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“Something Different In Johannesburg CBD” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of 12 Decades Art Hotel

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12 Decades Art Hotel
Ranked #68 of 290 Johannesburg B&B and Inns
Johannesburg
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Something Different In Johannesburg CBD”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2012

My Wife and I decided to spend the weekend at the hotel in order to take advantage of the vibey Maboneng Precinct.

A very unique experience. We were there for two nights so we asked to sleep in a different room each night .The first night we slept in the "Who is Hebert Dlomo " (1936-1946) room. Very beautiful design. The only problem was the bed. It was very high and the mattress was very hard. Sleeping was very uncomfortable. Otherwise it was a great room.

The second night we slept in the "Perpetual Liberty" (1996-2006). We loved everything about this room. Very big and very bright , the sun was shining through nicely. This time around the bed was very comfortable. Simple design but very nice.

The other downside of the hotel was the coldness. We visited during winter and it was very cold. They do not have air-conditioners or underfloor heating. We were using the simple fin oil heater. It did not help as the rooms are very big and cold.

Generally a beautifully designed hotel. Very pleasant staff. It is nicely located next to nice restaurants , the bioscope and cafes. I would definitely come back to experience the other rooms (during the summer season, though).

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tshepo M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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67 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
50 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 June 2012

I enjoyed a lovely stay here for almost a week in July 2011. The neighborhood nearby may look a bit scary for those who aren't used to inner city life, but as a middle aged single woman I felt safe walking around to the neighborhood shops. I was greatly rewarded by choosing to stay at 12 Decades. The hotel shares the block with an art gallery, live theatre (Pop Art) cute coffee shop (Chalkboard), independant movie house, and a restaurant next door with live music (Pata Pata). So you don't have to travel far...plus buses & taxis are nearby. When I arrived I was very warmly greeted by the young woman at the desk, both front desk ladies were exceptionally helpful & friendly throughout my stay. I stayed in the glamourous 1920's decade room & enjoyed the very tall comfy bed, the velveteen curtains, and the artsy touches in the room. There was a full kitchen complete with dishes, glassware, pots, etc. The maid even washed my dishes whenever she saw some! There wasn't much of a view and the mostly bare floors could use some more carpets, a bit chilly in the winter. There;s a secure elevator w/ a doorman nearby to let you into the area to the hotel. There are also rented flats in the bldg. When I had a question, Gabriel, the general manager was quick & professional with his help.

Room Tip: Research the rooms & decide which ones intrigue you the most.
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mona-isabella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
57 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 April 2012

My husband and I spent a night at this cleverly conceptualised inner-city hotel a few weeks ago. It's different to anywhere else we've stayed, except possibly Daddy Long Legs on Long Street in Cape Town, in that it's small, simple, uniquely designed (with 12 different rooms, each intelligently themed to match a decade in South Africa's history) and able to offer one of the most awe-inspiring views of Joburg I have ever seen. Both at twilight and at dawn.

Our room, A PART LOVE A PART HATE, had some lovely touches, and a few things I'd have liked to buy for our house. But it was a little too stark for me, especially when I saw the room next door - PONTE OBSCURA - which was absolutely *exquisite* and well worth a visit. The attention to service detail also left a fair bit to be desired, in the following respects:

1. Our room wasn't ready when we checked in at 3pm, due to a late check-out, and once it had been cleaned, there were still a few pieces of paper lying around from the previous occupant. The rugs and floor were also less than pristine, and the bedside lamp wasn't working.
2. The parking system is silly. You have to park on the street, go inside, check in, and then get a voucher to enable you to park underground. The hotel should just email it.
3. Once you're inside the parking area, there is no way to get into the hotel without walking back out onto the street (due to a biometric security system), which is annoying if you have lots of luggage.
4. The in-room services directory is out of date - the hotel should perhaps give each guest a simple two-page overview of what's on and what's available on check-in, as there's a lot to see, do and eat, but this can be wasted if you don't know exactly where to go, and when.

In terms of value for money, a night at 12 Decades is not expensive. BUT if you like more luxury, the Hyde Park Hotel is around the same price per night (for a standard room that is beautiful but small and utterly lacking in decent views) and 4-star.

Beyond these things, most of which are easy fixes, we had a lovely stay. Canteen at Arts on Main, a short walk away, had superb food and service, and a beautiful setting. We had a nice (but not amazing) breakfast at Eat Your Heart Out, and an interesting stroll around the area. I would have loved to try the spa, which had unfortunately not opened yet, but the rooftop area is glorious, and a great spot for a drink on a Sunday evening or a Saturday yoga class.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank TiffanyMarkman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
40 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 March 2012

Interesting hotel in a formerly (well still currently) rundown part of Johannesburg located in the Maboneng development area, part of which is the Arts on Main facility. Each of the 12 rooms is decorated in a specific style to represent the decade. So in effect you are staying in a piece of art, quite a cute concept and certainly very different for me. There were drawbacks with the room, Ponte Opscura, that we were in. i.e. no cupboard space, no bedside tables and most importantly for a self catering hotel, no microwave. For a single night not an issue, but certainly not ideal for a longer stay. The receptionist was very helpful, really great service.
Location is great to experience a little of downtown Jo'Burg, especially the Arts on Main market on a Sunday. This was why we stayed there, but I wouldn't stay there for any reason or recommend for a longer stay. Guess I'd give to separate ratings 5 for a single weekend night, 2 for a business stay.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank dave2105
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
179 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2012

Like the famous Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam, every room in this hotel features a local creative mind. Similarly, too, this hotel is part of a programmatic rehabilitation of a rundown, post-industrial/post-manufacturing zone of the city center, deserted after the end of apartheid as white-owned businesses and affluent consumers decamped to the northern suburbs and created a "new" city in Rosebank/Sandton. As in Amsterdam, creatives—artists, architects, designers—take leading roles in this downtown Jo'burg revitalization, driven, though, by one developer, who owns the hotel, the apartments on the lower floors, and the arts mews, called Arts on Main [Street], two blocks down. The precinct is called Maboneng, meaning "place of light" in the Sesotho language of migrant laborers. Arts on Main houses several galleries and studios for artists and designers, and a vibey Sunday market, with some of Johannesburg's more interesting minds relaxing with hangovers, sunglasses, and some with kids, at outdoor cafes within the precinct. Though the surrounding area is gritty, there is CCTV and security. When the flashier wealth decamped, the predators followed their victims north, so you are probably safer here than in Sandton. Come sundowners, the Sunday party moves to the roof of the 12 Decades for magnificent vistas across the entire city, or, if you are feeling punchy, you can box into the punching bags at the rooftop gym. Do NOT book in here if you like cookie-cutter "business" hotels or pine for a normal life -- in fact don't be in Jo'burg if that's what you like. If you can tolerate, even relish, some impracticalities, like slippery tiles in the bathroom and beds on raised platforms, you will only find 12 Decades' rooms a pleasure, and savor the hotel's originality and courage. In fact, the rooms are more like art installations than anything else: they embroil you into an act of performance. You are on stage; you are a work in progress. The staff is eager to help and smooth out wrinkles in the "hotel experience": extra towels, ordering takeouts from the restaurant next door, plugging in space heaters in winter (this is the old merely "Modern" Johannesburg, no central heating or cooling). Their view is that they are on the road to better service. You probably will never forget your stay—and you are likely to meet truly interesting people. You can bring them home to entertain, cook for them: the suites are really self-contained apartments. Or take them to the on-site art cinema for an off-beat film. Even native Johannesburgers find the 12 Decades a trip, and a novel experience. You should hire a car, and you can park it indoors, on-site. Stay here to experience the City of Johannesburg in a way few others will. I highly recommend this for creative types, art lovers, and those with a sense of adventure. Our son aged 6 loved it, too. Our bed was vast, big enough for 6, like a huge, soft, playpen.

Room Tip: Each of the 12 suites is unique, created by one artist to represent one of the 12 decades of Johanne...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank TanZimSa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Knysna
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 November 2010

As a concept for an inner-city hotel in a business revitalisation zone, the 12 Decades is great. Each room has a unique interior decor, representing one of the 12 decades of Johannesburg's history. Fascinating, innovative and beautiful. However, pretty decor does not compensate for having to climb seven floors of stairs because the elevator doesn't work, the loudly echoing interior spaces, and the raucous noise from the all-night shebeen across the road. Even earplugs were not sufficient to get a good night's sleep. The first priority for a hotel should be the business traveller's comfort. Renovate the elevator machinery, Install double glazing, add sound-absorbing cladding to passage floors and walls, provide air-conditioning and heating, and pay attention to small things like towel hooks and bedside mats on the cold concrete floors. Only once you've got the basics right is it worth getting the artists in for the interiors.

Great concept, poor execution.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled on business
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank IvoVegter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 12 Decades Art Hotel

Property: 12 Decades Art Hotel
Address: 286 Fox Street JHB City, Johannesburg 2094, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Johannesburg
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #68 of 290 B&Bs / Inns in Johannesburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — 12 Decades Art Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With rooms conceptualised by some of South Africa's most celebrated Artists & Designers, 12 Decades traces the history of Johannesburg from 1886- 2006. Each decade has been interpreted by the individual designers to illustrate the most prominent features of the particular decade in Johannesburg's history. 12 Decades is part of the second development in the Maboneng Precinct, meaning “ Place of Light”. The development of this precinct forms part of a city improvement initiative by the development company, Propertuity. The Urban regeneration has been applauded by the City of Johannesburg, and as such, further developments are underway in the precinct, forming part of a vision to breathe new life into the old industrial area in the Eastern CBD.In addition to the 12 designer rooms, there are standard modern luxury hotel apartments for the not so adventurous to choose from. ... more   less 
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