Locating a conference venue in Johannesburgis not hard to do, but finding one that offers a convenient location, excellent service and state-of-the-art facilities can be difficult. Business Traveller has identified ten of the best conferencing venues the city has to offer.
1.) Sandton Convention Centre
This multi award-winning venue offers unlimited potential with over 22 000m² of state-of-the-art meeting, exhibition and special event space. Purpose-built to international standards, it offers some of the most advanced technology available for convention and exhibition centres anywhere in the world.
Location: Located in the heart of Sandton’s hotel, business and entertainment district, its central position in Sandton provides easy access to OR Tambo International Airport in 25 minutes, the Sandton CBD, major hotels and shopping centres. The centre offers easy access to more than 5 000 hotel rooms (ranging from economy to deluxe).
Facilities: Multiple events can be staged simultaneously on four main levels and 10 000 visitors can be accommodated at any one time. The Ballroom can accommodate up to 1,500 guests for formal dinners, or, as a conference venue, can hold up to 2,400 delegates in cinema-style seating. The five versatile Committee Rooms can be set up in various configurations to accommodate up to 200 people. The magnificent Bill Gallagher Room, named after one ofSouth Africa’s most celebrated chefs, is ideal for press conferences. The Pavilion can accommodate up to 5,000 delegates for cocktails, or seat 2,500 in schoolroom style for a conference. Adjacent to the main conference level are seven boardrooms accommodating as few as 10 delegates or up to 180, for anything from high-level meetings to sub-conferences and breakaway sessions.
Perfect for: Meetings, conferences, exhibitions and special events of virtually any size and nature.
Contact details: +27 11 779 – 0000, saconvention.co.za
2.) Misty Hills Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa
This charming property is set in lush, landscaped gardens. It is an affiliate of the Warwick International group of hotels and has, over the past 15 years, been converted into a country hotel and conference centre that captures the ethos ofAfrica.
Location: Nestled at the foothills of theSwartkopMountains, on the threshold ofKromdraaiValley, and only about a 30 minute drive from Sandton and 45 minutes fromPretoria.
Facilities: Conference facilities include 19 uniquely African conference and event venues, the largest of which, the Pelindaba, seats 600 people cinema-style. There is also a lapa for outdoor gatherings and a variety of small breakaway rooms. Misty Hills Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa recently partnered with the Carnivore Restaurant to launch four conference venues that offer a relaxed, yet professional, environment. The venues are fully equipped with audiovisual equipment.
Perfect for: Business meetings, training, teambuilding exercises, small gatherings, informal gatherings.
What’s new? Last month the hotel opened a new 1000 m² air-conditioned exhibition centre that comfortably accommodates 55 exhibitor stands. It is ideally suited for small to medium-sized events. A catering service is also available.
Contact details: +27 11 950-6000 or 0861 732 237, mistyhills.co.za
3.) Indaba Hotel
The hotel’s country style, tree-lined lanes and white-washed walls welcome all visitors to a secure and tranquil environment. Apart from the extensive conference facilities, the hotel comprises 260 en suite bedrooms, restaurants, Mangwanani Private African Day Spa, two swimming pools, outdoor chess and more.
Location: Corner William Nicol Drive andPieter Wenning Road, Fourways. It is about 45 km from OR Tambo International Airport and 15 km from Lanseria and Sandton Central.
Facilities: There are over 20 conference venues that can accommodate anything from five people for a boardroom conference, to 800 theatre-style seating, or 450 for a dinner-dance. The venues include an auditorium and smaller breakaway rooms. Indaba has an outsourced audiovisual company who permanently have equipment and a technician on site.
Perfect for: Almost any function including weddings, matric farewells, corporate functions, launches, conferences, etc.
Contact details: +27 11 840-6600, indabahotel.co.za
4.) InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport
Situated at the OR Tambo International Airport, the hotel is an oasis of calm at this busy hub. The conference rooms are designed to create a luxurious and hushed environment that meets the needs of discerning business travellers, conference organisers and meeting planners.
Location: Opposite the international arrivals terminal at the OR Tambo International Airport, only 68,7m from the terminal.
Facilities: There are eight meeting rooms available, the largest accommodating 100 delegates in theatre-style, and the smallest accommodating eight in boardroom style. The equipment available includes a 35mm slide projector, cable modem, DVD player, digital projector, flipchart and markers, LCD projector, laser disc, lectern, microphone, modem lines, overhead projector, stage lights, VCR and whiteboard.
Perfect for: ‘Fly-in-meet-fly-out’ business meetings without the problems of transport, congestion and missed flights. The executive boardrooms are ideal for health professionals to fly in, meet and fly out, especially over weekends.
Contact details: +27 11 961- 5400, intercontinental.com
5.) Focus Rooms
Established primarily as a training facility in May 2008, the rooms were soon sought after for conferences. Focus Rooms is affiliated to five, five-star guesthouses within close proximity of the venue, and also offers shuttle services to these properties.
Location: Corner Kikuyu and Leeuwkop Streets, Sunninghill. It is 500m from the N1 highway and in close proximity toSunninghillHospital,MegawattPark, Montecasino and four major shopping centres. Focus Rooms is about 30 km from OR Tambo International Airport andLanseriaInternationalAirport.
Facilities: There are eight rooms that can accommodate between four and 120 delegates (cinema style). The rooms include a patio and executive boardroom. All rooms are equipped with overhead projectors, screens, PA systems, DVD/CD combos, video and teleconferencing facilities and Wi-Fi access.
Perfect for: Corporate functions, award ceremonies, cocktails, business meetings, training.
What’s new? The owners are in the process of acquiring larger facilities within the same centre to allow for bigger conferences, banqueting gala evenings and mini exhibitions.
Contact details: +27 861 115 314, focusrooms.co.za
6.) Eskom Convention Centre
The Eskom Convention Centre is a sophisticated and practical venue, landscaped with indigenous trees. Accommodation is available on the property in 551 rooms. Various recreational facilities are offered including,: squash courts, swimming pool, sports fields and a sports bar.
Location: On a 105 hectare farm in Midrand, situated about 23 km from OR Tambo International Airport.
Facilities: There are 13 syndicate rooms which can accommodate smaller meetings or workshops from as few as ten people. There are also five conference rooms seating up to 80 delegates, two auditoriums seating up to 350, and an executive boardroom with video conferencing facilities. Function venues include restaurants, a lapa and boma, and a carpeted exhibition area.
Perfect for: conferences, exhibitions, elections, banquets, computer trainings, teambuilding, and private functions.
Contact details: +27 11 651-6111, ecc.co.za
7.) Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre
The hotel opened as a one-conference and 80-guest bedroom hotel and has since grown exponentially to offer over 40 conference rooms and 450 bedrooms, and various other on-site additional services. Considered to be the largest conferencing facility inJohannesburg, it specialises in executive accommodation and conferencing.
Location: Located 7km from ORTamboInternationalAirport and 5km from theEastRandMall. It is easily accessible from the R24, R21 and N3 and can be found onViewpoint Road,Bartlett, Boksburg.
Facilities: There are 50 conference rooms and various recreational facilities available. The conference centre can cater from board meetings of between four and 12 people, to training sessions of up to 1500 delegates. Some of the other facilities and services available include: three on-site restaurants, a spa, gym, business lounge, shuttle service, tour operator, car hire and more.
Perfect for: Business meetings, training, launches, teambuilding, banquets, etc
What’s new? Last year saw the opening of the African Theme restaurant, Phomolong. By June this year, Birchwood will add on another 212 rooms, making the total 662 rooms.
Contact details: +27 11 897-0000, birchwoodhotel.co.za
8.) Halfway Toyota Fourways @ The Arena
This property was originally established as Extreme Sixteen, before being taken over by Nissan. In October 2007, Halfway Toyota took occupancy of the venue, and it is now known as Halfway Toyota Fourways @ The Arena.
Location: Corner William Nicol and Leslie Roads in Fourways. The venue is about two minutes from Montecasino, 15 minutes fromSandtonCity, and 30 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport.
Facilities: State-of-the-art auditorium that holds up to 50 delegates, and two boardrooms seating 14 and 12 delegates. All of the rooms have screens, projectors and sound. The venue offers in-house catering, a café and an African-themed restaurant.
Perfect for: Corporate events, private functions and executive meetings, teambuilding.
What’s new? Video conferencing equipment was recently installed and the 4×4 track was renovated to make it technically advanced.
Contact details: +27 11 317 8825/28, halfway4ways.co.za
9.) MTN Expo Centre
The MTN Expo Centre is the largest exhibition, conference and events venue inSouthern Africa, offering over 42 000 m² of indoor floor space and over 40 000 m² of outdoor multi-purpose space. It is recognised as the ‘home ground’ of the annual Rand Show.
Location: Corner Rand Show and Nasrec Roads, easily accessible from main highways and only 30 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport.
Facilities: The indoor space includes six exhibition halls and more than ten conference facilities that can seat anything from ten to 10 000 delegates.
Perfect for: The venue was designed to host an array of events, from exhibitions and conferences, to concerts and sporting events.
What’s new? The venue underwent a major refurbishment in preparation to host the International Broadcast Centre during the 2010 World Cup. The refurbishment included installation of up-to-date telecommunication systems and high definition televisions. All the hall entrances have been enclosed with glass, and lighting has been enhanced. The Bateleur and Black Eagle conference facilities have been upgraded and the landscaping in and round the venue has been revamped.
Contact details: +27 11 494 1920, expocentre.co.za
10.) Gold Reef City
Located in theGoldReefCityTheme Park, the Oppenheimer Conference and Banqueting Centre provides a unique venue that whisks guests away into a bygone era when gold was first discovered inJohannesburg. The park offers a range of entertainment options including theme park rides, South African history and culture, an operating gold mine, a 4D theatre and a number of shops and restaurants.
Location: TheGoldReefCityTheme Park is located in the south ofJohannesburg. It can be found on Northern Parkway Drive in Ormonde,Johannesburg.
Facilities: The Oppenheimer Conference and Banqueting Centre offers three conference venues to suit just about any event. The rooms can cater for small groups of about 10 delegates to larger groups of up to 400. The Oppenheimer Gold Room features its own bar and can also be used as a breakaway room for bigger conferences.
Perfect for: Cocktails, breakfasts, conferences, banquets, launches, teambuilding and weddings.
Contact details: +27 11 248 6860, banquet.co.za