The May 25 official launch of voco The Bank, in the edgy precinct of Cradock Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg has significance beyond the hotel’s opening.
It is also the opening of a platform for the trendsetting brand to go out into the rest of Africa, according to Haitham Mattar, IHG’s MD IMEA. IHG owns the voco brand along with 16 others like Intercontinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Six Senses and others.
Mattar told Tourism Update that IHG is already in discussions for a similar venture in Nairobi, and although it is early to talk about it, a voco Cape Town is definitely in the pipeline.
“Africa is a huge focus for IHG and for the voco brand,” said Mattar.
Why open a hotel after the two years of hell the local hotel industry has endured?
Mattar said that the current situation is temporary. “Market recovery is already taking place globally, especially in the US. Demand is coming back strongly, and we will get more flights to South Africa.”
“Covid did change a lot, and some features will stay. Virtual meetings were accelerated by Covid, but not all meetings are virtual,” said Mattar
The word “voco” means “invite” and the hotel’s lobby is indeed very inviting, funnelling the arriving guest into the buzzing interior – there is a lively bar on one side where locals gather. It’s different from the lobbies of many other hotels, enticing guests to go and join the fun. The decor reflects voco’s relaxed lifestyle philosophy. Vintage elements and lots of local art make for a “cool” atmosphere without grandiose pretensions. Mattar described the ethos as “non-traditional, fun and informal”.
The hotel is a short walk to Rosebank’s many and varied shopping areas and restaurants. But it also has the hottest and most trendy restaurant in Johannesburg on its own premises – Proud Mary.
It also gives corporate guests access to a Workshop17, an expansive co-working area with excellent meeting spaces and streaming wifi, so a workcation with a few meetings and a few days of work is no problem. Its relaxed and playful atmosphere means it is popular for longer stays.
The hotel group says it has three highlights for guests at a voco Hotel:
*Come on in: A warm welcome from a voco Hotels host and a locally-inspired treat to make it special. Each voco Hotel has its own sense of style and individual character.
*Me time: A comfy room is an opportunity to unwind and relax, with plush bedding and high quality, large-size bathroom products – good for guests, and the planet.
*voco life: social vibrancy is the DNA of voco Hotel’s restaurant and bar philosophy. Each hotel offers energising, spirited spaces where guests can celebrate the most joyful moments in life.