Luxury layover at Johannesburg airport – InterContinental O.R. Tambo

The return flight from my Cape Town to Victoria Falls adventure required an overnight stay in Johannesburg. Having visited Johannesburg previously and with less than 12 hours to spare, I wanted to stay close to the airport and opted for the InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport. It was a luxurious layover and one of the best airport hotels I’ve stayed at!

Location: The InterContinental O.R. Tambo is just across the street from the airport terminal, making it very convenient: it’s a short walk from arrival, no shuttle bus is required and it’s easy even if you have large luggage. While great for connections, early departures or late arrivals, I wouldn’t consider it if you want to visit Johannesburg and it’s sights! You have easy access to the stores and restaurants at the airport, as well as to the nearby casino hotel (free shuttle service) with gaming and more restaurants and shops.

Service: The front desk staff was friendly and professional. I was checked in quickly and even upgraded on this reward stay! The concierge was equally good, assisting with dinner choices and local transportation! My check out the next morning was as quick and friendly – just what you’d expect from a luxury hotel at an airport!

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 3.56.23 PMRoom: The Executive Room was large and modern, held in beige and brown colors with dark wood furniture. The bed was very comfortable and after staying in huts, tents and lodges I had the best sleep in weeks! There was a big chair to read or watch TV and a desk with plenty of room to work, if needed. Everything was in perfect condition, including the Nespresso machine, which I loved! I was concerned about noise from the airport, but the room is well insulated and I didn’t hear a thing!
The bathroom is also quite large with a separate tub and glass shower. It’s held in beige/brown marble and stone and also in good condition. The towels and amenities were of high quality, as expected from an InterContinental.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 3.34.55 PMRestaurant/Amenities: The hotel has a bar and restaurant – but I didn’t try it and opted for the casino instead.
There is a very nice indoor pool on the top floor with a view through the floor-to-ceiling windows! You’ll also have access to a spa, gym and wellness area. I hung out at the pool for a swim, relaxed in the steam room and enjoyed the views from the comfy loungers. The pool and spa area was much nicer than I’d expect from an airport hotel and a good place to relax for some spare time!

Conclusion: The InterContinental is a great place for a layover at Johannesburg airport. It is very expensive at $300, slightly better value using IHG Rewards points. It makes for a luxurious treat after a long flight or traveling through the bush or desert! If you don’t mind the price point, you won’t be disappointed!

Note: My hotel photos didn’t survive the trip – the images here are courtesy of the IC web site!

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