Airport Convenience – City Lodge at Johannesburg International Airport in South Africa

Are you heading to South Africa soon? Is your overseas flight arriving late at Johannesburg Airport in South Africa? Maybe you are connecting with a domestic or another African flight the next day? If so, consider staying at City Lodge at OR Tambo International Airport for both convenience and value.

Not only will you save money by foregoing the expense of a taxi to an outside hotel, but you will have the added convenience of already being at the airport.

For those staying in South Africa, it is the gateway to many African safaris that showcase the diverse animal life in Southern Africa. Johannesburg can also be the departure point for flights to Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia, for even for more varied African experiences.

An orange sunset in South Africa with an elephant profile in silhouette


The City Lodge is attached to the airport and you can walk there without ever leaving the airport and without going outside. It’s also possible to leave your bags on the luggage cart and take it all the way to the elevator entrance of the hotel.

Follow the airport signs or ask one of the many personnel who work at the airport. They will point you in the right direction. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from the international arrivals.

I checked in at around 9 pm and was somewhat dismayed to see about 30 people ahead of me. Unfortunately, there were only about 5 reception desks available. My wait was about 1 hour. Just be prepared that check-in may be less than efficient, but it does work. The problem seems to be when several flights come in together, the desk can get overwhelmed. Patience is the key. On the positive side, the reception desk is open 24-hours.

The airport hotel is located close to International Terminal Duty Free Mall.  As it caters to international travelers, City Lodge features a terrace, dry cleaning/laundry services, and amenities to meet most travelers needs. The onsite restaurant, #Cafe, features brunch and is an affordable alternative to the menu. However, service tends to be slow.

Popular Amenities

Popular amenities include an outdoor pool, a 24-hour gym, restaurant, snack bar/deli, and a bar/lounge. And of course, free WiFi is available in the rooms and throughout most of the property.

Additional perks include:
• An outdoor pool with sun loungers
• Buffet breakfast (surcharge), self parking (surcharge), and luggage storage
• Tour/ticket assistance, a TV in the lobby, and a 24-hour front desk
• A vending machine, 5 meeting rooms, and a front-desk safe

• Laundry facilities
• Safe at front desk

Guest services
• Daily housekeeping
• Dry cleaning/laundry service
• Tour and ticket assistance

Room Features

Queen bed with chair, table, and desk

The hotel has 303 rooms, configured for single, double, and queen beds. It offers comforts such as laptop-compatible safes and air conditioning.

All rooms include coffee/tea makers, daily housekeeping, and desks.

 The Bathroom

Bathrooms are outfitted with separate showers and tubs. Depending on your floor, you might have to wait several minutes before you get hot water for your shower.

Modular see-through shower stall
Sink and tub

The Food

Outdoor dining by pool

Seating for all meals is available outside by the pool or inside with air-conditioning. Fee for buffet breakfast is ZAR 175 per person (South African Rand). That is about $9.75 USD.

Be advised that service tends to be slow, so if you are time-constrained, you may want to opt for the dinner buffet as well. Food is what you might expect at an airport hotel. Not exceptional, but not bad either.

The Reservation

The City Lodge is quite the value at around $124 per night (includes taxes and fees), and it can be booked on Expedia,, or your favorite booking site. Rooms are non-smoking, twin or double room.  Queen rooms are a bit more. However, at the time of this review, the hotel has yet to offer King-size bedrooms. You can also make reservations directly with the hotel.

For a review of another African property, an intimate bush camp in Kenya, check this out on Hotel Scoop.

The author stayed two separate times at City Lodge. One night upon arrival late in the evening with a domestic connection the next day. And the other time was when she flew to Johannesburg for her evening flight back to the United States. This time she procured a day room. Both were at her expense, with no subsidies or discounts involved.  As always, all opinions are those of the author.  All photos are by writer/photographer Karin Pezo.

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