My fiancée and I recently stayed at the InterContinental Johannesburg Airport for one night between flights at JNB. We arrived on a long 15.5-hour flight from Atlanta, and needed to stay over for one night before departing on a domestic flight for a safari the next morning.
When planning our stay, we considered various hotels near the airport, almost all of which were cheaper than the InterContinental. However, we still considered this hotel because of the large number of glowing reviews, in addition to knowing that it is truly just steps away from the airport with no shuttle required to get there. Once we weighed the options, we decided to pay the premium price to stay at the InterContinental to maximize convenience. It turned it to be a great decision. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone, and I would stay here again in a heartbeat if ever at JNB.
Prior to our stay, I didn’t have any sort of status or points accrued with the IHG Rewards program, but in the process of booking our room, I stumbled upon the fact that IHG was having a sale for purchasing reward points at the time. It turns out that it was actually cheaper for us to purchase some IHG points and redeem a cash + points reward to stay at this hotel, rather than paying the lowest cash rate that was offered at the time. It worked out solely because there was a promotion for purchasing points at the time, but it’s definitely something to look into, which in our case ended up saving us about $50 USD for the night.
After a long-haul flight, we just couldn't wait to take a shower, eat decent food, and have a nice bed to sleep in. The InterContinental allowed us to accomplish all of this, and was a very welcome sight as we walked out of the international arrivals hall at JNB. The hotel is literally just across one of the airport’s internal roadways from the international arrivals area. It took about 5 minutes from the time we retrieved our luggage from baggage claim to the time we were in the InterContinental’s calm, well-decorated lobby checking in.
Upon entering the lobby, guests are immediately greeted by the hotel’s excellent staff members, all of whom go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The doormen were insistent that they assist us with our bags as soon as we entered the lobby, and the front desk clerk who checked us in was great. She managed to make check-in quick and painless, while still making us feel welcome and giving us all key information we could need. She also offered to make us a dinner reservation at the hotel’s restaurant, Quills, for whatever time we desired, and she went out of her way to recognize that I was an IHG Rewards member several times, which is a nice touch.
The elevator requires scanning your room key to get to your floor, and it will only stop at the floor that your room is on, as well as the floor housing the gym and pool (which we didn’t have a chance to check out). This can be a little bit annoying if you’re in the elevator with guests from other floors and want to hit the button for others. The elevator requires separately swiping a room key to access each floor, which seems a little more secure than is needed.
From the minute you walk out of the elevator to get to your room, you can tell you’re in a very peaceful, upscale hotel. The hallways are nicely appointed and quiet, which is exactly how the rooms feel too. In our room, we never heard any noise from other guests or from air traffic at the airport. It was a quiet oasis.
Our King Deluxe Room (211) was beautiful. Although not overly large, the room was very well appointed and felt luxurious. The décor in the rooms is neutral and restful, with a classic upscale look that is modern enough to feel fresh. The bed was quite comfortable and felt amazing after a long flight. The room was in great condition, with very little wear and tear, and included thoughtful amenities that guests appreciate, including the well-stocked coffee and tea station and USB wall plugs for charging cell phones easily. The turndown service that was done while we were at dinner was better than at most hotels, with a chocolate left on each pillow, a bottle of water and a glass left on each nightstand, slippers left at each side of the bed, and a little card with the next day’s weather forecast.
The marble bathroom was very nice as well, with a separate tub and large shower, which had great water pressure. The toilet is in a separate water closet. There were even some fresh flowers left in the bathroom, and the towels were large and fluffy. The single sink and vanity area was small, with very limited space to put one’s things. However, since we, like most guests, were just passing through, it was fine for one night. The only other thing I found slightly annoying about the bathroom design was that the light switch is located outside of the bathroom (and the entrance to the bathroom is directly next to the bed), so if one person needs to use the bathroom while the other person is sleeping, you can’t help but briefly drown the room in light before you can enter and slide the bathroom door shut.
After feeling disconnected from the world while on our flight, having good wifi to check email and get online was a must. The free wifi at the InterContinental was easy to connect to and worked well. I got kicked off of the network briefly at one point when I was checking email in the middle of the night while I was having trouble falling asleep. However, when I woke up in the morning, I was able to log back onto the network and it was working perfectly fine again.
Prior to our stay, we had made a couple of room requests, which were to have foam pillows and a room on a high floor away from an elevator. The requested pillows were on the bed when we arrived, and our room was away from the elevator. The only request that was not honored was for a high floor. We had hoped to be on a higher floor for the best chance of getting a room with a decent view and more natural light. Although none of the rooms has any real view here, by being on the 2nd floor on the side of the building where we were, we ended up looking directly at a wall of one of the airport buildings, which was just a few feet away and was a rather depressing view. It didn’t matter since we were there for such a short time, but I would still request a high floor, or at least not to be on that side of the hotel, in the future.
The only dining venue in the hotel is Quills Restaurant, which is where we ate dinner when we arrived and breakfast the next morning. In line with everything else at the hotel, Quills was excellent! Although it seemed unnecessary that the front desk clerk had advised us to make a reservation at Quills when we checked in, it was good that we made one, since the staff at the restaurant seemed a bit flustered when guests arrived without reservations (although they would still seat them with no problem). Quills is nicely decorated like the rest of the hotel, and I would say it generally serves international cuisine, with a focus on African dishes. The salmon and filet mignon entrees that we tried were both excellent, beautifully presented, and fairly priced in my mind for an upscale hotel. You can definitely eat for less in South Africa, but with the pricier entrees being about R250, or about $20 USD each, we weren’t upset with the pricing, especially given how nice our dinner was. The wines they offered were also reasonably priced, and we both liked the South African reds that we tried with our dinners. The cherry clafoutis (basically cherry pie) that we had for dessert was absolutely delicious, and was a highlight of the meal. Our server specified that the clafoutis is a hotel specialty that is made-to-order, and takes about 25 minutes to make once ordered. We’re glad we waited for them to make it, since it was well worth it.
Beyond simply having good food, the service was excellent at Quills. Our server was friendly, polite, and eager to please, and multiple staff members checked on us to make sure our meal was satisfactory. They all seemed genuinely proud of the food they were serving and wanted to make sure we had a great experience. Breakfast in the morning at Quills was a similar experience. The pancakes and waffle we tried were beautifully presented and quite tasty, with great service along the way. There is a full buffet offered at breakfast in addition to a regular menu, but we declined the buffet since it was more food than we wanted.
Our departure from the InterContinental was just as smooth as arrival, and it was so nice to be able to walk just across the street to catch our next flight. It meant that we didn't have to get up unduly early to make it on time, which was important to us. We started our stay bleary-eyed and exhausted from a long-haul flight, but we departed the next morning feeling totally refreshed to begin our safari in South Africa. It turns out that the InterContinental was the absolute best hotel we experienced during our trip, which I never would have expected of an airport hotel. This property is well managed and it shows. Every single staff member we encountered was courteous and enthusiastic, which is perfect when coupled with a hotel that has beautiful rooms and a nice restaurant. I would highly recommend the InterContinental when stopping over before or after a flight at JNB. It’s a decision you won’t regret.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport is a safe and highly convenient hotel only 68.7 metres (225-foot) walk from the International Arrivals hall at Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport and is your ideal and hassle-free stopover for onward Southern African destinations, Game Reserves, Victoria Falls & Cape Town. Perfectly located for business and a 14-minute train ride from the Sandton CBD, the hotel facilities include free unlimited Wi-Fi, Business Centre, Health Spa, complimentary gym, swimming pool and DVD library. Guests love our large showers with massage showerheads and the ample natural light flowing from the floor to ceiling windows. In-room flight information allows you to time and plan your onward journeys from the comfort of your room. Soundproofed rooms, blackout curtains, king beds and fluffy duvets ensure you enjoy a great sleep experience. Quills Restaurant, open 24 hours daily, offers contemporary African dining, indoors or on the terrace. Winner of the 2015 Best Airport Hotel in Africa Award by Skytrax World Airport Awards and refurbished in 2015, the hotel offers the most sophisticated airport accommodations on the African Continent. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Or Tambo Airport Hotel Kempton Park
- Intercontinental Kempton Park
- Intercontinental Hotel Kempton Park