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JCTA weekend in the city kicks off…

I got lucky enough to be invited along to the newly formed Joburg City Tourism Authority (JCTA)‘s weekend in the city along with around 75 other media this past weekend. If you read my blog you’ll know that I can’t get enough of the inner city, I live in it to the point that we’ve now overstayed our lease 5  months & still have no intention of making a move.

To say this was right up my alley would be a total understatement! There is so much to tell I can’t possibly do it all in 1 post & even though I’ve lived in the city a year & a half now, I still learned so much over these 3 days. Here’s hoping I can do the experience justice…


The Bannister Hotel belongs to photographer Andrew Bannister & the property has been in his family for years.


The Bannister Hotel as seen from the Neighbourgoods Market

I excitedly packed my bags and headed 1km down the road & checked into The Bannister Hotel, one of 5 hotels that chosen to accommodate us for the weekend.  I really hadn’t even heard of The Bannister before but I soon found out that its recently opened (& still a-work-in progress).

The service at The Bannister was what blew me away. Ethel and her team called me personally to confirm my reservation, ran around getting me an adapter to charge my (multiple) cell phones & even ensured I got a parking spot right in front of the building so that their staff could keep an eye on my car.

The bed was enormous & the shower had Hansgrohe fittings & a very interesting disco light – you have to see this for yourself! I loved the touch of coming back to my room in the evenings & finding a heater had been delivered. Between that, the wooden floors, oversized bed & our packed daily itinerary I had no issues falling asleep at The Bannister.


The Apprentice Apartment

I soon found out this weekend was very slickly put together. We had a clear itinerary & ran on time the entire weekend even though we were split into groups & scattered all over the city, regrouping for the main events.

The 1st stop was Corner House where we  had a cocktail reception & then invaded the 800 square meter Apprentice Apartment (yes, named after the show that debuted in SA a few years back). Here we were greeted with warm towels on arrival and  we oohed and aahed as we walked through this amazing space & eventually poured out onto the balcony to take in the sunset & were welcomed by the head of the JCTA & author of the well-known Spaces & Places 2.0 – JoburgPlaces, Gerald Garner.


View from the balcony of  The Apprentice Apartment – not too bad for the city hey? 🙂


The “surprise activation” on our agenda, turned out to be a performance by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO). So cool to see them in action!

Next we took a walk (yes you can walk in the city at night) down to The Rand Club, once the playground of those who’d made their fortunes in the gold rush and today still stands 126 years later. With its days of being an old school gentlemen’s club done, today it’s more inclusive & has a conference/events venues & is better known for having the longest bar in the world at 103 meters.


The Rand Club – easy to see why it would make a gorgeous venue. You just cant buy décor like this…

IMG_20130517_204853 Inside the library at The Rand Club

I’m really keen to head back to The Rand Club & soon. I could spend hours in there in one of their oversized leather sofas with the fireplace going…


  The last stop for the night was The Reef Hotel on Anderson Street (incidentally the street that I live on!).

The Reef Hotel was also one of the 5 hotels were some delegates in our group got to stay. Even though we’re practically neighbours I hadn’t ever thought to visit the hotel before, dismissing it in my mind as an old, dull business hotel. It is in fact a 4 star, modern property & everyone I spoke to raved about their accommodation though I didn’t actually get to see a room.

A small group of us got incredibly lucky to have a sumptuous dinner at their recently launched Top 5 Restaurant.  The chef also took the time to come out & chat to us about what inspired the menu & their CSI program whereby they have taken folks off the street, paid for their culinary studies & accommodation & they do their practical training at the restaurant as part of a 3 year program. My absolute favourite on the menu was the calamari starter. I could hardly move from my seat after the 3 courses…


The Reef Hotel‘s glass rooftop bar (opening to the public soon) where we partied the night (& the morning away)…

You have to check out the rooftop bar’s view. It’s absolutely breath-taking & suddenly gave me a surge of energy to keep going and squeeze a few more hours in. I crawled into bed that morning (leaving some folks behind on the dance floor I might add) trying hard not to do the mental math regarding how many hours I had left to sleep 🙂

More on the JCTA weekend in the city soon. I’m really just getting started…

PS you can see all the pics from our instagram feed over here. Enjoy….


Update: you can see what we got up to on the rest of the weekend here:

The JCTA weekend in the city continues…

The JCTA weekend in the city closes with an up close look at Maboneng

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