The latest addition to the popular Once in Cape Town brand, Once in Joburg is hard to ignore when you visit in Johannesburg. The TripAdvisor reviews speak for themselves, with a 5 star rating and reviewers commenting on the hotel-quality rooms, Once in Joburg is definitely worth checking out on a visit to the city.
Once in Joburg is easy to find and well-located. A professional and spacious reception area allows for plenty of room to move around and you feel comfortable and welcomed instantly.
On check-in, staff provide a welcome kit with your room key, Wi-Fi password, breakfast vouchers and local tour information. There is also an activity board right at the exit so you can quickly see what is on each day and staff are always on hand and available. Staff wear uniforms as well so you can easily spot who works there, a huge positive that you don’t often see in a lot of hostels.
Modern en-suite rooms
Once in Joburg offers private rooms and four-bed dorms, both mixed and female-only. Dorms have custom made beds, all with individual charging stations and lights. All rooms have air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms with a shower and toilet so even if you’re in a dorm, you will only have to share with three other people.
Private rooms are where Once in Joburg excels, and if you’re in the market for a private room then you should definitely give these guys a try. Several types of private rooms are on offer, including twin, double and family-sized rooms. Facilities are considered four-star and I could see why. All rooms come with air-conditioning, a flatscreen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, a hanging space and shelves for your clothes and a safe.
The bathrooms are modern and well-designed. Moreover, roomy showers are perfect for getting your morning started right!
Price-wise, Once is higher than you’ll experience when travelling around most of South Africa but comparable to other hostels in Joburg and other large cities like Cape Town and Durban. For the four-bed dorm, it’s cheaper than its closest competitor in Maboneng and offers extras like complimentary breakfast, air-conditioning and an en-suite.
The private rooms are definitely worth the cost based on hotel prices in the local area and around Johannesburg. These are some of the best privates you’ll see in any hostel around the world.
Once in Joburg includes a light breakfast as part of their room rate, served by The Immigrant, the in-house restaurant. This is a great service that will make your integration into the city a lot easier. You don’t need to go wandering the streets looking for something to eat first thing in the morning and in a city like Johannesburg, this is definitely a huge positive. Navigating the urban streets can be overwhelming for a first-time visitor and it’s a great idea to offer breakfast in-house.
The breakfast option includes a hot drink of your choice, juice, piece of fruit and either a bagel with a spread or muesli with yoghurt. As usual, Once have thought of every little detail, providing a breakfast voucher in the welcome kit where you can tick your choices and hand it in when you order breakfast. The light breakfast should be enough for most people and is available as a take-away option for those on the go.
There are several bars and restaurants located in the same complex as Once, along with The Immigrant, so you never have to walk very far to find something to eat.
The common area in Once in Joburg is located in a large space on the first floor. There’s a shared kitchen and lots of seating space with comfy couches, bean bags and hammocks.
There’s a well-stocked book exchange as well as a pool table to help with breaking the ice with other travellers. When the weather is good, there’s also a large balcony sitting area for guests to enjoy the Joburg sunshine with a cold drink.
Unlike most hostels, the common area and adjacent bar and restaurant are located on separate floors. This can make it difficult for guests to see “what’s happening” and who’s around. Once in Joburg does its best to counteract this design layout by being proactive with fun activities to get their guests together every day.
Once’s activity board is full of organised activities and suggested things to do. This included quirky “off the beaten track” suggestions and once-off and regular events happening in the local area. A free activity was offered each day with events like walking tours, an excursion to the Botanical Gardens and a fun Instagram Graffiti Walk.
Paid tours and activities can be arranged at reception as they have a full concierge service. Once can help with car rentals and booking tickets for the local red bus tour, Kruger National Park or Pilansberg safaris and tours to Soweto. Staff are well trained in what is on offer and know the local area.
Free Wi-Fi is provided and the connection is fast. There are also large meeting rooms that can be used when you need some extra quiet or a place to work. This is great for digital nomads, as you can spend a whole day there working without any distraction.
Modern design, clean facilities, best location, excellent staff!
Once in Joburg has one of the largest and best designed common areas in a hostel. The lack of internal bar and restaurant and the common area being on a separate floor has the potential of reducing the interaction amongst travellers but the regular activities organised by the hostel help combat this.
Private rooms are the great strength of Once in Joburg and are highly recommend. You’ll be more than comfortable in the oasis that they’ve created after spending a day exploring the urban sights of Johannesburg.
Modern design, clean facilities, the best location and excellent staff make this hostel a great choice for most travellers and is highly recommended.