In February 2021 we launched the In Your Pocket roaming office, taking our team on the move every Monday to work together from a different Joburg hotel, while spending the rest of the week living that digital nomad, work-from-home life.
Our roaming office has now taken us to 15 different Joburg hotels, both large and small, in neighbourhoods across the city, helping us remain a physical team (as opposed to just those little icons on the screen yelping ‘can you hear me?!’) while also giving us the chance to explore what’s now on offer at Joburg’s hotels.
To kick start your next #OfficeDay inspiration or give you some ideas about where to host your next social get together, here’s a look at where we’ve been in May.
Hotel Sky, Sandton Central
May 3, 2021: Hotel Sky opened in late 2020 and is determined to shake up the Sandton Central hotel scene, offering a 5-Star location at 3-star prices. The decor is wild and outrageous – everywhere you look there’s zebra and leopard prints (even on the ceilings), rainforest wallpaper, blinging gold glitter tiles, chandeliers – and because, why not? – there’s also a robot who will greet you in the lobby and answer your questions (about the hotel, don’t confuse her with the meaning of life).
The meeting space: We spent the day working from one of the six boardrooms on the top floor with views of the district. In terms of technology this is one of the best connected hotels we’ve worked from yet. We loved the high-tech Samsung flip chart, a nifty ‘smart’ electronic whiteboard that is one of those fantastic gadgets that we never thought we needed until we used it ourselves.
What’s for lunch: Lunch was a casual menu of meaty fare served in the hotel’s Equinox restaurant on the first floor which is fitted with a live cooking station and also has a large outdoor terrace.
What we liked most about working here: The decor certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes but we found it a refreshing change from Sandton Central’s usual extremely corporate aesthetic. When it comes to gadgetry Hotel Sky can’t be matched – even if our robot host never did make it past the lobby!
Northcliff Boutique Hotel, Northcliff
May 10, 2021: As pure an escape as you can find in Joburg. Once you are through the gates of this small and exclusive seven-room boutique hotel on the top of the Northcliff ridge, you’ll feel as if you have driven into another world. The view is entirely uninterrupted for miles and you’ll hear nothing but the tweeting of birds.
The meeting space: We spent the day working from The Northcliff’s Cliff venue. The smallest of three function spaces in the hotel (they range in capacity from 8-10 up to 50 seated cinema style), it comes with its own lounge area and a private terrace – with a panoramic view of course.
What’s for lunch: After enjoying a beautiful spread of breakfast pastries in our meeting room, for lunch we headed next door to the Kranz restaurant. The cuisine is elegantly presented and flavourful continental fare – the sirloin steak and the braised pork belly with cauliflower puree, were both stand out dishes that we look forward to coming back for.
What we liked most about working here: The view truly is one-of-a-kind and the hotel’s focus on exclusivity only adds to your enjoyment of it. The property is only open to overnight hotel guests or those with a restaurant reservation, so you’ll also get the luxury of having that spectacular view, all to yourself.
The Indaba Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa, Fourways
May 17, 2021: The Indaba Hotel in Fourways is one of Joburg’s largest conferencing hotels and a peaceful retreat from the city too. The property was originally a large farm and spreads out over several acres filled with mature trees, plentiful birdlife and even a small dam. There’s also an excellent safari lodge styled spa, Mowana, that is landscaped around indigenous trees plus The Gin School by Inverroche where you can learn to make your own gin (read our review of this fun experience here).
The meeting space: Few hotels can challenge the Indaba for its abundance of meeting rooms and conferencing facilities. We enjoyed the use of one of their many boardrooms for the day just off their open-air Courtyard dining venue. An aircon unit that can also be turned to heat was an extra bonus as we arrived on a particularly cold day.
What’s for lunch: At Indaba the team like to ensure that you are never hungry. After a buffet breakfast at the Epsom restaurant, we also found neatly packaged personal snack boxes waiting for us in the boardoom. Then it was onto lunch under the trees at the Courtyard, where the signature Courtyard Burger has to be one of the biggest we’ve enjoyed in Joburg. And finally, to ensure we got the full Indaba experience the charming team also laid out an afternoon picnic for us by the dam after our tour of the property (!).
What we liked most about working here: The sense of being out of the city and surrounded by endless space and greenery, especially in the end of autumn when the trees were turning beautiful shades of red and gold, really left us feeling upbeat about the rest of the week. We would also like to give all the Indaba team gold stars for their consistent dedication to smooth service with a smile.
Southern Sun Hotel Rosebank
May 21, 2021: Southern Sun Rosebank (formerly known as Crown Plaza) is one of Rosebank’s biggest business hotels. In 2019 it closed for an extensive renovation, and had the misfortune of hosting its grand relaunch in February 2020. Through the past year Southern Sun Rosebank has opened and closed several times and when we visited they were preparing to become a bubble venue for visiting PSL soccer teams. The new renovation focused especially on revamping the dining venues and opening out the huge lobby into a stylish multifunctional space with work stations, lounging areas, a new look bar and casual meeting pods.
The meeting space: As the only guests, on the day we visited we were given the run of the space and invited to move around and work from wherever we pleased. After hopping from some couches to the work benches, we finally settled on the bright new meeting room just off the lobby.
What’s for lunch: For lunch we went to The Grill Jicanha, the hotel’s grillhouse restaurant (also launched as part of their 2020 rebranding). This was the only moment we came across other guests during the day – none other than DJ and presenter Anele from 947 who was having a private lunch with her radio station colleagues.
What we liked most about working here: We feel poorly placed to judge this hotel given we were the only guests, obviously the space is designed for bustle and activity. Perhaps more than any other place the Roaming Office has visited so far, at this venue we truly felt the hardships suffered by our hotel community. This said we want to commend the incredible resilience of all the hotel’s team and the attentive, eager and friendly staff who served us through the day.
The Forum | White Light, Lanseria
May 31, 2021: The Forum Company is one of Joburg’s leading events companies and the founders of the annual Turbine Art Fair (returning in September 2021). White Light in Lanseria is The Forum Company’s very own countryside gem in the heart of the Muldersdrift ‘wedding belt’. An old farm that has been transformed into an expansive landscaped property, it is home to The Forum Kitchen (open on weekends for countryside lunches), the White Light venue (with its own super romantic open-air chapel) and a collection of countryside villas and suites.
The meeting space: For the day we were treated to the use of our own four-bedroom villa (one of two on the property). Reflecting the venue’s name it is filled with light and tastefully decorated in shades of white and cerulian blues and surrounded by colourful gardens. Every bedroom has its own private terrace while the main open-plan living space also opens out onto two sunny terraces. Making sure we were kept warm, on arrival the working fireplace was already wamed up.
What’s for lunch: It’s hard not to enthuse wildly about The Forum Company’s food, so we won’t even try – suffice to say, it’s outstanding. From the presentation to the flavours and the flawless execution, everything we ate (and we ate a lot!) was fantastic. Breakfast was served at our villa – the cinammon buns were exceptional. For lunch we feasted (literally, we tried everything) at the main dining venue The Kitchen on an opulent spread of farm-fresh salads, tender brisket, pasta, succulent roasted chicken, dauphinoise potatoes, moreish cheesecake… and more.
What we liked most about working here: When you are guests of a company famed for their talents in catering and events it goes without saying that the service and food is going to be special. We have still yet to share #softlife selfies of ourselves in dressing gowns on Instagram (despite what you may think, we really do work on Mondays!) but we have to admit, for once we did actually feel tempted to dig out those bathrobes…
Catch up on where we’ve been so far
Where we worked in February: Clico Boutique Hotel (Rosebank), The Leonardo (Sandton Central), The Peech boutique hotel (Melrose), Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff (Westcliff)
Where we worked in March: Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa (Morningside), The Maslow Hotel (Sandton Central), Riboville Boutique Hotel (Waterfall), Pablo House (Melville)
Where we worked in April: Home Suite Hotel Rosebank, Protea Hotel Balalaika (Sandton Central), Protea Hotel Wanderers (Illovo)
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.