The Spinning Compass | Johannesburg


March 29, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

It was my first official trip to Jo’burg and I must say I was pleased.  We have driven to the airport a few times but never really spent time in the city to see all that it has to offer.  I must say I was impressed.  I always here nightmarish stories about carjackings, bad areas, etc so I was nervous when we made my doctors appointment in Sandton, but Swazi just didn't have the specialist that I needed, so we had no choice to go to Jo’burg (or we could have flown back to the states).  We decided to make a weekend of it, the appointment was around Justin’s break for easter (we didn’t know this when the appointment was made), so we got a room at the Michelangelo Hotel for the few days that we had to be there (day 1 was a scan at 7am, day two was originally the procedure but it got moved to day 3). So we had most of the day 1 and all of day 2 to explore the city. 

First the hotel:

Michelangelo is not cheap but is extremely nice and well worth the money.   The hotel itself is just beautiful, it has that old world classic feel to it. The rooms are elegant.  The staff was one of a kind.  The room service was amazing.  The hotel is connected with the Mandela Square, so you literally walk out of the hotel into the shopping areas.  My only complaint is that the parking isn’t free, it is secure and safe, but it isn’t free and every morning we had issues with our ticket and had to get help with exciting the parking deck.

Mandela Square:

It was nice, several buildings were under construction so it was a little hectic and dirty in some areas.

The shopping area:

Wonderful selections of eateries and shopping.  We found stores that we love: Victoria Secrets (although it was just the make up/perfume part of their line), Nike, etc.  The shopping centers are all modern and everyone was pleasant.

Every store we went in people asked where were we from because of course we didn’t sound like South Africans and when we would say the US, conversations immediately were struck.  We were in a coin store in the mall and we stood there and talked to them a good 15 minutes, they ended up giving us a coin to bring back with us. 

We found a vape shop in another mall at the Melrose Arch.  Again the staff was so friendly.

Eating out:

We had Chinese food at one of the places in the food court – I have missed my General Tso chicken and they had something similar so I was in heaven with that place.  It broke our healthy diet but it was worth it.

We ate at the Hardrock Café and I am always pleased with their selections.  The staff were very friendly.

We got some sweet treats from the Bread Basket Bakery.  Again we totally broke our diet but we were on a medical vacation retreat so we could splurge right?  We tried their Baklava, Coconut thingy’s, Lemon Pies and Pecan Pies… Absolutely Delicious!!!!

We were able to go to the Lion Park, which I wrote about in another blog.  That was a great visit to say the least.

We drove around trying to find several buildings that I wanted to get photographs of but the GPS wouldn’t pick up any locations and I heard enough stories to know that you don’t want to drive aimlessly around the city.  So we will do this again another day.

Overall I must say that we had a very pleasant stay and plan to return many times if possible. (and my appointments went as well as expected)


We had to go back for a follow up and since the appointment was early morning we had to stay another night, so we tried the Radison near where we stayed last time.  This place was the opposite of the Michelangelo, it was a modern flare.  The staff were extremely friendly and the food was amazing.  It was much cheaper than the Michelangelo and worth every penny.  We will definitely stay here again. 

We plan to go back and explore because Johannesburg is just a beautiful city with a lot of culture and future.  I want to see as much that we can possibly see before we leave Swaziland and South Africa, so stay tuned.


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