Before arriving to South Africa we were discouraged from just about everyone we spoke to about going to Johannesburg. BUT the reality is, as long as you are traveling anywhere in the country you are 99.9% going to have stay in Johannesburg for a couple of nights. We set out on a mission to find the coolest boutique hotels in Johannesburg and we decided on 2 different locations, The Peech Hotel, an eco chic 11 room boutique hotel and a luxury boutique hotel, The Athol Place ( a Morukuru Family property).
Johannesburg is full of large chain hotels and there are so many options to chose from. The perception of a many travelers is that Johannesburg is not a safe a place, thus chosing to stay at the Four Seasons or the Saxon Hotel to feel “safe” and not have to go anywhere during their overnight in Joburg. I have to admit, I pretty much tried everything humanly possible to not have to spend the night in Johannesburg but it was just simply impossible. Ironically, The Peech Hotel and The Athol Place were two of the coolest properties we stayed at and both had AMAZING food.
The Peech Hotel, an eco chic boutique with just 11 rooms and has a very home like feel. When we pulled up, the exterior is very warm and inviting. As we made our way through the entrance into the bright colored living room and reception area, we immediately were drawn toward the bar that was wrapped in cow hides and more funky afro décor. All the rooms wrap around the main courtyard and pool area sharing similar views. The rooms are very spacious and well designed and we felt right at home. We managed to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Peech Hotel and all the food was top notch. From the seared ahi salad for lunch to the local king klip and trout for dinner, everything was so good. Way over and beyond what you would get in a chain hotel. The Peech is also a great option for honeymooners or couples trying to “getaway” for a couple days. We really did not feel the need to get out of the hotel at all, which was a huge bonus after traveling for weeks.
The Athol Place Boutique Hotel is jaw dropping from the second you enter through the gate. A stunning villa style property located in a gated neighborhood of Johannesburg. Athol reminded me of a Beverly Hills Mansion with its high ceilings, beautiful oversized furnishings, well-manicured gardens, picturesque pool deck and large cascading trees. Our room was off the charts, again with extremely high ceilings, an insane bathroom area, a lovely deck overlooking the gardens and so much more. We decided to stay in and have dinner at Athol Place and WOW were we impressed. They offer a changing menu based on fresh ingredients and what is in season. We were spoiled with a 4 course tasting menu that started with a corn chowder and shrimp soup, vegetable spring rolls with a beet gelat, local king klip with roasted herb potatoes and ending with s sweet sampling of desserts. The manager and staff were so awesome that we really felt like we made new friends after our short stay at Athol Place. The bartender stole my heart by finishing off the night with one of the best espresso martinis I have ever had. We even had a ridiculously early flight at 6:00am and the manager got up to say goodbye and even packed us breakfast baskets to take with us. Such a nice over the top detail that you would never receive at a large chain hotel.