Long layover at JNB--nearby restaurant? Luggage?

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Sep 15th, 2013, 12:02 PM
  #1
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Long layover at JNB--nearby restaurant? Luggage?

We will depart Tswalu on a charter flight (a Tuesday in October) scheduled to arrive at the Anglo-American hangar at JNB at 4:30pm. We then have until 11:30pm before our KLM departure to AMS.

So: What is best/most comfortable use of the interim? I am flying Business to AMS/JFK. Will I be able to check my luggage upon arrival at the airport and if not, can I safely lodge it in the Business Lounge while I go for dinner? (Would like to shrink wrap the checked bags, so perhaps do this upon arrival at the airport?)

Once luggage is safely stowed, the question of dinner arises. A few years ago I had a decent dinner at a hotel within walking distance of the terminal; I am guessing that this was the Intercontinental Southern Sun. I believe their main restaurant is Quills. Would that be a good spot for a farewell dinner? If not, what are the other options for a sit-down dinner in comfortable surroundings; willing to take taxi if great food is at the end of the ride, but perhaps not a great idea to leave the airport environs.

Finally, I've read mixed reports about the KLM lounge; is it a comfortable base to relax for a few hours after dinner? Any tips? I remember a decent bookstore at JNB; any other interesting shopping, perhaps for local goods? Any supermarkets at the airport?

Many thanks.

I am so looking forward to my return visit to this beautiful country!!
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Sep 15th, 2013, 10:59 PM
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Hi ekscrunchy
Can not assist on formal diners at JBH, although the Intercontinental at the airport gets good reviews, but the book store you may be looking for is Exclusive Books. They have an excellent outlet at JBH International. Lots of new releases, African fiction and non fiction and a great magazine selection. Always reach my carry on limit after I have visited.
Elaine
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Sep 16th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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How early before your flight will KLM be open for check-in? Perhaps you could direct that question to them. The business class lounges are all past passport control. You wouldn't be able to come back out and going in is dependent on the first question. If you can check your bags or find a place to store them curbside (look at www.bagport.co.za), you could take the Emperors Palace shuttle to that complex. There are quite a few restaurants there, including "Tribes", an African steakhouse and grill that has been recommended to me. I plan to try it out in a couple of months.
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Sep 16th, 2013, 10:26 PM
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JNB airport shops airside are very good, couple African shops, usual tax free shops and others. Can't remember any restaurants as we were in the VS lounge.
Not sure if you feel you have the time to do this, but the Gautrain from JNB takes 15-20mins to either Sandton or Rosebank where there are lots of shops and restaurants. I would check the schedules for the return as it is off peak time.
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Sep 17th, 2013, 04:08 AM
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Thank you so much for responses.

ShayTay: I have stored luggage in the lower level baggage storage area at ORTambo; is that the BagPort storage area, or is BagPort a second option (website does not make location clear)?

Please refresh my memory: How long a walk is it from the terminal to the IC Southern Sun Hotel? Perhaps we could walk to the hotel and store the bags there while we have an early dinner in their restaurant? Does this sound feasible?

I will contact KLM in hope of learning what time we can check our bags.

One fact that seems obvious from all this: Pack lightly enough so as not to be weighed down with luggage too heavy to maneuver! (I need to read that statement again and again!)



Regarding the sending home of purchases: Last time we used PostNet, in Capetown. Is this still the best option?
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Sep 17th, 2013, 06:40 AM
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The OR Tambo InterContinental is directly across the street from international arrivals...a distance less than 300 feet.
We've over-nighted there several times before heading out on safari and have always enjoyed our meals at Quills.

We take the Delta JNB-ALT flight and in our experience the check-in desk doesn't open until about for hours before the flight. Could be similar for the KLM-AMS flight.


Air France, KLM, and Delta share a lounge at JNB.
It does get quite crowded in the evenings when people from more than one flight are waiting to depart.
The lounge has an OK selection of small sandwiches, packaged snacks, and drinks.
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Sep 17th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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I meant to type: the check-in desk doesn't open until about four hours before the flight.
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Sep 18th, 2013, 07:37 AM
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Thanks very much! Looks like this may be the best option for us--walk with the bags to Quills and ask them to store our bags (?) while we have a very leisurely dinner. Just to confirm, this restaurant is inside the Intercontinental Hotel, NOT the Southern Sun as I wrote above. Are there, then, two hotels at the airport?


After dinner, walk back to terminal and hope that KLM check-in will be open.

From Shay's comment, it appears that bags MUST be checked before entering the secure area where lounges are located. True (??)

I will be sure to leave room in my carry on for books purchased at Exclusive Books.
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Sep 20th, 2013, 07:56 AM
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I agree with ShayTay, go to the website of the nearby 'Emperors Palace' who do terminal shuttles they have a range of restaurants including 'Tribes' and 'Aurelia's' at their D'Oreale Grand Hotel - www.emperorspalace.co.za
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Sep 20th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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Ekscrunchy, I've never stored bags at JNB... just read about others doing so. Intercontinental Hotel at JNB is a Tsogo Sun property. They also own the Southern Sun properties, of which there is one close to, but not in, the airport. There is another hotel on top of one of the airport parking garages, City Lodge. They don't have a restaurant there, only a coffee shop.
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Dec 30th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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I never did return with info on my experience at the QUILLS restaurant, located across from the International terminal at JNB; so here are a few notes:



I had been uncertain about how we would pass 6 hours until our flight to Amsterdam, which departed at 11:15pm, thinking that we would have to mind our luggage the entire time.


http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...nt-luggage.cfm




Happily, the KLM counter opened early, allowing us to check both of our large duffle bags through to JFK, our last stop.

We then walked through the terminal, which had been renovated since my last visit and seemed much less chaotic, and across the street to the Intercontinental Hotel, where Quill’s Restaurant occupies space on the ground floor. We relaxed in the comfortable carpeted space for about two hours; I had only soup and my partner a chicken dish (I’ve forgotten the details, but although the food--a mix of European and local dishes-- was not particularly memorable, it was probably better than anything we might have found inside the terminal. Prices are high, however). Keep your expectations low, and your wallet well-filled.


After dinner, we found our way to the business class lounge, which was more than comfortable.

After dinner, we headed to the KLM/AF lounge, stopping to browse the bookstore and to change some remaining Rand to dollars and to euro. This came in handy when we arrived in AMS, as we needed the euro to purchase a ticket on the train that took us from the airport to Centraal Station in downtown Amsterdam.
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