The Traveling Steve's

Welcome to Johannesburg!

After traveling since last Friday, we arrived at our hotel in Johannesburg Monday morning around 9:30am.  We checked in the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, and fortunately our room was available at this early check-in hour.  We had reserved a standard room, but with my Hyatt Globalist status we were upgraded to a one bedroom suite, room number 417.  This would be one of three rooms we would have before the day was over!  More on that in a moment.

After getting our bags delivered to the room and passports secured in the safe, we headed up to the 8th floor Grand Club, Hyatt’s Concierge lounge where we had breakfast.  We were a bit tired from the trip, but the coffee, Diet Coke, and breakfast helped perk us up a bit. 


After breakfast we walked around the adjacent and attached mall area a bit for some fresh air.  We had stayed at this hotel a year ago June on our last trip here, so we knew the immediate area pretty well.  The mall complex (actually two) had everything we needed for a couple days, restaurants, shops, outdoor courtyard etc, and like last time we we’re too keen on venturing out around town on our own.  The security was very good at the hotel and the mall and outdoor courtyard areas. and the elevators at the hotel required guest key access for all floors.  Our driver from the airport had warned us not to take taxis or Uber, and to only use prearranged transportation should we want to head out.  Like last time, we didn’t have any issues, but as we were tired from a couple days of travel we weren’t up to venturing out anyway.

We walked around long enough to have our first lunch at Burger King (surprise, surprise knowing me and fast food), and then headed back to the hotel for a shower and long nap.  We rested for a few hours and got dressed for dinner and a stop at the Concierge Lounge (Regency Club).  The Lounge offers complimentary h’ors dourves from 6 to 8pm, and our dinner reservation at the The Grille (in the nearby mall) was for 7:30pm.

Fortunately I went to shave before going up to the Club as I hadn’t shaved since Friday and it was starting to look scruffy. I say fortunately as it’s actually a funny story, but wouldn’t have been if I had shaved earlier before napping, or worse at night after dinner.  The faucet in the bathroom would not turn off and I couldn’t stop the water from filling up the sink.  Steve (DOS) thought he’d fix it, but he couldn’t stop the water either, and even with the stopper pulled out the water was gushing so fast it so overflowed onto the floor! 

I immediately called the Front Desk, and they said they’d send someone right up.  Five minutes later I called again, and DOS went down to the front desk to explain the urgency of the matter – by now the water was soaking the carpet and almost out to the hallway!  The manager seemed more concerned about us; offering to switch our room, but DOS said we’d take care of that later – they first had to stop the water from running and ruining the carpet.

 A maintenance man eventually came to our room, and while he couldn’t shut off the faucet either, he was able to turn off the water main to our room by removing a hall door panel which had the cutoff switch.  Since the carpet was soaked and the floor tiles were covered with towels, we did switch rooms to the room directly below us; suite 317.  A bellman assisted us with our luggage, and fortunately we didn’t start unpacking in room 317, as the bathroom ceiling was leaking from the light fixture from our room above!

We switched rooms for a third time to Suite 522, which was actually a bit nicer as it had a balcony overlooking the front entrance of the hotel, and also a sunroom type area in front of it.  Three times is a charm!

After dressing for dinner, we stopped by the 8th floor Hyatt Regency Club for pre-dinner drinks and light hor d’ourves.  

We then walked over to the The Grillehouse Restaurant, located in the adjacent mall area, with enclosed indoor access.  We had eaten at the Grillehouse before, and it’s one of Johannesburg’s best steak restaurants, but is very reasonably priced. We had appetizers, salad, steak, and dessert, paired with a South African Cabernet Sauvignon we chose from the indoor cellar. 

Unlike the United States, the wines are quite inexpensive, and we had a great quality 2013 Cabernet for 700 rand, which equates to approximately $49 US, which would easily be double that in price back home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, and even for a Monday night the restaurant was packed.  The area we are staying in is a business center, and we saw several large most likely corporate groups dining in semi-private rooms, as well as business people meeting for dinner after work or to conduct business.  We had gotten to the restaurant on time at 7:30pm, but somehow (once again) DOS and I were literally the last people to leave the restaurant!  

We weren’t being rushed at all, however when we did leave, the waiter literally closed and locked the door behind us!  LOL!  It was only around 10pm, and the restaurant advertises the hours ‘until late’; I guess that depends on the day of the week with business people heading to bed earlier than the weekend crowd.

Anyway, it was a fun first night of dining in Johnannesburg.

The next day we took it easy as well, as we were still catching up on the six hour time change.  We again had breakfast at the hotel, and later walked around the mall area for quite awhile; both indoor and outside.  After an afternoon nap we headed back to the Grand Club for drinks at 6pm, and then to dinner at Vino Pizza, a pizza and wine bar restaurant also in the attached mall area, but down the street a bit. 

DOS and I both had meat-lovers type pizza, and share an inexpensive bottle of South African red wine as well.

On Wednesday morning, we had an early 6:30am breakfast in the Grand Club at the Hyatt before checking out.  As we were the only people in there at this early hour, I took a few photos of the buffet spread and lounge, and the morning sunrise as seen from our room.

We then checked out and met our driver, Brandon, who had picked us up at the airport on our Monday arrival.  Fortunately with a little bit of re-arranging, all of our luggage and us fit inside his Toyota Corolla.  We had a bit of traffic to the airport, but still arrived in 40 minutes or so around 8am for our 9:50pm flight.

We said bye to Brandon and took a selfie photo with him on our way to the terminal.

The Johannesburg two day ‘rest portion’ of our trip was over, but now the new Safari adventure is a short plane ride away.

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