- It's possible to make the BlackBrick aparthotel your permanent home.
- But you might want to spend a night (or two) there before deciding.
- I did some of my own research and pondering.
Believe it or not, it's possible to check in to the breathtakingly beautiful and homey BlackBrick aparthotel - subtly nestled a short walk away from Sandton City and some of the most recognisable skyscrapers on the richest square mile in Africa - and make it your permanent home.
But first, a night (or two) at your potential new home could be what you need, to decide whether relocating here is an option or whether to make it your next regular staycation destination.
After spending a night at BlackBrick, I can see why one may not want to ever leave after checking in - and yes, when I spent the night to review the hotel, I was tempted to keep the key card, you know, to come back for another "review" after the review (wink).BlackBrick can easily be made your permanent home, or you can make it your regular getaway spot. All images supplied by urban espresso.
Naturally, a staycation was welcome since I (and most other people) have been cooped up at home for well over a year now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, assuming you're still social distancing as much as possible until the vaccine rollout has been fully implemented. But enough about the pandemic and more about living on the bright side - even if it's just for a night.
For starters, I'm not one for hotel stays because I prefer sleeping in my own home on most days. Plus, I generally find hotel rooms cold. Maybe it has something to do with the white sheets - but I digress. Back on point, the last year of lockdown has taught me to be a little open to experiencing life out of home and ditching my habit of, quite literally, popping in and out of holiday destinations as fast as I can so that I can rush back home. It's a little strange but if you're an introvert, you'll relate.
Then came the chance to stay at BlackBrick, Sandton. Fast forward to the night before, and I discovered that the aparthotel is South Africa's first "residential members' club", which offers visitors and residents access to community living and facilities.
In Sandton, BlackBrick is the area's first office-to-residential conversion - so why not also be open to being converted to enjoying time away from home.
READ MORE | 5 Ways to afford your next amazing break
It helped that they offer a range of facilities for hotel visitors and residents who move in for extended stays. These include meeting rooms, workspaces, a conversation lounge, a concierge, a gym, a meditation garden, a cinema, a dining lounge, a laundry service, a restaurant, a rooftop bar, and the list goes on. What's more, you can stay for a regular hotel visit of a couple of days or longer via flexible periods of a month and up.
When I first checked BlackBrick's website, I thought the decor looked intriguing. Perhaps a bit too rustic and industrial for my taste. But, unexpectedly, I was wrong. It's charming, welcoming and homey - certainly not as intimidating and "marbly" as some hotels I've stayed at.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the quietness and tranquillity of the rooms that subtly let you forget you're in the hustle and bustle of Sandton. The art all over the building is refreshing, too. However, for someone who enjoys a long bath, the petite bathroom could have been more abundant. Then again, there are rooms with baths, depending on your booking/rental.
So, all in all, it's the community vibe and flexibility that did it for me. And it's a shared sentiment. Despite my plus-one not being sure why we were there after accepting my "just-pack-an-overnight-bag-and-come-along invitation" without question, they too agreed that BlackBrick isn't a place you'd want to check out of if you had the option (and budget) to stay permanently.
Which brings me to the question: Would staying here long-term cost any more than staying anywhere else in Joburg?
BlackBrick founder, Moritz Wellensiek, believes "by being able to offer cost-effective, flexible rentals that deliver access to an unprecedented array of in-house facilities, services and programmes, the BlackBrick model is a unique and compelling offering".
To put his words to the test, I did some research and pondering. And this is what it came down to: all things taken into account, not necessarily. In fact, you might even save a buck. That's if you're willing to forgo an extra bedroom for the amenities and location - bearing in mind you'll no longer need a gym membership or wi-fi plan because these are offered free as part of your rental agreement. And you have access to entertainment, much of which is complimentary at your doorstep - hello, fuel savings!
Plus, seeing that most of us are working from home, possibly indefinitely - it's a very enticing idea that you can simply walk down the hall to the reading room and, voila, you have an office setting, other tenants to "replace" colleagues and a conducive office space right at home.
It can hardly get any more convenient than this. Maybe after being locked down in one place for so long, a night (or lifetime) at BlackBrick to cure the familiarity of being involuntarily cooped up in the same space for too long, is just what post-pandemic life calls for. Don't you think?
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