Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest metropolis, is a city of contrasts, where the past and present, the urban and natural, converge to create a truly unforgettable vacation experience.
Standing as a beacon of modernity and progress on the African continent, this thriving cosmopolitan city is a place where innovation, creativity, and enterprise flourish amid dazzling beauty. This rich and unique tapestry brings a sense of splendour to the city’s accommodation scene.
From bucolic boutiques to glittering skyscrapers, here are my favourite cool and unusual hotels in Johannesburg (in no particular order)…
1. The Peech Hotel – a lavish and cute boutique hotel situated across James Ethel Gray Park in the central Melrose area
Brimming with understated luxury with a strong dose of sunny South African charm, The Peech Hotel is a splendid, peaceful retreat from the city bustle.
This vibrant oasis is layered with colourful design details and community craftwork, and is spread over two acres of lush gardens in a prime, upmarket location.
The hotel comprises of a series of annexes and sleek standalone pavilions arranged around a central 1950s heritage home, and offers two outdoor pools and two restaurants.
My room was elaborated by a dark blue-grey palette, with local artwork and natural materials offering a sense of place.
• To book, check prices or availability for The Peech Hotel
2. Thaba Eco Hotel – an ultra-chic ecolodge that provides Insta-worthy panoramic views of Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve
Here we have the perfect retreat for those seeking a total immersion into the lush landscapes of the majestic Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, Johannesburg’s green heart.
The unique blend of comfort and relaxation here left me feeling refreshed and energized, whether replenishing the senses at the award-winning Sinzinani spa or soaking up the bucolic views from my expertly designed guestroom.
Thaba’s commitment to sustainability shines through its eloquently prepared meals, which incorporate the freshest ingredients sourced from the rustic surroundings.
The popular outdoor hang-out deck, ElBar, is a place where crafted cocktails and signature wines are served in an exquisite hinterland backdrop.
To enhance the guest experience, the hotel offers a range of outdoor eco activities, which allow you to get up close and personal with some of the most amazing wildlife and landscapes South Africa has to offer.
- To book, check prices or availability for Thaba Eco Hotel
3. Radisson RED Hotel Johannesburg – a cool, ultra-design and hip hotel that features warm and modern interiors
Filled with bold designs, bespoke wall embellishments, and a playful atmosphere, the Radisson RED is your perfect basecamp from which to explore Johannesburg’s cosmopolitan hub.
From the locally inspired bedroom wall prints to the cheerful décor, the rooms embody the quintessential South African spirit, setting you up for an extravagant welcome to this bustling metropolis.
Designed with your comfort in mind, each interior element is crafted with care, and the rooftop pool & terrace area beckons you to relish a peaceful afternoon amid the balmy climate.
I loved the relaxed, communal atmosphere at the on-site restaurant, as well as the sunset views at the roof bar & terrace.
- To book, check prices or availability for Radisson RED Hotel Johannesburg
4. Hallmark House Hotel – a stylish and arty place to stay in Johannesburg housed in a former diamond-polishing center perfect for business or leisure stays
Situated in arguably the most exciting and creative quarter of Johannesburg, Hallmark House is Maboneng’s first high-end accommodation, and is surrounded by vibrant street art, buzzy bars, and exquisite restaurants.
Sleek and sophisticated with a dash of urban cool, the interiors are adorned with contemporary abstract art, while the rooms are dressed in an African batik-style.
I thought the in-room amenities were top notch, and having the minibar stocked with local products was a graceful touch.
Breakfast here is a buzzy affair, with a bountiful array of homemade dishes treating the palate each morning. There’s also a restaurant serving an African-inspired menu, and a vibrant bar where you can mingle with like-minded travellers.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hallmark House Hotel
5. Palazzo Hotel – a very Instagrammable Italian haven located in the peaceful region of Fourways where guests can explore a Tuscan-style garden and other great facilities
Having earned a reputation as one of the city’s most elegant hotels, Palazzo is graced by a luxurious Italian design which reflects a palatial, Tuscan-inspired opulence.
Crystal chandeliers and rich wooden furnishings beautify the marble and terracotta interiors, oozing comfort and sophistication throughout.
The on-site Café Rialto is a popular meeting spot for business visionaries and creative jetsetters, and overlooks the beautiful gardens offering the perfect spot for a lazy lunch on the deck.
After a busy day exploring the metropolis, your stresses will soon melt away by one of the country’s largest pools, beside which you can be treated to a massage at the hands of expert therapists.
- To book, check prices or availability for Palazzo Hotel
6. Ten Bompas Hotel – a cozy and charming boutique hotel that offers an amazing restaurant that sources fresh herbs and vegetables from the hotel’s garden
Nestled within a pristine garden setting, Ten Bompas is the perfect retreat from the fast pace of the city, and each suite has been crafted by a different interior designer.
All the units range in style from classic to highly contemporary, but each share a touch of Africa, and come with a separate lounge area making for a sense of total seclusion.
I loved having a private garden, which made each morning evermore majestic as I kickstarted the day with the sounds of tweeting birds and the rustling of soaring trees.
The in-room amenities were top-notch, and the on-site Winehouse Restaurant was the source of memorable moments, owing to its relaxed atmosphere and refined culinary delights.
- To book, check prices or availability for Ten Bompas Hotel
7. African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection – a cool and trendy hotel that is within close proximity to the town center where visitors will have great choices of restaurants and shops
This eclectic hotel celebrates the spirit of Johannesburg through its quirky, bespoke décor and its striking interior aesthetic.
Designed with a curator’s touch, this open-plan, boutique accommodation sets a quaint scene through exposed brick, leather headboards, and chic wall embellishments, contributing to a sense of refined comfort.
I thought the Library Lounge was the most idyllic spot to soak up an authentic Johannesburg charm, while sipping aged whiskey in the company of locals and jetsetters alike.
Returning from a day of extensive sightseeing was made a treat by the exclusive hotel pool and the vibrant bar area which featured a unique, soulful atmosphere.
- To book, check prices or availability for African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection
8. voco Johannesburg Rosebank an IHG Hotel – South Africa’s first voco hotel that provides great services such as airport transfers and car rentals, perfect for Millennials and Gen Zs
This newly opened hotel boasts beautifully appointed, cocooning rooms prettified by shades of flamingo and navy blue.
Set in the trendy district of Rosebank, there’s plenty of charm to be experienced here, evident immediately upon entrance courtesy of the amiable staff presence.
The front desk assisted me in planning some epic day excursions with other solo travellers, and offered some expert advice for unique walking tours around the city.
The Proud Mary Modern Eatery and Wine Bar is a vibrant spot where you can savour innovative dishes and a bespoke wine list, while a step outside the property will land you within a maze of restaurants, shops, and cafés.
- To book, check prices or availability for voco Johannesburg Rosebank an IHG Hotel
9. The Houghton Hotel, Spa, Wellness & Golf – an exceptional 5-star hotel spa that offers the ultimate world-class service and a great experience
The Houghton blurs the lines between tradition and modernity, steeped in an elegant touch.
Not only is it one of Johannesburg’s flagship luxury hotels, but it is also one of South Africa’s premier golfing venues, with a proud history as a championship facility having hosted no fewer than eight SA Open events.
The brand new state-of-the-art spa facility, replete with a wooden deck, an outdoor shower, and 8 multi-functional treatment suites among many more, awaits with a truly soul-replenishing experience.
I absolutely loved the graceful artwork that decorated my room, which brought a bright, sophisticated tone to my stay.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Houghton Hotel, Spa, Wellness & Golf
10. Seven Villa Hotel & Spa – the ideal spot for those who are looking for tranquility and rejuvenation located in a lush secret garden in the center of Sandton
Set in a lush secret garden, Seven Villa is a natural sanctuary tucked away within leafy surrounds. Staying here truly felt like being nestled in the heart of nature, while the cosmopolitan centre of Sandton was reachable within a few minutes’ walk.
All of the suites and villas offer specialized lifestyle services and all the comforts you need, while still clinging onto a sense of untouched seclusion.
From the indigenous gardens to the gorgeous pool area, each space was graced by the sounds of waterfalls and birds chirping amid the aged trees.
The cuisine here is a stand-out feature, and is a celebration of local produce. Enveloped within stone textures blended with gold, navy blue and grey tones, the Camelot Spa is a truly captivating experience where calmness, harmony, and indulgence take centre stage.
- To book, check prices or availability for Seven Villa Hotel & Spa
11. Parkwood Boutique Hotel -a romantic intimate oasis that blends a fresh style and lush decor, ideal for guests who need to recharge their energy
Cosy yet spacious, classic yet contemporary, this stunning boutique property offers a peaceful urban sanctuary in the quiet suburb of Parkwood.
With only 16 rooms, I felt an optimum blend of seclusion and serenity here, while many top golf courses and green spaces are located only a short walk away.
The family atmosphere sets a soothing tone, enhanced with traditional stone walls that beautify the interior living rooms.
Many of the full-length windows around the property open onto either a charming patio area or a graceful outdoor hang-out space, offering the chance to embrace both intimacy and an open-air ambiance. The quaint pool area, set amid a lush manicured lawn, makes for a peaceful afternoon repose beneath the balmy sun.
- To book, check prices or availability for Parkwood Boutique Hotel
12. Premier Hotel Quatermain – a country-style English boutique hotel close to top attractions such as the Rietfontein Nature Reserve and the Nelson Mandela Foundation based in the leafy suburbs of Morningside
The inspired character set by lush gardens, babbling streams, and cascading fountains allows guests at Premier Hotel to escape the fast pace of city life.
The prevailing sense of calmness and tranquillity extends to the on-site restaurant and bars, inviting you to either enjoy a glass of champagne around the pool or embrace total quietude beside a roaring fireplace.
The sense of nature stemming from the luxuriant gardens, mixed with the traditional atmosphere set by the charming family presence, immediately put me at ease upon arrival.
The hotel is positioned perfectly for you to access the Sandton business district, as well as the bustling restaurants and glitzy nightlife of Mandela Square.
- To book, check prices or availability for Premier Hotel Quatermain
13. Vivari Hotel and Spa by Mantis – an impressive spot that is surrounded by a zen ambiance set in Krugersdorp area
Brought to fruition by the vision of Dr Anushka Reddy, Vivari Hotel is a true game changer in Johannesburg’s hospitality scene, setting out to spark a perfect harmony between humans and nature.
The hotel seamlessly captures the serenity of its natural surroundings, and its holistic wellness concepts marry blissfully with a sense of rejuvenation.
Part of the world-leading Mantis collection, this charming eco-escape adds a sleek and stylish tone to your vacation, and invites you to relax under the canopy of pecan trees as you dine.
From the seasonal menus at Brambles Restaurant to the luxuriant setting of the rooftop bar, every moment here is defined by beauty, tastefulness, and radiance.
- To book, check prices or availability for Vivari Hotel and Spa by Mantis
14. The Winston Hotel – a quirky-chic colonial-style hotel conveniently located in the heart of an eclectic hub
Bathed in natural splendour and timeless elegance, The Winston is eloquently tucked away into the vibrant suburb of Rosebank.
The romantic charm of the property harks back to a bygone era, so as you enter the gates, prepare to be whisked away to a sense of nostalgia.
The interiors are incredibly welcoming, with unique art pieces drawing inspiration from South African culture, and an atmosphere of chic sophistication prevailing throughout.
My room was beautifully decorated, and the views of the manicured gardens offered a peaceful start to each day. On-site you can also soak up graceful the charm from a tranquil restaurant, a quaint outdoor pool area, a lavish bar, and a cosy library.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Winston Hotel
15. 54 on Bath – a refined and elegant hotel that organizes sightseeing trips to guests such as the Apartheid Museum and the colorful African Craft Market, based in the cultural district of Rosebank
A supreme location makes this charming urban abode one of the city’s most sought after, and for great reason.
The exterior of 54 on Bath resembles a grand apartment block that wouldn’t be out of place in Manhattan. The insides beautifully contrast this with a cosy boutique feel and plenty of homely touches.
A signature blend of luxury, style, and intuitive service sets the scene for a comforting stay, lived up to by the exquisite gourmet dining offerings at the Level Four Restaurant.
I enjoyed refreshing the senses in the state-of-the-art fitness club and the sparkling outdoor pool, before soaking up the property’s charm at the Perrier-Jouet Garden Bar.
- To book, check prices or availability for 54 on Bath
We also have posts on…
- Cool and Unusual Hotels in Cape Town
- Cool and Unusual Hotels in Durban
- Cool and Unusual Hotels in Zanzibar
- Cool and Unusual Hotels in Cairo
- Cool and Unusual Hotels in Marrakech
- Cool and Unusual Hotels in Casablanca
- Cool and Unusual Hotels in Dubai
Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always been a sucker for an adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued his taste for seeking out new cultures. So much in fact he now travels the world as a trading digital nomad, exploring everything from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, street food, playing carrom, and fine wine and knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations.