The 131-room voco The Bank luxury hotel – the InterContinental Hotel Group’s first voco in Africa – officially opens to guests tomorrow (February 1).

Situated in the trendy suburb of Rosebank Johannesburg, the hotel – managed locally by Valor Hospitality – appealed to international and domestic leisure and corporate travellers, said GM, Jessica Redinger, speaking to Tourism Update ahead of the launch.

“Our location is our biggest selling point. We are within walking distance of the Gautrain station, and close to several multinational, regional and national headquarters. We are also in the heart of Johannesburg’s art district, are surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the city and within 100 metres of the African craft market, Rosebank Mall and The Zone shopping centres as well as the popular Rosebank rooftop market held every Sunday,” she said.

Notably, the mixed-use building also houses Proud Mary restaurant, wine bar and coffee shop  on the ground floor – which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner for hotel guests – and Workshop17 on the first floor, a co-working space that offers day and night eventing, with a café and working bar on the first floor, private offices, meeting rooms and members’ lounges.

The hotel, restaurant and co-working space are separate entities that offer complementary services to their respective guests, explained Redinger, pointing out that Proud Mary also offered in-room dining for voco guests.

The two top floors of the 12-storey building are taken up by corporate tenants. The other floors house the hotel rooms. Rosebank regulars may recognise the building, which had been home to FNB bank since the 1970s. But the building was gutted and six more floors added to create the funky architectural design that it is now.

Unashamedly luxurious

The hotel is unashamedly luxurious and personal, with Redinger and her team sparing no detail in creating a bespoke experience for every guest. “We try to glean as much information about our guests before they come so we can tailor-make the experience for them,” she explained.

This includes leaving a Runner’s World magazine in the guest’s room if they’re an avid runner, hooking them up with a local running group or stocking the mini bar with their favourite brand of MCC. A guest preference planner form is sent out prior to the guest checking in and asks leading questions, including a choice of pillow (from memory foam to duck down).

“The little things are what set a hotel apart,” said Redinger, noting that voco The Bank prided itself on the 750 pieces of original art by South African artists that were curated especially for the property.

IHG’s voco brand was established in 2018 and there are currently 25 properties open around the world, with 50 more in the pipeline (in various stages of development), according to Redinger.

She said all the voco hotels combined the reassurance of a big brand with the informality and charm of an individual hotel.

Personal perspective

Tourism Update was invited to spend a night at the hotel prior to opening and was struck by the fact that each room also has original art by a variety of artists.

The name, voco, means ‘to invite’ and ‘call together’ originating from Latin, representing the brand’s thoughtful, unstuffy and charming nature.

The décor is modern, quirky and comfortable, offering special little extras, like a Nespresso machine, a steam iron, blackout curtains, sound-proofing, a sustainable air conditioning system and amazing amenities (the luxury Antipodes range crafted in New Zealand using ingredients from nature).

Service levels were exceptional – from the concierge to front office staff to the valet parking – which spoke not only of the passion and commitment of Redinger’s team but also to the high levels of training offered by the IHG Group.

Proud Mary restaurant.

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