Two years ago, when I was living and working in Johannesburg for some eight months, Melville was one of THE suburbs of Johannesburg to be. Its bustling high street (7th Street between 1st and 5th Avenues) was full of restaurants, bars and little shops, attracting a bohémien crowd of often large size.
Last month me and my boyfriend returned to Melville, to stay there in The Space Guesthouse for three nights on the final leg of our three weeks' South African round trip. We were quite disappointed, not by the Guesthouse but by Melville. Many former shops and some former restaurants and bars had closed down. Others still appeared in business but didn't open. The global crisis seemed to have hit hard onto Melville. Several other places across Johannesburg showed an identical picture. Formerly flourishing shopping malls were now empty or almost empty. On the other end, however, building sites could be seen all over the place. And although air quality seemed to have deteriorsted considerably, the metropolis still appears well maintained in most places. Of course one could think of a post-Worrld Cup 2010 bubble burst, but that does not explain all of the apparent economical decline.
Enough on Melville and Johannesburg. Now to The Space Guesthouse. We were allocated Twin Suite 1, consisting of two large rooms, each with their settee, a more-than-pantry-like kitchen and a comfortably spacious bathroom. Plus a nice outdoor terrace overlooking 5th Avenue (away from the earlier hustle &bustle) and (fairly important in Johannesburg, although its criminal reputation seems somewhat exaggerated) a safe car parking place during the night. So space is amply offered: it looked that the other suites are equally spacious.
Cleanliness is spotless and the suites are very well maintained. They are also very well appointed, providing an overall feeling of pleasant luxury and pampering. Hence, value for money (€ 110 per night for two persons, incl. a convenient breakfast in nearby Café de la Crème), no doubt.
Two lightly critical observations need to be made. The instruction (together with a large amount of other guest instructions) not to provide any food for staff sounds like 'don't feed the animals', often found in zoo's and similar places. This does not justice to the proud efforts made by the black staff to provide hospitality, and suggests a somewhat paternalistic employer attitude. Hospitality from the owner's mother, who seems to be the permanent duty manager, was generally ok. The owner himself, publishing his venue in a fairly personal way in order to attract sufficient custom (of course totally justified) did not follow up by greeting his so acquired guests, although being present on the premises on some afternoons. The personal dimension of the sales process was not continued during delivery, much to our regret.
Nevertheless, for the time ownership of the place continues as it is, The Space Guesthouse is certainly highly recommended, offering spacious, boutique-like accommodation in what still is a reasonably relaxed area of Johannesburg, at fair prices, with the right value-for-money.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Space Guest House is centrally located in the heart of trendy Melville, close to SABC, Media 24 and the University of Johannesburg. The guest house is on Melville’s vibrant main road which boasts a variety of top restaurants, cocktail lounges, galleries, boutiques, bookstores and coffee shops.The Space Guest House is also close to the main highways and centres of Johannesburg, the closest being Rosebank, Parkhurst and Greenside, as well as many of the city’s tourist attractions, including the Apartheid Museum, Constitutional Court and the Nelson Mandela Bridge.Modern, stylish and contemporary bedrooms have private entrances and many comforts, including shared satellite TV and bar fridge. Full breakfasts are served. Other facilities include ADSL Internet access in each room, laundry and airport transfers and arranging of tours.Safe and secure parking is also available. ... more less
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