What it means: South Africa is open to international travellers and entry to the country, like to many others, is subject to a negative Covid-19 PCR test.
While it may take some time for the message to go out, tourism has been returning locally in South Africa at last after our long lockdown. With high hopes for a busy domestic tourism season this summer there are ever more new establishments charging ahead opening their doors, as well as major tourist destinations shifting and changing their offerings to meet the demands of their South African guests.
To keep up you up to speed with what's new on the block in Joburg, and beyond, here's our guide to all the latest happenings in the local hotel scene this month. You can catch up on our October hotel news round-up here.
The new Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch opens its doorsOne of Joburg's biggest new business hotels with 306 rooms (including junior suites and executive apartments) the new Marriott at Melrose Arch, has finally officially opened its doors. The hotel was originally set to launch in March 2020, although with the world then only just starting to enter lockdown this was postponed.
Reopened this month Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch promises some of the best business lounge facilities in the city (which are also accessible for non-overnight guests as part of the 6am to 6pm 'Work Anywhere Stay Pass'), a gym, restaurant, cafe-bar and pool. The property also includes the elegantly outfitted Marriott Executive Apartments, perfect for long stays in Joburg. Also open is the sexy Archer Bar & Eatery with a wraparound terrace and a great cocktail menu. The hotel is the first purpose-built Marriott-branded hotel in South Africa.
Radisson Hotel and Convention Centre launches near OR Tambo AirportThe competition in Gauteng's conferencing hotel space grows ever more fierce with the official opening of a huge convention centre and hotel by Scandinavian brand Radisson Hotels, a 10-minute drive from OR Tambo International Airport, in Bredell. The new 248-room hotel offers a wealth of conferencing facilities as well as four restaurants, a coffee shop, cigar lounge, a gym and two large outdoor heated pools and two terrace bars.
The state of the art convention centre's main hall can accommodate up to 1260 delegates and a standalone Amani Spa will open on the property. The Level Seven fine dining restaurant is a part of Desmond Mabuza's famous Signature offering. The hotel opened this month and will continue to open sections in stages, and is looking forward to creating a lifestyle offering over the upcoming holidays. With its resort-style pool and outdoor areas it looks like it will be a popular choice for visitors from Ekurhuleni and surrounds in search of a getaway from home.
The Peech Hotel supports local chefs with a month-long pop-up collabThe Peech boutique hotel in Melrose recently launched an exciting chef pop-up series which was almost immediately booked up. It's a fantastic way to get some of Joburg's best chefs back in the kitchen, after so many have had to close up shop due to the toll of protracted lockdown. As hotelier James Peech explains: "These events also provide an opportunity for some of the Chef’s pre-pandemic kitchen and restaurant teams to reunite and do what they do best.”
The series sees four weekends of pop-up dinners: La Petite Maison & Basalt (Nov 5-7), Farro Food & Wine (Nov 19 and 21) and Chef Candice Philip formerly of Grei at The Saxon Hotel (Nov 26-28). Reservations can be made for tables of up to six people. Email Concierge@thepeech.co.za to book.
International awards and new renovations at the Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa
One of South Africa's most luxurious hotels, the Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa in Sandhurst, Joburg has been undergoing a major refurbishment project while closed during lockdown as it looks forward to reopening in 2021. The new renovations have seen the iconic Saxon reception hall with its distinctive chandelier and a famous artwork by Dean Simon, given a revamp, as well as the Qunu restaurant, the cigar library and the olive bar. Renovations to the dining areas include a new bar at the Qunu restaurant where guests will be able to enjoy the music of Saxon’s in-house musicians saxophonist Femi Koya and pianist Jonathan Assempah, before moving on to dinner at Qunu and the adjoining Fig Terrace.
This November the Saxon also added to its long list of awards scooping up the awards for both South Africa and Africa's Leading Boutique Hotel and Leading Hotel Suite at the 2020 World Travel Awards.
Home Suite Hotels is coming to De Waterkant in Cape TownThe Home Suite Hotels brand, whose stylish boutique hotel near Rosebank launched last year (read our review of our recent stay here), is preparing to launch a new hotel in De Waterkant in Cape Town this December. Perfectly located within walking distance of many of Cape Town's coolest restaurants, cafes and galleries, the new hotel promises picture-perfect views of Lion's Head and Table Mountain and a stunning rooftop pool deck.
For a chance to win a two-night stay at this exciting new boutique hotel make sure to enter out jacaranda photo competition by sharing your favourite jacaranda photos with us from 2020 on Instagram tagged #jacarandainyourpocket #gautrainjourneys.
Stay and play golf and spa packages at The Fairway HotelThe Fairway Hotel in Randpark, Joburg's very own golf and spa resort hotel has launched a range of new packages to entice domestic tourists this summer.
Romantic themed packages for couples looking to celebrate a special occasion include'; 'A Night of Luxury' stay in a luxury room with full romantic turndown and breakfast (R2,000 per couple) and the 'Make Your Beloved Feel Luxurious' package which also includes a three-course dinner at the Balata restaurant and couples spa treatments (R4,800 per couple). For the ultimate in relaxation there's the Overnight Spa retreat package which includes breakfast and a four-hour pampering experience at the spa (R6,550 per couple, R3,700 single) and for golfers the Stay and Play package includes breakfast and a round of golf (from R1,840 for one person, R2,590 for a couple). Find out more and book online here.
Airbnb predicts a new rise in longer 'live anywhere' holidaysAirbnb has released its latest report outlining the new trends which it believes will shape travel in 2021 as the world starts to recover from the pandemic. Most notably the report predicts that "in 2021, travel will continue to be less about tourism and more about living, working and connecting safely away from home".
Based on a survey of Airbnb users and the keywords they are using on the platform, the report suggests that longer-term 'relocation vacations' will be on the rise as offices remain closed turning more people into 'digital nomads' who can essentially work from anywhere.
In particular, the report found that many users were looking for accommodation options for longer stays (2+ weeks) that provide easy access to 'immersive natural surroundings' such as national parks. The survey also found that prolonged school closures are also shaping travel plans with 60% of parents saying that they are very or somewhat likely to consider renting a vacation home with their children to work remotely if schools continue to be disrupted.