Hotel check: Intercontinental O.R. Tambo



Having missed an afternoon flight and only due to take the next flight out the following morning, I decided on the ‘walk-in’ approach at South Africa’s only luxury airport hotel. This InterContinental is operated by South African hotel group Tsogo Sun.

Where Is It?

The hotel is 70 metres from the international arrivals hall, adjacent to one of the main parking garages, and a couple of minutes’ walk from both domestic and international departures. It’s a similar walk to the Gautrain station, which connects passengers with Sandton, Pretoria and the CBD.


The hotel has 138 rooms, made up of 109 Deluxe (32m2) and 27 Executive (44m2) rooms, and two Presidential suites. They’ve settled on a nice size with the Executive rooms – small enough to ensure that no space is wasted, but large enough to ensure you don’t feel cramped. As it is, the king-size bed forms the centrepiece, but there is still space in the corner for a coffee table and chairs, and you don’t get the feeling the bed is wedged up against the TV. On arrival, the coffee table displayed a selection of inviting sweet treats and this was welcome, as was the amount of complimentary bottled water. I liked the location of the desk next to the bed, facing away from the flat-screen TV, which I find can be a distraction. Something you don’t see that often is a trouser press, which I thought was a nice addition, as was the Nespresso coffee machine, whilst the complimentary Wi-Fi was easy to use and the connection was speedy – all ‘business travel-friendly’ elements. I also liked the large bathroom with separate bath and large rain shower, along with fluffy white towels. Other features included mini-bar, DVD player, cupboard, electronic safe, 24-hour room service, same-day dry cleaning, and a wake-up facility, which I made use of. All in all, a very comfortable and quiet (thanks to soundproofing) space, just metres from the airport terminal.

Restaurants & Bars

Quills Restaurant is open 24 hours a day and specialises in local foods such as springbok, warthog, kudu and crocodile, paired with South African wines. It also has a terrace, if you prefer dining ‘al fresco’. For dinner, I went with the beef fillet, which was herb crumbed with basil and tomato caprese, carrot and potato lasagna, truffle tapioca, tender broccoli stems, and Ramos Pinto jus. Quite a meal and done to perfection, medium-rare. I also liked that the chef came out to talk me through the menu – a nice personal touch. The other main courses on the menu included a lamb rack, duck confit, chicken supreme, venison loin, kingklip, Scottish salmon, a seafood platter, and three different pastas. Just a heads-up that the menu is fairly pricey, so make sure the company is paying! Quills also has a bar and it’s a pretty inviting space, if you fancy a drink. It’s also a good space for meetings, as is the lobby area, and offers an all-day snack menu.

Meeting & Conference Facilities

The hotel has seven boardrooms and two conference rooms, and can cater for between 10 and 100 delegates. It can also accommodate up to 140 guests for cocktail functions in the private Savuti Restaurant. All rooms are fully-equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, including complimentary Wi-Fi and data projectors. The conference centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Parking is obviously not an issue and the hotel also has a business centre.


Obviously not a focus for this property, but I did make use of the gym facilities, on the top floor and with quite a nice, expansive view of the airport and surrounds. The same floor has the Camelot Health Spa, a sauna and an indoor heated pool with a similar view.


Impressive service, excellent food and a comfortable space, if you have a night to kill at the airport and fancy a 5-star experience, as opposed to something in the budget range.

Dylan Rogers

O.R. Tambo International Airport
Tel: +27 11 961 5400