburg stopover hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This exclusive 5 star boutique hotel is located 10 km from the Johannesburg International Airport, O.R. Tambo in a quiet suburb of Kempton Park away from the flight path of arriving and departing planes. It has quick and easy high way access to Johannesburg, the Sandton area as well as Pretoria. A well established lush tropical garden, a swimming pool and large patio ensures relaxing outdoor living. The interior "look and feel" boosts a successful fusion of African, Western and Oriental design trends and offers a warm, welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. The architecture is contemporary, includes all modern day technologies is practical and comfortable. The hotel offers a complimentary meet and greet and a return airport transfer. The on site restaurant, The Blue Hippo, offers a fusion cuisine. All meals are prepared by a top chef with fresh ingredients and served in a fine dining manner. ... more less
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