1. Hallmark House
Opened late last year, Hallmark House is a game-changer for Johannesburg on several levels. The concept, first of all — it’s a mixed-use development, with hotel rooms scattered amid apartments, a coffee shop and restaurant, and more outlets are set to open on the ground floor. Then, its credentials — the building was designed by renowned Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye OBE, who’s even bought an apartment here. Most important is the location — on the far edge of Maboneng, the blossoming hipster enclave in the formerly gritty city centre, far from the modern suburbs where most smart hotels are located. This is the new Johannesburg. Rooms are beautifully put together, with traditionally patterned wallpaper, wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies overlooking landmarks such as the Ponte City skyscraper and the Emirates Airline Park stadium. There’s also a jazz bar next door and a handy daytime shuttle bus runs to central Maboneng. Doubles from £51, room only.
2. The Peech
An idyllic hotel with a small pool, quiet gardens and resident cat. Three two-storey blocks line the one-acre garden of a 1950s house (now the main building and restaurant). An extension on a neighbouring plot of land will add 14 rooms by December. Doubles from £137, room only.
3. House Higgo
This self-styled ‘boutique guesthouse’ is a conversion of a grand former residence, with an open-plan dining-living room, terrace and seven rooms. There’s a hot tub, pool and cooked breakfast each morning. It’s slightly out of the way, so budget for taxis. Doubles from £85, B&B.
4. Satyagraha House
This is where Mahatma Gandhi lived during his stay in Johannesburg, from 1908-1909. Today, it’s a museum with lodgings on the side. Seven rooms are split between the house, a later cottage and a modern wing. Doubles from £168, B&B.
Published in the May 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)