I had a remarkably pleasant and comfortable experience during my recent business trip, when I stayed 5 nights at Cotswold Gardens. The owners were wonderfully generous and helpful, from helping me find a regular cab driver to producing a delicious set of homemade cookies and a glass of wine for my arrival on the first night, when I got in too late to find dinner in the neighborhood. The public living areas and gardens are gorgeous and relaxing, and the breakfast was quite simply the best I've had in frequent travel over 4 continents.
At first, I admit that I was somewhat underwhelmed. My relatively small room was decorated in white-on-white country style, with furniture that seemed a bit uninspired, if not somewhat Ikea-ish. But minor disappointment was more than made up for by the absolutely comfortable bed, hot and strong shower, and great living spaces. As someone traveling alone, I was also very gratified by the kindness and generosity of the owners - I felt at home, but never pushed to make more conversation than I wanted.
The location is also really good - a lovely tree-lined neighborhood, relatively close to downtown and less than a mile from Rosebank mall, which as a mall is somewhat over-rated, but which does have nice restaurants.
One thing to realize about Johannesburg is that there is a pervasive fear of crime, and this can definitely affect travelers' experiences. I was strongly discouraged from going out alone at night (by many people, so I assume they are right). This meant that I ended up eating take-out from Nandos in my room, or ordering delivery - not the best dining experiences. I did once walk to one of the fine restaurants at the Rosebank mall (arriving there before dark) and then took a cab home for the less-than-a-mile return trip. Of course, this has nothing to do with the B&B -- which is in one of the safest neighborhoods--and I think people traveling in a group or with their own car would be far more free to get around, but it's worth noting.
Overall, a fabulous place that I will highly recommend to anyone and everyone going to Joburg.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cotswold Gardens in Saxonwold Johannesburg is a 4 Star guesthouse offering peace, tranquility and the very best in personal attention.Our rooms are clean and comfortable with ensuite bathrooms. The house is warm and inviting in winter and in summer, relaxing in the garden to the sounds of many different species of birdlife brings joy to many of our guests. We are great art lovers and this can be seen by the many examples of artwork displayed in all of the rooms. We offer a full English breakfast which our guests have always raved about. Our two self-catering suites are in great demand. They are fully equipped and perfect for long stays. They are perfect for a single person or a couple. Our location is without a doubt one of our main attractions. ... more less
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