I don’t know why this is the case, but February has been the endless month for me. The way people talk about #Januworry just going on forever – I’m having that exact same experience with February. And truthfully, the chance to enjoy a luxury staycation in our very own city of Johannesburg really promised sanctuary from all these new year’s blues! I welcomed this opportunity to visit Clico Boutique Hotel in the leafy suburb of Rosebank with open arms and a resounding “YES”.
Location, Location, Location
You might be surprised if I tell you that choosing Rosebank over Sandton could be your best decision yet. Whether you’re a business traveller in Johannesburg for work, or an international visitor using Johannesburg as a springboard for all your Southern African travel adventures, I recommend you skip Sandton and consider Rosebank. Let me tell you why!
Though the Sandton skyline is filled with impressive skyscrapers and well-known hotel chains, traffic in Sandton can be quite the obstacle course to maneuver. With *a lot* of construction and road upgrades currently ongoing, rush-hour especially becomes a low-key war zone of cars, minibus taxis and buses, all filled with commuters desperate to get home. Though Rosebank is also busy during rush-hour, it is not quite as densely packed with large office buildings as Sandton, meaning there isn’t quite as much of a melee as in “the richest square mile in Africa”.
And you won’t be missing much, except maybe that cool statue of Nelson Mandela, and a few excellent restaurants (for the foodies). But if you must see Sandton, it’s a quick & easy trip on the Gautrain. Rosebank has one of the most prestigious malls in Johannesburg, littered with all your favourite brands and shops, as well as banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, cinemas, forex, takeaways, coffee shops, and restaurants galore. Let’s not forget the Keyes Art Mile, also in Rosebank, that has quickly shot up as one of the trendiest restaurant and art areas in the city. Rosebank is also much closer to other fashionable and/or bohemian suburbs and locations, such as Melville, Illovo, Linden, Auckland Park’s 44 Stanley and Parktown.
Owner Jeanette Schwegman opened Clico as a guest house in 2006, and has since transformed it into luxurious boutique accommodation, restaurant and function venue. If you’ve never visited before, you’ll find it to be an unexpected delight to come across this unique boutique hotel in the leafy suburb of Rosebank. Clico blends seamlessly into the general surrounds, and somehow remains an incredible hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.
Boutique is Better
We’ve all been there. We’re in a hotel with hundreds of rooms, waiting for over an hour for room service or just to get someone in to fix the window that won’t open. Or you can’t find the light switch to the bathroom in and amongst the tens of buttons all over. For the two of us, we’ve had some realisations during our years of travelling. We’ve come to appreciate, in all forms of accommodation – whether luxury 5-star or modest 3-star, whether camping or glamping – the smaller the venue, the higher your chances of a satisfying stay. The fewer rooms there are, the less sites on the map, the better the experience. And we can definitely confirm that this applies to Clico as well. With only 9 rooms on the property, you’re guaranteed that intimate attention.
If you’ve been following our travels for any time at all, you’ll know that we prize the outdoors and nature above all else. A holiday is really rejuvenating for myself and Travel Gigolo when we get to spend time in a slice of nature. In Clico, you find a stunning green sanctuary right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city of Johannesburg. Despite being within walking distance of the Gautrain Station and that premier shopping destination, Rosebank Mall, the boutique hotel offers a lush, green tree-filled garden and a remarkably quiet inner sanctum. The layout is such that every room opens up onto this quiet tranquil space, secreted away from the busy streets that border the venue.
Jen and Chef Marnus Scholly both spoke proudly of the newly refurbished functions & events space. This is a great venue for an intimate wedding, small conferences or important meetings, and even larger dinner parties or other special occasions. During our stay, we noticed that someone had booked it for what seemed like a birthday or some sort of special event. It’s a gorgeous light space boasting a hanging garden within, and large stacking doors that open to the beautiful garden outside.
Clico Restaurant is a highlight, a delight, a must-visit – even if you’re not staying at the hotel. More on that soon!
Recommended Luxury Destination
Though I’ve visited Clico before, I’d never had the opportunity to enjoy a stay there until recently, but I’ve always loved the look and feel of the place. It somehow matches classic old-world elegance with all the modern requirements of luxury travel. And as if that weren’t enough, you’re surrounded by a green space that lifts and rejuvenates the spirit, and allows you to relax and get away from work stresses or the non-stop city energy, without being more than 5 minutes away from that same frenetic vivacity.