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“This guesthouse 100% deserves its #1 on the B&B's list in Jo'burg” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

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Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
Ranked #1 of 293 Johannesburg B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Fairfield, Connecticut, USA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“This guesthouse 100% deserves its #1 on the B&B's list in Jo'burg”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 17, 2012

We stayed at the Liz at Lancaster guesthouse from June 2-4, 2012. The guesthouse is located in Craighall Park, a leafy suburb conveniently located near Johannesburg, Rosebank, Sandton, and other nearby attractions in a safe (for ZA) area. It is on a quiet street, located near a couple restaurants, gas station, and a Spar supermarket. It was safe enough to walk around during the day, we were told not to at night but did anyway and did not feel threatened at all. It is surrounded by a wall and electric fence, like most houses in South Africa are, and felt very safe within the guesthouse itself.
We stayed in two separate rooms which were accessed from the outside although they were part of the main structure of the house. This allowed each room to have its own little porch area, each with a table and chairs (and ashtrays...thanks Liz! I should add that smoking is not permitted in the rooms either, which is a good thing)
The rooms themselves were individually decorated and furnished, and had a great, homey feel to them. The bathrooms were large and equipped with everything, and there were even some nice shower gels and shampoos, as well as numerous candles. I may have overlooked some things, but that's what I remember.
The beds are extremely comfortable, There is also a faint smell of a wood stove (?) or chimney which adds a nice aromatic smell to the place.The room comes with pretty much everything you'd expect, or want, and Liz has also included plenty of brochures, useful phone numbers, and other useful information for hotel guests.
The breakfast room has a great atmosphere, with hot and cold breakfast options (made fresh to order) available. Unfortunately I was short on time but otherwise I would have loved to have stayed longer and eaten more there. I did have a hot breakfast, and it was delicious!
The staff are also excellent - Zac, the driver, who is very friendly and helpful, and of course Liz herself who is both very welcoming, friendly, and knowledgable about activities and information about the area. She put us in touch with a tour guide (Peter I believe his name was) who drove us to Soweto, which was a really great experience for first-timers to South Africa. We were also supposed to go to Pretoria, but unfortunately due to a long flight delay we were unable to do that, and Liz was able to call and cancel that tour for us, no problems. The other staff members were also very warm and friendly but I unfortunately did not get their names!
In short, the Liz at Lancaster is welcoming, clean, safe, and an excellent choice. I hope to return one day to Joburg and will definitely come back here!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JStadler222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LizatLancaster, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, July 18, 2012
Thank you so much for this extensive review of Liz at Lancaster. So many international visitors who travel to South Africa for the first time, usually starting in Joburg, are worried about safety issues - so we're really pleased that you felt so secure here at Liz at Lancaster. Also delighted that you enjoyed the toiletries and other details in the rooms. Next time you come to stay (and I hope there will be a next time), you must make sure you have plenty of time to make the most of what's on offer for breakfast. We have just a brief cold snap (only a few days) so the wood burner in the living room and the log fire in breakfast patio have been working overtime! But we are back to day temps of around 20C which is really not bad for mid-winter! I've passed your comments on to all the staff who were really appreciative that you had such positive comments about their service levels.
Thanks again for taking the time to write so extensively of your stay and hopefully, although it's a long way from home and work, you will be back again in the future
From all the team at Liz at Lancaster
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (61)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Gaborone, Botswana
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 13, 2012

The flatlets are beautifully arranged and equipped, each with their own lovely little secluded yard, fully equipped kitchen, extremely comfortable furniture well placed, excellent light, the widest range of DSTV channels, and the fastest wireless internet I've ever had in a B&B. And quiet! The service is wonderfully attentive but discreet, and the arrangement of the overall B&B premises allows you to have complete privacy or social time with other guests in the central area depending on your mood. I feel like I'm returning to my own apartment every time I stay here. Liz always makes you feel welcome and works hard to accomodate your needs.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank KarenRomano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LizatLancaster, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, July 16, 2012
Thank you Karen for your reveiw of Liz at Lancaster. We love having you and are pleased that Liz at Lancaster feels like home. It is good too that you comment on the internet connection as so often international guests arrive in Joburg for the first time and they compare the local internet speed to the speed they are used to internationally. Being their first taste of SA, they don't realize that Liz at Lancaster has very fast internet speed! So thanks for commenting on this. Pleased too that you enjoy the privacy of the units and the ability to be self-contained. We strive to allow for this while alwasy being on call should you need. We look forward to welcoming you back.
All the best from Liz and all the team: Catherine, Zac and Thandie
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Stuttgart, Deutschland
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2012

Liz gave us a very warm welcome to her beautiful home. Our room was very beautiful and spacious with a nice interior. The rrom was very clean. We also had a fully equipped kitchen.
The breakfast was served in a wunderful room with a view to the garden and the pool. The fruit salad was delicious, everything else as well!
Liz helped us to organise a tour through Johannesburg City and Soweto. The tour with Peter Mashaba was very great and instructive.
Liz' property is located in a nice surrounding, it is huge and secure.
You feel like you are at home, because Liz is a warmhearted person and she a cute dog and two cats. You can use wifi for free, also on a guest-PC.
We woould really recommend to stay at this beautiful place!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mirko_vyskozil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, July 3, 2012
Dear Mirko,
Great to read your review - Thank you. We appreciate you following up after your stay. It's particularly good of you to take the time and trouble to write a review given that you stayed in January, as so often when guests get back home, the business of living gets in the way of all good intentions to share experiences of your holiday sites and accommodation. I know - it happens to me! I've also passed on your postive feedback to Peter Mashaba who was delighted that you enjoyed the tour. He is an excellent guide and he and Simon Mosikare of Tours4us, as well as Lebo of Sowetobicycletours are all Soweto born and bred and all run excellent small tailor-made tours. I hope your summer is being kind to you in Germany. We have had a mild winter so far with a couple of cold spells but day temperatures at around 20 degrees for the last few days :) Hope you come back to South Africa again to see more of the country. If so we hope to welcome you back to Liz at Lancaster.
With all the best from the Liz at Lancaster team - Liz, Catherine, Zac and Thandie
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2012

What a great place to stay. The room was perfect with lots of space and every need seemed to have been considered and thought about. Full bathroom inluding a large shower and the beds comfortable and warm. We stayed 3 nights in winter for a family function. Staff were professional and friendly making us feel welcome while at the same time giving us privacy.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Cheryl C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, June 27, 2012
Thank you Cheryl for adding to Liz at Lancaster's reviews on Tripadvisor. It is good to have more input and feedback from local South African travellers and we really value your input. We're pleased that you were warm and comfy despite the Joburg cold winter nights. The staff were pleased to get your positive feedback about their service. Thank you for coming to stay and we hope to welcome you back to Liz at Lancaster in the not too distant future.
All the best from us all at Liz at Lancaster
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 23, 2012

I cannot recommend Liz @ Lancaster enough. Short stays, long stays, alone or with others. We stayed only for 2 nights - a number of others seemed to be long stayers in town on business. Apparently someone stayed for 3 years; this sort of set-up would suit 2-3 month stays well, but equally short stays. It beats any corporate style hotel. Even before we arrived, Liz (the owner) responded to emails with detailed and helpful information. Her emails were a breath of fresh air when compared to the standard wording other establishments often reply with. Unfortunately, we didn't meet Liz as she was away for the weekend, but she left a note in the room with her direct mobile number, and her great team (Catherine, Zac) looked after us brilliantly. Someone was on site all the time we were there. Even though Liz was away she has prepared a vast folder of information and put them in the rooms, with restaurant ideas, sightseeing suggestions, take away menus, etc. If you think there's little to see or do in Joburg, speak to Liz, she'll set the record straight.

Every room has it's own exterior entrance and outdoor courtyard with garden chairs and table (I think - ask though if this matters to you), some have kitchenettes. Rooms are well appointed and have every amenity one could need - high quality bedding and furnishings, underfloor heating, their own phonelines, an intercom through to the house/office, also I think some of the 'flats' and 'cottages' have separate sitting rooms/ areas. The fridge is well stocked with drinks and prices are v reasonable. You'll find a jug of fresh milk in the fridge for tea, ice in the freezer for drinks. Breakfasts are amazing - there's all sorts on offer, beautifully presented. Zac lives on site and has a minibus for airport transfers and trips around town, meaning one isn't left trying to sort transport arrangements with a cab company over the phone. Liz also has good contacts for informative tours - we didn't take a tour in the end as we decided to go to the Apartheid Museum (fantastic, though harrowing, and well worth an afternoon of anyone's time - though note there is a huge amount of reading to get through and it isn't ideal for kids).

At L@L, you'll find a pool (we stayed in Winter so it wasn't in use) and a garden. There is secure parking and one enters through a gate, waits for it to shut, before getting out of the car. In fact the whole place feels v secure though somehow the security features feel discreet and aren't overbearing. We felt safe the whole time we were in Joburg, both at L@L and around town. There are shops / facilities (including a restaurant - we didn't eat there though) within a block and we would have felt comfortable walking there during the day. You can literally see them at the end of the road if you walk out of the gate at L@L. It is also a short drive to the restaurants on 4th Avenue - particularly recommend a bakery/cafe/restaurant called Vovo Telo. We had dinner there one night (a varied menu, good buzzy atmosphere, while relaxed) having found the recommendation in the huge folder of info in our room.

So are there any catches? Very few, and we were extremely happy with all aspects of our stay. But here goes in case any of the following are important to you.
(1) The TV has a good selection of channels (perhaps 20) and we didn't need anything more, though some long stayers may find the selection a bit limiting if they plan to stay in most evenings. Saying that it has movie channels and the BBC so we would have been fine!
(2) Liz has an adorable dog (a yellow labrador called Marley) and she lollops around the house and garden. She won't jump up at you, doesn't slobber or smell doggy, and isn't particularly active. She was in the breakfast room while we were there - every one of the guests seemed to know her and encourage her to join them at their tables, us included. However, if you don't like dogs, I'm sure Liz or her team won't be offended if you let them know ahead of time so they can keep Marley out of the breakfast room while you're in there. If you are allergic to dogs, I doubt you'd have a problem because it's unlikely she'd go anywhere near the rooms/cottages at the back of the L@L plot, let alone in them.
(3) The gardens/plot. L@L is on a good sized plot, but the buildings and parking areas do take up much of the plot. In the front (i.e. along the side where the road is, but shielded by the tall walls - unfortunately they're everywhere in Joburg) is the garden and pool, then the main house is in the middle of the plot, with the various rooms and cottages are either at the back of the main house or in separate buildings at the back of the plot. Everything is well landscaped, and well set up for 'independent' living (i.e. you don't have to go through the main house to get to your room/cottage), but if you need to be surrounded by grounds, look elsewhere, perhaps in one of the outer Northern suburbs. As I say, there is a good size garden here, with patio and grassed areas, and it should be more than sufficient for most people's needs.
(3) Kids. If your kids are particularly boisterous, this may not be the best set-up for them. There's not oodles of room to race around, and given the sort of guests L@L attracts, if your kids are noisy sorts they may rub people up the wrong way. Ask Liz before dismissing the idea of staying here with kids though as she may have cottages that might suit your needs, or be able to recommend somewhere else.
(4) Light sleepers. There are a few parking spaces next to some of the rooms. I doubt anyone's going to rock up in the early hours after a night on the tiles as this isn't a raucous sort of place. I did feel bad though that when we left at 6am the minibus would have been parked up within earshot of some of the rooms. We stayed in the Blue Room which does not give onto the parking areas. Speak to Liz if this if you are a light sleeper, though even if you do end up in a room that adjoins the parking area I doubt you'll notice any noise.
(5) Airport transfers - Zac is a brilliant guy, always on time, and with a smile. There are two ways to the airport, the back way and the motorway. Zac took the back way on both occasions - distance wise it's about 25km instead of the 40km highway trip (I hope I'm getting the figures right here) and goes through suburb after suburb. This means you go over speed bump after speed bump, round corners, stopping and starting at traffic lights and junctions. I have no doubt this is a quicker way to/from the airport, especially if the motorway is likely to be snarled up with traffic, and you have a more interesting view out of the window. Speak up if you have particular issues with speed bumps and the idea of stop/starting before you set out - I have to say, despite Zac's careful driving, I felt a bit 'thrown around' on our 6am transfer to the airport by the time we arrived there, but that may have something to do with the 5am start.

We wholeheartedly recommend this place, and would transit through Joburg more on trips to Africa now we know there is somewhere homely and comfortable to regroup after long flights.

Room Tip: Blue Room - tucked away and quiet. Likely to be the smallest 'room' at L@L as many of them...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank R P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, June 26, 2012
Dear R P,
We at Liz at Lancaster are bowled over by your review. You have gone to so much trouble to give a really detailed account of all aspects of Liz at Lancaster, including, very usefully the caveats. Next time I update my website I think I must send the copy to you to proof-read and add to !! This is a full blown 'visitorial'. Thank you. And I know that, because of the really full picture you paint with all the detail, it will be really useful to travellers coming to Joburg. This is really appreciated.
And as for the message I left you with my cell phone number, it would not have been much use as the place where I was staying for the week-end had no cell phone coverage so you couldn't have got hold of me. This was also why I didn't make contact with you first hand.
Very glad that you enjoyed Vovo Telo. And also, in the light of the bad press that Joburg gets, it was good that you were pleasantly suprised with the feeling of safety & security in Joburg generally.
So R P, hopefully you will come to SA again, to Joburg again and to Liz at Lancaster again and we can welcome you back and I can get to meet you personally this time. Thanks again for your time and for your attention in writing so extensively about your feedback on your stay here.
All the best to you both from all the team at Liz at Lancaster
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Oakland, California
Level Contributor
32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 3, 2012

We stayed at Liz at Lancaster for before heading to Kruger National Park. The rooms were excellent with a spacious bathroom and self catering amenities (fridge, microwave, etc.) We stayed in the Blue Room which was secluded and offered great privacy. Even better than the room was breakfast - it was absolutely delicious! Fresh fruit, made to order eggs, cereal, everything was available. Liz was also an exceptional host providing great information about the Jo'Burg and even printing out a residency letter for our SIM card purchase. The location was secure and quiet. The neighborhood has a few shops that are walkable, but many restaurants that are a short drive. We definitely recommend Liz@Lancaster and would happily come back!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jstewar9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LizatLancaster, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, June 9, 2012
Thanks for your review of your stay at Liz at Lancaster. We're delighted that you enjoyed our breakfasts. Zac and Catherine both do wonderful work with producing the standard fare as well as special requests to alleviate any repetition and boredom of longer term stays. Also pleased that you enjoyed the seclusion of the blue room - although it is the smallest of the units, in winter it is snugly warm and in summer it is beautifully cool. And although all the units are private and quiet, the Blue room is probably the most secluded. Also so pleased you enjoyed the Kruger Park. I have just returned from a 5 day break there at Talamati, one of the smaller bush camps (no shop etc.) and it was just wonderful. If you are ever back this way again we look forward to welcoming you back again.
All the best
Liz, Catherine, Zac, Thandie and Rose (the newest addition to the Liz at Lancaster team)
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Dublin, Ireland
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2012

I recently spent 12 nights at Liz@Lancaster, followed by 6 nights 2 weeks later and will return again next week for 10 nights. This is first class accomodation in a very secure, quiet location with a great team, led by Liz. There are 6 individual units, all completely self contained, with no noise transferring between them. Beautiful grounds and great food complete the offer. So much better than a hotel. Absolutely ideal if you are in Johannesburg for work or play. A wonderful representation of the best of South African hospitality and warmth.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Bernie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LizatLancaster, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, May 30, 2012
Thank you Bernie for taking the time post a review of your stays at Liz at Lancaster. We are delighted that you keep returning and have added to our community of 'repeat guests'. Just as returning guests like the familiarity of Liz at Lancaster, from our side, we too like the continuity and catching up. We have seen guests get married, become parents, grandparents, lose parents, etc. so we feel privileged to make these long-lasting connections over time. We look forward to welcoming you back next week.
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Additional Information about Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

Property: Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
Address: 79 Lancaster Avenue | Craighall Park, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Johannesburg
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 293 B&Bs / Inns in Johannesburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
One of the first guesthouses to open in the Rosebank Region some 19 years ago, Liz at Lancaster has built a strong reputation based on excellent personal service, great comfort, convenient location, seclusion and privacy. Given recognition for this in 2011 with an AA Accommodation Award for ‘People who go the extra mile’, an AA Accommodation in 2012 for 'Traveller's best value', Liz at Lancaster was also voted a finalist three years in a row in the AA 2010, 2011 & 2012 Accommodation Awards. We are included in Greenwood Guides Handpicked Accommodation. But perhaps most telling of all are our guest comments: ‘We loved the peace and privacy – we didn’t even know there were other guests here.’ ‘Craighall Park is such a central location – under 10 minutes from Rosebank and Melrose Arch and less than 15 minutes to Sandton Central. Even Parktown and Joburg Central are easily accessible – it took us 12 minutes to Wits.’ ‘Superb service and such comfortable spacious rooms’. ‘The on-site transport was a real added bonus.’ ‘Your Joburg information booklet in our room was amazingly helpful and useful.’ It is a mere 12 minute ride from O.R Tambio International Airport to the Rosebank Gautrain Station which is only 3.5 km from Liz at Lancaster. You can either pick up your rental car when you arrive at the station, or phone us for a transfer – a real added convenience. With 7 very private individual units all with separate entrances and kitchenettes offering self-catering options, Liz at Lancaster is ideal for long stays whether for business travelers or for those relocating. Rates drop for weekly and monthly stays. There are 2 standard spacious double rooms (25 & 30 m²), 3 studio flatlets (55 m²), and 2 one-bedroom cottages (80 m²) each with separate living/dining room and open plan kitchen. All lead onto their own enclosed courtyards where you can enjoy your privacy on a warm Highveld summer evening while sipping at a sundowner from your mini-bar. During our chilly Jozi winter months you will be warmly snug with under-carpet heating and electric blankets. All units have shower and bath, ample well-lit work areas/dining tables, separate sitting area, broadband WiFi connection, flat screen TVs and DSTV with own decoders (25 channels), overhead fans, convenient luxuries like hairdryers, toweling gowns, radio clock alarms, luxurious cotton percale linen, a house branded range of natural toiletries and on-the-house E-spring filtered water. Delicious breakfasts are served to order on the breakfast patio which opens out onto the garden in summer and is warmed by a roaring log fire in winter. There is ample secure off-street undercover parking. We offer a same day laundry service and on-site transport at very reasonable rates. All credit cards including Diners and American Express are accepted. Liz and two staff live on site and are always at the other end of the internal intercoms. As Liz taught Art History and Heritage at Wits University for 25 years, she keeps abreast with cultural events and has quite an extensive library. A further bonus of staying at Liz at Lancaster is the convenience of the neighbourhood shops at the end of the block: a 7-7 grocery store, a chemist, restaurant, etc. ... more   less 
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