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“Just the badger!”

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Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
Ranked #1 of 297 Johannesburg B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Just the badger!”
Reviewed May 20, 2013

What a wonderful place to stay.
Our family is spread over north and south Johannesburg so location is a bonus.
Thanks for looking after us so well and the breakfasts set us up for the day.
A hotel would be far too impersonal and we enjoyed the quiet garden.
Des and Angela

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Des E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz D, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, May 23, 2013
We're delighted Des and Angela that you found the location at Liz at Lancaster to be so convenient. As you know, many of South Africa's map books are published by Map Studio. And Map Studio's book of Joburg has a schematic diagram of this large metropolis with motorways, main arteries and key suburbs. And RIGHT in the centre of Map Studio's diagram is Craighall Park, which as you so rightly point out, is equidistant from the southern and northern regions of this large sprawling. Plus of course we are less than 15 minutes from Sandton, Randburg, Johannesburg Central and Cresta in the west, and less than 10 minutes from Rosebank. So we are certainly a central location. Good too that the garden was a haven in this bustling city.
All the best from the team at Liz at Lancaster: Liz , Catherine, Zac and Thandie
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
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English first
Brisbane, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
157 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2013

There’s a reason Liz at Lancaster is #1 on Trip Advisor; it is simply top notch.

Travelling alone, I traversed reviews for weeks, wanting somewhere ‘safe’ (I was overcome by the cautions on TA), and wanted something between a backpackers (for friendliness & meeting people) and a hotel (for comfort). Liz at Lancaster is what you might call more a ‘utopia’; providing the best of both. Liz’s delivered the familiarity of a backpackers but with the luxury of a hotel; no, correct that, the luxury of a ‘home’.

Each room (I stayed in the ‘Earth’ room) is like a mini apartment/flat, resplendent with lounge, kitchenette and courtyard (bigger than some London dwellings)! I only had 2 days in Johannesburg (wish it was more; it gets an undeserved bad wrap and I will be going back), and Liz confirmed all bookings efficiently via email and, organised an airport pick up by the wonderful Zac (who waited 2 hours for my delayed flight), and booked me a Soweto and Apartheid Museum tour ahead of my arrival. Liz’s website gives a great outline for first-time visitors to Jozi of what-to-do on anything from a 2 to 7 day visit. Check it out.

In regard to rooms, I visited at the start of winter (still moderate, but chilly nights and mornings) and the floor-heated carpet and bathroom tiles were, for this Australian, a revelation I had not encountered before. Pure luxury! Pad around in your bare feet and singlet top and you’ll still be more than comfortable brushing your teeth and getting ready for the day. If you need to repack, like I did, there’s more than enough room to swing 10 cats!!!! There’s also a heated blanket on the bed, but I didn’t need this during my time. My favourite things about Liz’s were: you can come and go as you please (this isn’t rooms in a house, it’s your own place, just like a hotel) and you get keys and a gate ‘toggle’ to enter and exit at your leisure. In room, there’s a ‘mini-bar’ if you like, and wine and other such refreshments are stocked (at reasonable cost) if you haven’t had the time (or inclination) to self-cater. There is ‘home-filtered, great tasting’ water and signature South African ‘husks’ for free! You can buy groceries from the walking-distance store up the road to fend-for-yourself in the fully decked-out kitchen or, order from the extensive Mr Delivery-menu (or, of course, eat out; and with arrangements, be collected by the fabulous Zac, or get home by taxi)! The bathroom toiletries are also ‘something else’; not the usual commercially-produced perfumed fare, they’re lovely essentials of oatmilk, honey and bran. Strangely, in South Africa they only seem to supply shampoo/conditioner combined, so if you like it otherwise, make sure you pack a standalone conditioner. Blowdryers in room.

Breakfast is superb with the options of home-made muesli (no preservatives, no sugar), which can be sweetened with the organically harvested local honey (a consumption of joy on my visit). Hot breakfasts and specially brewed coffee are made to order, and with the delightful smells emanating from the kitchen, and the view overlooking the sun-kissed pool; it’s a pretty good start to your day.

The Craighall Park neighbourhood is very pretty with tree-lined streets and feels very safe. I’m not sure, however, its proximity to ‘things to do’ because Zac chauffeured me everywhere I needed to go. Liz is very helpful, so if this is a priority of your visit, email her ahead of time and I’m sure she’ll respond with best options to get around.

I used Liz’s suggested Peter for my Soweto tour and was very happy; a very generous and friendly host. I was lucky enough to join Fred and Lydia from Ghana and their insight provided me a different, and appreciated, perspective.

We collected Fred and Lydia from the Hyatt, and still, admiring its surrounds and friendly service, I wouldn’t give you tuppence for it after having enjoyed Liz at Lancaster!!!

Liz’s is simply the perfect choice for the comfort and (frankly, more than luxury) of a hotel, combined with the relaxed friendliness of a backpackers. And, you can take it both ways; together, or mutually exclusive!

LIZ’s is the BEST OF ALL WORLDS, however your inclination to enjoy it is!!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank SoozSolo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz D, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, May 23, 2013
Wow Suzanne ! Can I either bottle you as a preserve or photocopy you ? (the latter is an expression from an ex-student who was so delighted with how I had helped sort out a bureaucratic admin problem at Wits where I taught for many years!!) Next time I need to re-write my website I am coming to you! .. 'sun-kissed pool'; 'organically harvested local honey'; 'specially brewed coffee' .... I need this for my marketing copy! We have a clear ethos at Liz at Lancaster encapsulated in the line 'Quiet Convenient Connected' and we're so delighted that this ethos seems to be of value to travellers. You make mention of Zac as a trusted and reliable transporter, our valuable local knowledge of Johannesburg, the independence of being able to come and go at will, the sheer luxury in chilly Joburg winter of underfloor heating in both bedroom and bathroom, and the shifting of perceptions around Joburg and the 'bad wrap' it gets. So thank you for your glowing words about your stay at the 'utopia' of Liz at Lancaster, and we so hope that you will return to explore further this mad,crazy, vibrant, interesting city. I really enjoyed meeting you and wish you a wonderful time on your amazing adventure through Africa in the next few months.
Take care and wishing you all the best from me, Liz and the rest of the team: Zac, Catherine, and Thandie
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London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2013

I am lucky enough to have started to stay at Liz's on a regular basis. It really is a home from home - actually it's much nicer than my house so that probably doesn't do Liz's justice. Liz perfectly balances providing great comfort, friendly service and care, without compromising guest's space and independence. The rooms are well equipped and with shops at the end of the road you can easily eat in if you choose. That said Illovo, Hyde Park and Parkhurst are on your doorstep - should you choose to head out you'll be there in minutes. Without a car? Don't worry Zac can whisk you off to your destination somehow magically missing out all of the infamous Joburg traffic. Breakfast is a highlight - they accomodated my dislike of papaya in fruit salad without a word! If you are new to the city Liz provides great practical advice and tips and can separate fact from myth for the tourist. Last and by no means least is the lovely bird filled garden - a great place to relax and let the day go by.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank David W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz D, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, April 24, 2013
David thank you so much for your review of your experiences here at Liz at Lancaster. We are very happy that you feel we have found the right balance between concerned attention and service on the one hand and space and privacy on the other. We love that guests can come and go with complete independence. Many guests have commented how they prefer to sit at their own individual tables, rather than one long table where there is often and expectation to 'make conversation' with strangers. As it happens guests often strike up conversations, there is no pressure to do so. As always Zac gets a mention. At Liz at Lancaster we are only too aware of the value he adds to the business with his calm manner, ever-present friendly smile and excellent knowledge of Joburg. And thank you for the accolade of being able to 'separate fact from myth' - important in a city like Joburg which gets such bad press internationally (and even locally.) We all look forward to welcoming you back for your next business trip
From us all at Liz at Lancaster : Liz, Zac, Catherine, and Thandie
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Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2013

We have just returned from a wonderful holiday in South Africa, which began with 3 nights staying with Liz at Lancaster. I booked at 'Liz' based on the terrific TA reviews and the rave reviews were certainly well justified. The 'Earth Room' we stayed in was large, VERY comfortable with a large comfy bed and extremely well equipped with a sofa, table, kitchenette and well stocked honesty bar. No detail is overlooked. The en-suite bathroom has a free standing shower as well as bath and is complete with an assortment of toiletries. There are grab rails above the bath and next to the toilet for anyone with balance problems. Breakfast was fantastic - a large and varied choice in a light and airy room overlooking the gardens. Probably the best omelette I've ever eaten! The garden is well kept with an attractive, clean pool. It may have been cool by SA standards, but hubby still went for a swim (as Liz said, he IS English!). If you are looking for somewhere in Jo'burg that is quiet, comfortable, and very friendly with a fantastic breakfast then book at Liz at Lancaster. One of the best B&Bs I've ever stayed in and a wonderful start to our holiday.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank okeydokeIOW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz D, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, April 17, 2013
Wow Okeydoke, thank you so much for such positive feedback. We so love it when we 'set the scene' for visitors to South Africa and they have a good feel from the start. We're very pleased that it all worked out so well and that it was such a good starting point for you. We really enjoyed meeting you both and were only sorry that you got a bit lost from the airport. But you seemed to take this all in your stride and were completely laid back about it - a wonderful gift when traveling to foreign places. I passed on your compliment to Zac about his omelette and he was delighted .. big beam! So pleased too that you had a good three week holiday in SA. We love it when visitors love our country. So hopefully with family here in Joburg you'll be back and we'll see you again. All the best from us all at Liz at Lancaster - Liz, Zac, Catherine, Thandie, Rose and Elaine
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San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I really cannot say enough about Liz's. It was such a treat for us- from the gorgeous and comfy rooms, the hand-crafted toiletries and amenities, the incredible breakfast, and the helpful and generous staff. I really didn't want to leave. It's so cozy, it almost feels like being at home. But I would trade home any day for staying at Liz's. She's thought of absolutely everything. All of the little details are thought of- from heated floors, breakfast served in room by request, fresh milk in your fridge for your coffee (Liz's special blend), and even an entire book on anything and everything you ever wanted to know about or do in Jo'burg. Liz, Zac, and Catherine were so helpful and friendly. And for the price, you really cannot beat it. I will stay here every single time I come to Jo'burg. In fact, I would stay at Liz's over any big hotel in any city. Truly a special place. You can feel the love and joy that Liz and her team pour into it and into making your stay comfortable and easy.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank adleec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz D, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, April 10, 2013
Thank you so much for your really positive feedback. 'One of the best places I have ever stayed at' is indeed wonderful praise. You write about the details that we have considered and how you would choose us over a hotel. While many travelers prefer the anonymity of a hotel as well as having access to facilities like a spa/gym, restaurants, bars, 24 hour room service, etc., many, like you, prefer all that a good guesthouse has to offer. What our guests really seem to enjoy and appreciate is the personal service and attention to detail; having access to myself as concierge with good local knowledge; the individuality, character and personal style; all the extras that are included in the rate; and the really reasonably priced add-ons like laundry, telephone, transport etc. I passed on your feedback to Zac and Catherine who send big appreciative smiles to you! So thanks again for taking the time and trouble to write of your stay here
All the best from the team at Liz at Lancaster
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mountain view
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013

is the best word to describe Liz at Lancaster!

Staying at Liz's is like snuggling into a very private, cozy cocoon, where you feel pampered and well taken care of. Every single little detail has been immaculately thought out to make the visitor feel comfortable and informed as possible.
The staff is excellent, the breakfast is yummy...yogurt, muesli, fresh fruit cocktail, juice, amazing bread for toast, eggs, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, french press coffee...
The rooms are spacious, wonderfully decorated, super comfortable beds, fluffy robes and towels, toiletries. They're also self catering, including all you eat rusks. Sorry, Liz...we emptied the canister for our trip home...can we get your recipe?
The hardest part is... you never want to leave!! I nearly cried when Zac packed our bags into the red van for our final trip to the airport.
Liz at Lancaster is truly a special place!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank angela l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz D, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, April 4, 2013
Thank you so much Angela for your glowing review of your time here at Liz at Lancaster. We so enjoyed having you both to stay and hearing all about your travels in the neighbouring countries. Amazing adventures! We're so pleased that all our various efforts to think of every detail to make our guests stay comfortable and special, succeed. As for the rusks - they are delicious! Made a batch last night and the smells that waft from the oven as they are baking and then drying out, is just not good for calorie consumption !! I will send you the recipe with pleasure. Thanks again for coming to stay. All the best from the team at Liz at Lancaster - Liz, Catherine, Zac, Thandie and Elaine
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Sugar Land, Texas, United States
1 review
Reviewed March 19, 2013

I was on assignment for 6 months and this was my first trip to Johannesburg, Liz definitely made my stay feel like home. Will definitely stay at the cottage again when I'm back. A+++++ service!

Wasn't able to try the breakfast the whole time since I had Fournos in my office building. My 6 month assignment felt like I was on vacation everytime I would come home from work.

Will definitely recommend to friends and family who are travelling to Johannesburg.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Alfred C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz D, Owner at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, responded to this review, March 19, 2013
We MISS you Alfred! The cottage seems so empty without various bike equipment around ! We are just very pleased that we could provide a base for you during your first visit to South Africa and one that felt like home. We so enjoyed having you to stay although, because you didn't have breakfasts here, I felt we saw so little of you. Was really good to meet your family: brother, wife and daughter as well too, as the various friends who were able to stay with you. Despite your longish break back home over Christmas, 6 months is a long time to be away from home. Thanks again Alfred for taking the time and trouble to write about your stay here and all the best to the family.
From us all at Liz at Lancaster: Liz, Catherine, Zac, Thandie and Elaine
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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 297 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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