We had the most delightful stay for 4 nights at Zoo Lake B&B. There is another similarly named B&B in the neighborhood, but make sure you reserve a room here to experience the gorgeous rooms, kind hospitality, and amazing service from Sylvia, the proprietor.
We were in South Africa for the World Cup, and we reserved our room during the brief window Sylvia was listed through FIFA, so we cannot comment on regular rates - but it would seem that they are quite reasonable.
Because we booked through FIFA (the only positive about that, is that FIFA helped us find this beautiful place), we had no contact with Sylvia before we arrived. FIFA refused to give out our contact info, just one last name and total number of guests. As experienced travelers, we should have contacted her through her website to let her know we were on the late flight, but she figured it out. The only other problem was that cabbies do not know where it is. (TIP: Definitely contact her before you arrive to get her well written directions from the airport. Even online maps get it wrong.) So, after getting lost, after our late flight, we weren't sure we were at the right place because the sign is posted inside the security gate. Our cabbie knew what to do and pushed the buzzer - and Sylvia was there waiting for us with our room warmed and bed turned down. She was delightful from the start. She showed us how to work the TV, specifically where all the soccer channels were, and asked when we wanted breakfast, and if we were vegetarian.
We were blown away by our room. The bed was large and comfortable, with luxurious, bright and clean white linens. In fact, all the decor in the room felt luxurious: crystal lighting fixtures in the open plan bathroom, a spa-type feel in the shower, beautiful chairs and armoire... Plus Slyvia left little flower buds and delicious treats in the room every night for us.
The breakfasts every morning were to die for. And huge. Yogurts with cereals. Eggs cooked differently every day. Meats every day. Toast. Plus pastries. Fruit salads made with local fruits. Coffee and juices. It is no wonder we gained a few pounds while staying at Zoo Lake B&B! Sylvia served breakfast in a lovely sitting room just off of the back lawn - it was a beautiful way to start the day.
The grounds were gorgeous too! Manicured lawns with a pool (we were there in the South African winter, so no swimming for us). A heron would come in the morning and drink from the pool. There are beautiful flowers and landscaping, even in the winter!
We had the opportunity to stay in two different rooms. Sylvia didn't force us to, by any means, but FIFA had sent her another set of guests that she had thought was a couple, but turned out was not. As she could more easily convert one room to a non-couple room, we moved to a second room. The Zoo Lake B&B Staff moved our stuff and it was easy as pie. Our second room was just as comfortable and - a HUGE bathroom with a decadent bathtub. This bedroom was just off of the sitting room, with amazing views of the grounds.
Sylvia also was a great help in our planning of our days. When we weren't sure what were walkable distances, or what attractions to group together - she was always quick to advise. And she arranged drivers for us to hire on the days we wanted a driver for a whole day. We had been pretty worried that we arrived in South Africa without this pre-arranged during the World Cup, but she knew the best people and was able to get them for us. She also called taxis for us on other days, when we just needed to be dropped off downtown. Sylvia helped us plan our day getting to our World Cup match (and made us a snack pack to take with us!) as well. She was a fount of information and advice, as needed.
After our time in Jo'burg at Zoo Lake B&B we headed down to Cape Town for about 2 weeks. Sylvia was so amazing that when we realized we had a layover back in Jo'burg from 10am to midnight before we left South Africa, we called her up again and she remembered us right away! From 2 weeks prior! Even though we were no longer her guests, she helped arrange for us to hire another driver for the day and even offered us a place to clean up if needed. We cannot speak highly enough of her kind hospitality. She went over and above.
The location of Zoo Lake B&B is near the Parkview neighborhood. You can walk to Zoo Lake from the B&B and to a little village shopping area. There isn't an awful lot to do in the village shopping area (though we bought a South African cell phone there). The Lake is beautiful, and the location is close for a cab ride to anywhere in Jo'burg! We didn't find the Park View/Zoo Lake location a hassle at all.
Best things: Slyvia, Luxury rooms, Amazing Breakfasts, Adequate Location
Least Best things: You cabbie will not know where it is: they all know where "Parkview" is and where "Zoo Lake" is and where "B&B"s are in "Zoo Lake" but no one knows where "Dee St" or "Dee Rd" is - take your printed out directions with you - this is why Zoo Lake B&B truly is a hidden gem!
If you are going to Jo'Burg and you are looking for a B&B you must stay with Sylvia at Zoo Lake B&B!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Zoo Lake B&B - your accommodation solution in Johannesburg. Whether you are in town for business or pleasure, we offer a full service accommodation solution. We are a stylish Bed & Breakfast in Parkview; walking distance to the Zoo Lake, 35 minutes from the airport and very close to the lively outdoor cafes in Parkhurst, and 2km from the bustling Rosebank Rooftop Market. To help make your stay more comfortable, we speak English, German and Afrikaans. ... more less