HI - Johannesburg - The Backpackers Ritz Hostel, Johannesburg

Dunkeld West
154 Reviews
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HI - Johannesburg - The Backpackers Ritz Hostel Reviews

The Ritz this ain't!

I never post on these websites, but I had such a disappointing experience at the Ritz, and felt that they totally misrepresented themselves, so I felt compelled to say something. I too had to stay here before and after a kruger park tour and found the place to be impersonal, overcrowded, and with yucky yucky bathrooms that could well do with a scrub. Also, the place was pretty drab inside (though nice gardens and view) and often full of weird smells. The overall effect is more grimy frat house than upmarket backpackers-so do not be fooled! Seriously, you always feel you are on top of people here, and the staff were more cocky than helpful. If you have the choice, stay somewhere else. There are so many great hostels and guest houses in south africa, and the ritz does them all an injustice!


Some Ritz

One of the worst hostels we saw in our six months in Africa. Way overpriced with unhelpful staff and very meager facilities. It was very cold in Jo'burg and our room had no heat. They provided us with only a thin blanket to insulate ourselves. They made a big deal about providing us with a complimentary "breakfast" because the kitchen was closed for renovation. Breakfast consisted of toast and coffee. For less money we stayed at another place with friendly staff and an en-suite room. I would never stay here again and I would encourage others to stay away.


What an absolute waste of a location this beautiful hostel is. Despite the fantastic view of Johannesburg, the convenience of a posh mall (two actually), and some quite nice restaurants, this hostel sucks. There are two large, sweaty, ugly, incredibly rude English ex-pats who run it, who openly verbally abuse the staff (mostly the cleaning ladies and a few guests as well), and if they're not bracingly unappealing enough for you, take your pick from one of desk clerks who are mockingly unhelpful, or an assistant manager who tries to molest every man and woman who enters (occasionally in good humor, sometimes not). With the addition of the crummiest dorm beds I've ever seen, suffice it to say, I would definitely not recommend this hostel.


I was not happy at the Ritz. I was waiting at the airport for about two hours for someone to pick me up. Everything was overpriced, and you are not going to get the service you pay for. I never will go there again.


A bit pricey at R80 per dorm bed. A double was R240, I think. But the building is nice, the staff are very friendly, and there is no closing time on the gate. Their tours are WAY overpriced (R300 for a half-day in Soweto or the Lion Park), but may be worth it for peace of mind. This place is generally clean and comfortable, even in the cold of winter.


We were very happy with the accomodations at this hostel. It was clean and the staff were very friendly and informative. Yes, the accomodations were basic. We had a twin room but would definitely stay there again.

Christina Galbrairth / Ann-Marie Toland

Lovely staff, very helpful. I had fun staying there.


The hostel is situated at the end of an anonymous residential street, with no sign or name on the cage-like double fenced gate. But don't get fooled by the name: this is no Ritz! it is a big hostel, very impersonal and with a cold atmosphere. Chance are that if you stay here is only because you're killing your time waiting to join some tour or some other the next day, so since it is not the staff friendliness or the livelyhood of the surrounding which brought you here, you only have to be patient and make the most of it till they come to pick you up.

So for the time being, while you sleep in the huge crowded 18 bed dorms (ensuite), pass in front of the reception and TV lounge to get to the showers, and submit to the rip off prices of their "restaurant" (all the other restaurants around close at about 4:30pm [16:30] on most weekdays), internet and washing machine, you can relax next to the small swimming pool or enjoy the view of Jo'burg from the back of the old mansion's turrets.

Otherwise go shopping, see a movie or go eat in the nearby two big shopping centres (Hydepark at a 15 minute walk and Rosebunk 30-40 minutes away). Although, if you have money to spend, there's Soweto and Suncity tours and night restaurants and pubs tours and shuttles you can book at the reception desk.

Valentina Cesani

More reviews...

HI - Johannesburg - The Backpackers Ritz Hostel Reviews from the Web

Liked: Few people good but not all. Didn't like: The property is taken care off. Their common room is good but nothing else. Dormitory is not nice at all, iron beds, very cold room, sheets are dirty looks very old and used. Internet is bad. 1 toilet, they not even give toilet soap to wash hands. Horrible exp.

I convinced my wife for first time to stay in hostel and because of them had have earful from her.

It was one hell of cold night and both of us shivered the whole night. Btw on second night there was no electricity so no light, no wifi. FYI


Liked: none Didn't like: nothing to do in the area. swimmingpool was dirty although they said i could use it, everything in the bathroom was broken, the airport pick up is NOT 40 rands!! staff was VERY unfriendly.


Liked: Large rooms, nice outdoor area Didn't like: Staff was less than helpful -- they won't call other hostels to help with bookings or to reserve a seat on the bus -- and the kitchen is very limited



The Backpackers Ritz is situated in the safe northern suburbs of Jo'burg, in a beautiful mansion on top of a koppie giving you splendid views of the entire city.
Relax in the stunning garden or laze by the pool. Have a drink and meet other travellers in the dungeon bar.
There is internet, phone and fax facilities, dstv in the lounge and bar, plus a pool table and a cafe for breakfast and dinner.
The on-site Travel Centre is able to give advice on most aspects of travelling in Southern Africa; from buses, trains, planes and car rental to day trips and safaris ranging from 2 to 56 days.
Transfers to and from the airport can be arranged, please contact us with your flight details.

Location and Contact


• Close to Jan Smuts Avenue, 7km north from the city centre
• Airport transfers available.



Address: 1A North Road, Dunkeld West, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

HI - Johannesburg - The Backpackers Ritz Hostel is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Not listed at Booking.com Not listed at HostelsClub


Website HI - Johannesburg - The Backpackers Ritz Hostel Johannesburg (if you know the URL of their website, let us know and we'll add it)
Phone Number: +27 11 3257125 /2520
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Party Hostel

Solo Traveller



Airport Pickup

Lockers in Lobby

Luggage Storage


24 Hour Security

BBQ Grill


Book Collection/Exchange

Cable TV

Clothes Dryer

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Currency Exchange

Entirely Non-Smoking



Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Pool Table

Swimming Pool


Wheelchair Accessible

Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

Service Animals

Max. Age: All Ages

Checkout: 10:00 (10 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Maximum Stay: Unlimited

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 24 Hours

Size: Large (60-100 beds)


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