Travel

TAKE A LOOK | Global chain voco opened its first African hotel, in JHB – and we like it

Business Insider SA
voco hotel exterior (Supplied)
voco hotel exterior (Supplied)
  • We spent a night at voco, in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
  • It’s the first voco hotel to open in Africa.
  • The hotel occupies six floors of The Bank and allows guests access to the restaurant, Proud Mary Modern Eatery & Wine Bar, and Workshop 17, a business hub.
  • Guests also have access to a gym and Bespoken Man, a local barber shop that includes a nail bar.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

We spent a night at the first voco hotel in Africa, and we absolutely loved the first-class hospitality, luscious food and exquisite décor.

Global hotel brand voco, owned by IHG Hotels and Resorts, opened its doors in Rosebank in February, making it the very first voco hotel in Africa – and we loved many things about it.

Situated within walking distance from Rosebank Mall, the hotel in housed inside the architectural gem called The Bank – yes, it was quite literally a FNB bank after its construction in the 1970s.

Voco Rosebank (Supplied)
Voco Rosebank (Supplied)

Apart from the aesthetically pleasing black and gold exterior of the building, the service proved to be top-notch, from the moment we stepped out of the car.

We were immediately met and greeted by a porter ready to offload our luggage while a concierge prepared to safely park the car for us.

Walking into the building, we couldn’t help but notice that the interior looks and feels nothing like a bank.

voco lobby (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
voco lobby (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
voco Rosebank lobby (Supplied)
voco Rosebank lobby (Supplied)

Bold coloured couches, modern chandeliers and a mint green reception area characterised by classic wall panels made the hotel very much inviting, thanks to the vintage glamour style discipline inspired by Art Deco New York.

The vintage décor infused with a modern theme continue upstairs where serene navy blue and grey corridors lead guests to their rooms.

Hakkway (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
Hallway (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)

In the one-bedroom Superior room that we stayed in, it was rather noticeable that the light pink wallpaper matched the half circle mini coffee station and the rest of the room.

Passage leading to bedroom (Business Insider Phumi
Passage leading to bedroom (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
King bed Superior room (Business Insider Phumi Ram
King bed Superior room (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)

The light shade of pink, coupled with cream wood panels, and gold trimmed mirrors makes the room feel cooler, spacious and inviting.

The style almost makes you feel like you’re walking into a room in New York that existed in the 1930s, but still looks visually appealing in a more modern time.

Mini coffee station (Business Insider Phumi Ramale
Coffee station (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Lounge area (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
Lounge area (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Insider the mini bar (Business Insider Phumi Ramal
Insider the mini bar (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)

In addition to golden wall lights covered with marble stone and glass, the walls carry wooden picture frames holding pieces of art that add colour to the room.

We didn’t know how we felt about it initially, but we truly liked the vintage feel brought by the wooden headboard combined with a modern teal velvet upholstery in the centre.  

The room also offers a cozy workspace, mini lounge area and a monochrome bathroom with white walls and minimalist matt black hardware. Although there’s no swimming pool, guests have access to the gym and local barbershop called Bespoken Men.

Work station (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
Work station (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Bathroom (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Bathroom (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)

While the ground floor of the building houses the reception area of the hotel, it is as largely occupied by popular restaurant, Proud Mary Modern Eatery & Wine Bar. We were treated for a luscious dinner and breakfast, and not only did the food exceed expectation, the was service too top-notch too.

Proud Mary (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
Proud Mary (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Breakfast at Proud Mary (Business Insider Phumi Ra
Breakfast at Proud Mary (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Breakfast meal at Proud Mary (Business Insider Phu
Breakfast meal at Proud Mary (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Dinner at Mary Marry (Business Insider Phumi Ramal
Dinner at Proud Mary (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)

Other spaces availed to business travellers include Workshop17, a business hub on the first and second floor with 62 offices, eight meeting rooms, seven boardrooms, event space, hot desks, concentration booths, video conferencing rooms and a coffee shop - Café Felix.

Workshop 17 (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Workshop 17 (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Workshop 17 (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
Workshop 17 (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Work booths (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
Work booths (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)

The building, whose exterior is black with a touch of gold, is made up of custom-made rough-faced black bricks that were locally manufactured specifically for The Bank. They don’t call it an architectural gem for nothing as the building has previously won various awards.

Gym (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe
Gym (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
voco Gym (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
voco Gym (Business Insider Phumi Ramalepe)
Bespoke Man (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Bespoken Man barber shop (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Bespoke Man (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)
Bespoken Man barber shop (Business Insider / Phumi Ramalepe)

The 131-room voco in The Bank, in Johannesburg is one of 31 voco hotels globally, and although this is the first one we’ve been to, it certainly is our favourite thus far.   

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