On Wednesday 16 October, Johannesburg In Your Pocket hosted 17 concierges from Rosebank’s top hotels in the first edition of a new monthly Neighbourhood Concierge walk series. The walks aim to introduce hotel teams to unique attractions and experiences in the neighbourhood to share with guests, and to promote the Rosebank In Your Pocket mini-guide launched in association with the Rosebank Management District who newly rebranded the district earlier this year (a new issue is due out at the end of October).
One of the key challenges to tourism in Johannesburg is undoing negative perceptions of the city for locals and visitors, and creating more inclusive neighbourhoods. For many people working in hotels, long commutes into work and limited free time during a regular demanding work day mean that there is a challenge when it comes to familiarising oneself with the hotel surrounds. Add to that the fact that many of Joburg’s best attractions are hidden behind closed doors.
With representatives from Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, 54 on Bath Hotel, Crowne Plaza Rosebank, The Courtyard Hotel, Clico Boutique Hotel, The Peech in Melrose, plus Rosebank Mall information officers and the district manager of Rosebank the walk started at Perch Flexible Offices, home to In Your Pocket City Guides, with a brief introduction to co-working spaces, a growing trend in the bustling business hub of Rosebank.
We then set out to explore a section of the neighbourhood focusing on one of Rosebank’s most distinctive features – its identity as Joburg’s art district. Besides for being a major shopping and commercial hub Rosebank is a lifestyle precinct, with a growing residential population and one of the largest concentration of art galleries in South Africa. Just a two block walk from central Rosebank is Keyes Art Mile, Rosebank’s art and design centre. Walking between these parts of Rosebank is not something people are usually encouraged to do – Joburg is a city of cars and even two blocks is considered worth the drive if you have the wheels. The walk fulfilled another aim of the event, to demonstrate Rosebank’s walkability. This is a key feature of the neighbourhood and something to be celebrated in a city that often does not put pedestrians first.
The first stop at Keyes Art Mile was Everard Read Gallery, Joburg’s oldest art gallery and one of its most beautiful art spaces, combining a heritage home with a modern extension to create a space of tranquility on a busy street. The gallery represents many established artists and is one of the city’s major galleries, with a concentration on fine art, painting, sculpture and works on paper.
By contrast the next stop, the pioneering TMRW Gallery in the Trumpet Building across the road from Everard Read Gallery, gave the group some insights into the global future of art. TMRW focuses on producing original work with artists using the tools and technologies of the fourth industrial Revolution, a buzz phrase more easily understood when you get to experience artistic experiments in augmented reality, projections, and virtual reality artworks.
We also visited SMAC Gallery in The Trumpet building of Keyes Art Mile where the focus is on African contemporary art.
The walk series is designed to fit into the hotels’ working day – a two-hour experience before lunchtime, so the last stop was at Mesh Club and Mix Cocktail Bar where one of Joburg’s most innovative mixologists Devin Cross served up a refreshing mocktail using some of the bar’s unique ingredients and techniques.
As part of Johannesburg In Your Pocket’s mission to share the best Joburg experiences we teamed up with the Gauteng Summer Cup and all participants were given double tickets to the summer garden at this year’s event – Joburg’s most fashionable horseracing day.
Some feedback we received from the day –
Q: Did you learn something new about the neighbourhood?
“Rosebank is actually safe to walk around and explore on foot.”
“Absolutely, I recently moved to the Rosebank area and I didn’t know the history and the beautiful spots around the area. This tour had so much insight and I am more confident to talk about Rosebank with my guests and fellow colleagues.”
“Yes, the fact that there is so much to explore in Rosebank and I was not even aware of it.”
Q: Would you recommend the lunchtime walkabout to your colleagues and why?
“I will gladly recommend them to join the lunchtime walkabout because it will keep them updated and as well as give an opportunity to network with the other concierges.”
“Yes, because like me i don’t think they know that Rosebank has more than just hotels and malls to offer.”
- The next walk is being planned for mid-November and will also take place in the Rosebank neighbourhood. If your hotel would like to participate please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.