A Hasty Review of a 1,600 Square Foot Suite in Africa (Absolutely Free With Capital One Miles)

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This is a brief and long overdue review of one of my favorite hotels, The Residence Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa.

My friends and I booked the most expensive, opulent suite in the hotel, and the final price was ~$500.  THAT’S NOTHING compared to the price you’d pay for a similar experience in the US.  You could cover that bill with the Capital One miles you’d earn by opening a card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

I’ll give you a quick look around!

The terrace attached to our hotel suite

Review of The Residence Boutique Hotel, Johannesburg

Traveling overseas to developing countries is equal parts enlightening, sobering, and enjoyable.  It’s crazy how far your money can go in areas like Mexico, the Philippines, or in this example, South Africa.

You don’t have to pay much to receive a top-tier hotel experience.  One of my seasoned travel buddies researched just about everything in the Johannesburg area, and decided this was the best place.  I think she was right.

The Residence keeps a couple insanely nice cars on the property to pick their guests up from the airport, or drive them wherever they want to go

We booked the most expensive room in the hotel, the “Madiba Suite.”  It was 150 square meters (1,600+ square feet), which I can confidently state is larger than my apartment.

While the room came with plenty of fantastic features, like a wine closet, complimentary alcohol in every direction, and a giant hot tub, my favorite element was the sound system.  The speakers were built into the ceiling, and played ubiquitous ambient Tibetan music throughout the room.

In case you don’t have time to watch the above video, here are a few quick pictures of the room.

Immediately when you open the door, you’ve got giant windows to the right, giant mirrors to the left, and an abundance of sunshine.

Madiba Suite living room

Turning 180 degrees, you’ll see an enormous portrait of Nelson Mandela.  They cannot get enough pictures of Mandela in this hotel.  Various sizes of this exact picture are framed innumerably throughout the hotel.

Nelson and me (I’m on the right)

Walking straight ahead leads to the bedroom, with big closets, a decent TV, and complimentary mini bottles of Amarula (South African cream liqueur).

You can see Nelson keeping a watchful eye from the living room

Also attached to the bedroom is the preposterously sized bathroom.

The echo of this room is tantamount to excreting directly into a megaphone

Walking back into the living room, there is a glass door to the left with your own massive private balcony.  The wooden floors creak in a charming way.  It’s got a hot tub, sun bed, and far too many chairs.  The balcony is about the same square footage as the actual room.

View of the balcony from the doorway into the living room

Beside the hot tub at the end of the balcony is an outdoor shower.

Hot tub and shower

Food at The Residence was inexpensive, delicious, and BEAUTIFUL.

Something we ordered more than once were these chocolate ball things that were served with what I presume is strategically placed dry ice.  Gimmicky but so much fun.

As you might guess, you can’t use hotel points to stay at hotels like this.  They aren’t a member of Hyatt, Marriott, or any other hotel chain.  So if you’re going to stay at a boutique hotel like this, I highly recommend using credit card rewards like Capital One miles.  You can redeem them for anything that is considered a travel purchase, which of course includes boutique hotels.

The 2 best offers at the moment for Capital One miles are:

I’d love to hear your favorite hotel experience!

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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