Hotel check: Protea Hotel OR Tambo


What ’s it like ?

The hotel is designed around an airport warehouse. It has a contemporary feel about it, from the openplan rooms, to the relaxed-style restaurant. From the outside, it is an impressive-looking hotel, still under a year old and not showing any signs of ageing.

Where is it ?

The hotel is located in Kempton Park, and is quite literally across the road from the airport – you can stand in the gardens and watch planes taxi in and out from the runways. From the hotel, it should only take you about 35 minutes to get to Sandton on the highway. Alternatively, you can also take the Gautrain from the Rhodesfield Station, only 800m down the road. The hotel offers complimentary shuttles to the station, and once on the train it takes only 12 minutes to the Sandton Station. You should be aware, however, that on weekends the stations are busy and it could take up to an hour before you board a train. If you are on your way back from Sandton and decide to catch the bus from the station to the hotel, be sure to tell your driver you want the number 4 stop, otherwise you will get a scenic tour of Kempton Park!

Room Facilities

The Protea Hotel OR Tambo comprises 213 bedrooms. The rooms are all en suite, whether you choose the twin or double rooms. There are 107 Business Class Twin rooms, 59 Business Class King rooms, 42 First Class King rooms, four Universal rooms suitable for disabled guests, and one Suite. Sound-proof windows ensure that you are not bothered by the planes taking off and landing across the highway. However, I found that the doors were not as sound-proof and that if other guests were up early, you could hear them as they moved along the passage.

All the rooms have flat-screen TVs with a selection of DStv channels, electronic safes, desk and chair, tea and coffee facilities, and 100MB complimentary wireless Internet per day. I stayed in a Business Class Twin room. All the rooms are open-plan, including the shower and basin. A curtain is used as a room divider between the shower and the beds. However, if one of you has decided to shower, then the other person is unable to go anywhere, as the shower itself is made of clear glass. There was also a lack of places to hang your towel up, and an extractor fan would have been useful for after someone has showered. The openplan design extends to the cupboards and shelves, as there are no doors there, leaving no imagination as to where the room safe might be. The features and colour scheme of the room were lovely, and it is a clever idea to have the TV set into the wall, so that you do not have to worry about knocking it as you walk past.

Restaurants and Bars

The restaurant at the hotel is called The Warehouse, following through with the décor of the rest of the hotel. The bar is on the other side of the walkway through to the outside of the hotel and the pool. You can sit facing the window and see the tail-lights of the planes as they come and go. The 24-hour deli is next to the restaurant, serving gourmet sandwiches and other light meals. Typically, there is an à la carte menu to order from at The Warehouse, but when there is a large group of guests, as there was during my stay, the restaurant offers a buffet dinner.

Business and meeting facilities

The hotel offers top-notch conference facilities, with a self-contained conference centre with two multi-use rooms, seating up to 150 delegates. There are two executive boardrooms for more intimate meetings of 20-40 delegates. Inside the main hotel, there is another multi-use executive boardroom that can seat another 30-60 delegates.

Leisure Facilities

There is a private gym located on the ground floor, behind the bar. The swimming pool is heated, with sun loungers built inside, so you can feel as though you are in the pool without getting wet.


They say that first impressions last the longest – however, with the Protea Hotel OR Tambo, my second impression will be the one that I remember. After a few false starts, the hotel proved itself of its status, and it was an enjoyable experience. It is a hotel designed for ease when travelling, with little fuss, or pomp and circumstance.

Tel: +27 11 977 2600,

Kirsti Brocklehurst