We’ve given up on the Monday to Friday office commute in 2021, and instead taken our office on the road, combining home office life with working from a new Joburg hotel space every Monday.
The In Your Pocket Roaming Office also presents an opportunity for us to get fresh insights into what’s new at the city’s hotels after lockdown, and share some inspiration with you on how to bring your remote team together for your own ”Office Day”, or plan something more social.
Our Roaming Office has now taken us to 11 different hotels in Joburg this year so far, here’s a look at where we’ve been working from this month.
Home Suite Hotel Bristol, Rosebank
April 06, 2021: This chic boutique hotel in Parkwood, a short walk from the centre of Rosebank, gets it right every time when it comes to creating an atmosphere of ease. Home Suite Hotel Bristol is tastefully furnished (all by Tonic Interiors), its design touches complemented by a collection of contemporary art that flows into the rooms and across the hotel, and the team here are utterly charming and ready to fill just about any request (all by What’s App, which makes it all super efficient too).
The meeting space: The hotel has a spacious fully equipped meeting room that reflects the chic breezy style of the property. There are artworks and bright pops of colour, and a large adjoining outdoor balcony terrace for enjoying fine weather. We loved the coffee available in the room with our favourite Father Coffee beans.
What’s for lunch: We originally planned for lunch on the hotel’s fab rooftop terrace although the weather wasn’t playing ball. Instead, we enjoyed lunch at the casual cafe area downstairs. We can vouch that when they say they offer the “ultimate” cheese toastie, they’re not kidding. The excellent quinoa, cranberry and spinach salad was still being discussed by our team several days later and we even tried, almost successfully, to make it at home.
What we liked most about working there: They really put the home in hotel here. On arrival the friendly team shared a whatsapp number so we could buzz in any requests through the day and also apologised that as we were late the freshly baked croissants waiting in the meeting room had cooled down, “We love the room to smell like fresh pastries when you walk in” they told us!
Protea Hotel Balalaika, Sandton Central
April 12, 2021: Sandton’s oldest hotel is in fact older than the Sandton Central business district itself. Originally a countryside tearoom, the 330-room Balalaika has managed to retain its peaceful retreat-like atmosphere, spread out across two low-rise leafy garden courtyards both with swimming pools at their centre, while around it colossal skyscrapers have mushroomed. During the 2020 lockdown the hotel had a major makeover, from the rooms to the cafe, bar and in-house restaurant, and is now looking better than ever.
The meeting space: After enjoying breakfast on the garden terrace at the newly renovated Conservatory restaurant, we spent the day working from one of the hotel’s huge meeting rooms. Throughout the day we were lavished with snacks, coffees and even a full afternoon tea spread of cakes in the meeting room by a team of welcoming staff.
What’s for lunch: We headed to the hotel’s famous Bull Run steakhouse restaurant. Steak was of course on offer although we opted instead for salads and burgers, all served in exceptionally generous portions, and made sure to try their signature creamy mushroom gnocchi too.
What we liked about working at the Protea Hotel Balalaika: We enjoyed the warmest of welcomes, staff were full of smiles and no request was too much. This hotel is very popular with international airline flight crews and enjoying breakfast among the buzz of foreign visitors reminded us how much we have been missing international tourists during this pandemic.
Protea Hotel Wanderers, Illovo
April 19, 2021: Adjoining the Wanderers Sports Club and across the road from the Imperial Wanderers stadium, this is Joburg’s only sport hotel – we even spotted former Protea Makhaya Ntini enjoying a drink at the bar. The Protea Hotel Wanderers reopened in November 2020 after an extensive renovation and practically looks like a new property. If you were here before the lockdown you would hardly recognise the place. It’s now fresh and fun, with cool outdoor spaces, a great poolside and decks overlooking the Wanderers Club.
The meeting space: As part of the renovation the hotel has added a collection of brand new meeting rooms that have that flawless fresh out of the box feel. The new AV gadgetry is also top-notch. We loved the little casting gizmo which saved all the time and bulkiness usually associated with cabling up for a presentation.
What’s for lunch: We enjoyed lunch under the trees on the hotel’s brand new super-inviting pool deck terrace looking out over the suburbs, while some lovely French visitors in their bikinis enjoying Joburg’s autumn rays, were nearby. It gave us hope for tourism. The light lunch menu was fresh and well presented, with the schnitzel sandwich on freshly baked bread a highlight.
What we liked most about working at Protea Hotel Wanderers: The freshness of the space, everything is brand-spanking new. The service was also super smooth with a smile, the revamp of the hotel has given the staff an evident boost too.
This month we visited 3 hotels but for May will be back to weekly visits now that the disruption of South Africa’s bazillion April public holidays is passed. Not that we are complaining. You can follow our journey on social media, at our Instagram here. And see where else we have worked since we started our roaming office in March 2021 here and February 2021 here.
ABOUT THE ROAMING OFFICE: As with all our content, opinions are our own and our reviews are independently written by In Your Pocket’s team of writers. If you would like to invite the Johannesburg In Your Pocket team to visit your hotel and review your offerings as part of the Roaming Office, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.