My brother and I stayed at Northcliff Palms during our trip to South Africa for World Cup and we highly recommend it!
Overview: DEFINITELY visit Joburg. My husband and I skipped it our first time to Africa b/c we heard "it's not safe in Joburg, there's not much to do, etc.", but now I know: Most tourists probably stay downtown, don't have transportation, so never get out to see Joburg. Let's be clear: everything in Joburg is spread out. When you look on a map and see neighborhoods, each neighborhood is spread out. Think of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas (Huntington Beach, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Irvine)... without the traffic and with newer, cleaner highways, fresh air & trees. If you stay in downtown LA, of course there's nothing to do! Like LA, all other cute neighborhoods are connected via the highway. It's not like Capetown, where everything's centralized. Do yourself a favor: stay at Northcliff Palms, hire or rent a car and get out to the neighborhoods. It's a lovely experience.
The House: This is a beautiful mansion set in the hills of Frederick Drive. If you want privacy, this is perfect. The large driveway is gated, but Dave & Ed give you keys with a gate opener, so you can get in/out at your own convenience. There are several rooms in the house, each with it's own private bath and unique quality. Bring your own travel adapters though!
Common areas include: formal living room w/fireplace and vaulted ceilings, casual family room, bar area (with a lovely wine cove hand-built by Dave & Ed!), swimming pool, formal dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, walking path surrounded by palm trees and greenery. I believe they are also renovating another large room at the moment. It is not a house where you MUST interact with everyone. There is plenty of space to never cross paths. One last word: view. Beautiful view from almost anywhere in the house.
The Hosts: Dave & Ed are absolutely wonderful. They live in a separate wing of the house, so someone is always available (from very early morning-- like 4:30AM to very late night-- like 2am). Dave helped us get started every morning, by hiring a car or making suggestions of where to go. He even negotiated our transportation/car hire rates, so that it was a fair price and we didn't get over-charged! He was probably more conscious of our safety than we were. Dave became a friend and is one of the most gracious hosts you'll ever meet.
Our Room: Our corner room had a king sized bed, luxurious sheets (we could sleep all day), desk, couch and beautiful views and our own little balcony. It also included cable/satellite TV and an electric kettle to boil water for tea, coffee, hot chocolate. The bathroom had tub, shower, plenty of hot water. Dave provides the highest quality, sheets & fluffiest towels on the face of this planet. I wanted to buy some myself (they are purchased from a specialty shop in Joburg). You can also ask Dave for a hairdryer if needed. It was immaculately clean.
Breakfast: was included in our stay. Each morning, Richard & Dave are up early and a delicious breakfast is awaiting you in the dining area. It's wonderful to wake up, walk downstairs and be greeted by the smells!
Transportation: It cost us R550 (USD $73) for a taxi from JNB airport and R1600 (USD$211) to hire a car for the day to take us around town. Our driver also acted as our guide, so it was interesting to hear his POV and worth it since we were short on time to see everything. The next day, a Taxi to Sandton cost us R350 ($46) and Taxi from Downtown back to Northcliff R300 ($40).
If I'd known better, I would've rented a car. There's no reason why you can't drive in JoBerg. It's perfectly safe. Be smart. There are exits you don't want to get off at, but that's no different than California. It looks just like the U.S., driving past exits and strip malls along the way. The highways look brand new and in far better condition than ours. Northcliff is a very upscale area, so all the roads were marked. There ARE a few twists and turns onto small roads to get to Northcliff Palms, so just make sure to get clear driving directions from Dave before-hand or a GPS in your rental car. BUT if you don't want to drive, Dave can easily hire you a car for the day! Don't let it stop you from staying here.
Things to do in Joburg: Historical tour is a must-- Apartheid Museum, Mandela Museum, Hector Pieterson Museum. Shop at Sandton Mall (it's huge, give yourself time) and some of the other malls. Check out the Montecasino: www.montecasino.co.za Think one of the large Las Vegas Hotels. It's crazy how a huge casino, entertainment complex exists in the middle of Joburg. There's a big courtyard that looks like Italy.
Not enough time, can't wait to go back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- High on the northern slope of Northcliff Hill you will find a sanctuary like none other. Northcliff Palms is a boutique-style manor offering luxurious accommodation, breathtaking views over the Magaliesburg mountain range and grand stately reception areas that satisfies even the most discerning of tastes. From the moment of arrival, guests are immersed in tranquility. Accommodating a maximum of 10 guests, this 1100m² manor boasts one of the highest reception areas per guest ratio of any guest house in Johannesburg. Guests are spoiled with a comprehensive choice of memorable Full English, Continental or Health breakfasts. ... more less