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The Peech Hotel

The Peech Hotel, poolside

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Long spurned as Cape Town's ugly sister, Johannesburg is reinventing itself with some of the most exclusive hotels in South Africa. Blue List Hotels finds the future's looking Peech-y.

first impressions
Nestled on a quiet, tree-lined avenue in the heart of Johannesburg's vibrant northern suburbs, this four-star boutique hotel is an oasis of contemporary elegance.

Thanks to its young and ambitious owner, Englishman James Peech, the ten-bedroom hotel oozes flair and sophisticated style, whilst retaining a bundle of home-is-where-the-heart-is charm.

James and his new giant Peech have set an impressive standard of inner-city luxury – and have a string of international accolades to prove it. In fact, since it opened in 2005, this ultra-modern, sexy hideaway has earned its reputation among trendy travellers as the place to stay – and, moreover, the place to be seen.

bedrooms
At present, guest accommodation comprises eight spacious bedrooms and two grand suites, all of which are outfitted to the highest possible standard. (An additional 16 carbon-neutral rooms and suites are currently in the pipeline, and will be ready for July 2008).

Each room boasts King-sized beds with bespoke soft linen, feather duvets, thick and comfortable mattress, and handmade cushions. Polished Oregon pine floorboards, covered in Blesbok-hide rugs, give the rooms that 'Afro-Euro' feel, while original framed prints decorate the brilliant-white walls. Large windows offer views overlooking the grounds, and give rooms a bright, airy and spacious feel.

But it's the abundance of mod-cons that make these rooms so trendy. It's a little like stepping onto the set of former BBC series, Tomorrow's World; there are cutting-edge gadgets everywhere you look. From state-of-the-art flat screen LCD TVs (with a variety of SKY and cable channels), iPod Sound Docks, air conditioning and 'unbreakable' electronic code safes – this is techno-junkies heaven.

Here's a tip: bring your own laptop and enjoy unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi – boasting excellent signal strength – from the comforts of your room. And if you're in the city to work, you've come to the right place. Rooms feature a generous writing desk (with complimentary stationery), matching wooden chair, and direct-dial telephones with answer phone service. The suites, meanwhile, boast their own studies.

The Peech Hotel, bedroom

Bathrooms are equally generous in both size and amenities, with bespoke porcelain throughout, chic Hans Grohe fittings, hairdryers and thick bathrobes. There's also a selection of complimentary Molten Brown bath products.

Walk-in 'Raindance Showers' – with five adjustable types of water jet – are, the uncouth might say, a wet dream. And then, of course, there's the luxurious hot tubs ... but be warned: these huge, relaxing baths pose a serious 'prune' threat – that is, you won't want to pull the plug until you look like one!

food and drink
If you've a taste for modern, edgy cuisine, then The Peech will not disappoint – the mouthwatering menus have a flavour for flair. In fact the dishes, created by a small team of expert chefs, are presented so artistically that tucking into them may leave you with an aftertaste – of guilt!

Menus include hearty cooked and Continental breakfasts, an a la carte lunch range, a selection of all-day meals, and an impressive wine list boasting fine, South African tipples. Room service is available 24/7, but the deli-style restaurant is a must for its stunning décor and wall-hung photographs, alone.

The affluent neighbourhood that surrounds is also home to a number of quality and affordable restaurants, cafes and bars. If you're hungry for love, hit the 'seafood' dance floors at the local nightclubs ... for the Catch of the Day.

The Peech Hotel, cocktail bar

However you spend your evening, end it back at The Peech with a nightcap – or a strong coffee – from the cocktail bar.

service with a smile?
Someone in the hotel industry once told Blue List Hotels that 'hospitality' is about making your guests feel at home – even though you wish they were. True for some hotels, no question, but certainly not for The Peech. You get the impression that staff here are actually happiest when they are at work; such is their general enthusiasm for the job. It's might only be a four-star hotel (for now, at least), but expect five-star service from the moment you arrive.

local attractions
Slap-bang in the heart of cosmopolitan Melrose, The Peech is perfectly located to explore the best and safest areas of South Africa's most interesting and infamous city.

Just streets away are a number of shopping malls, stocked with dozens of high-street shops and international brands. If you're on a budget (or if your other half has stolen your credit card), don't worry: the strong Pound against the Rand means you're sure to bag yourself a bargain.

Culture vultures should swoop into the city centre where art galleries including MOMA, the Everard Read and the Johannesburg Art Gallery can be found. There are also a number of cinemas nearby featuring the latest international flicks.

Whatever you do, be sure to take a tour of the Soweto townships – a shameful and lasting legacy of apartheid that tens of thousands of impoverished black South Africans still call home. Half-day tours of these sprawling slums take-in the former home of civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, and the present home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

But remember, you don't have to leave the hotel to enjoy your day – you're on holiday, after all. Grab a hammock and laze away the afternoon amongst the aged Jacaranda trees in the indigenous, landscaped garden. Cool off in the swimming pool and indulge in a therapeutic head and shoulder massage on the patio.

If you're feeling really active, guests also receive complimentary access to the adjacent gym. Planet Fitness has a 50-metre pool, evening fitness classes such as Pilates and Yoga, and a selection of weights.

If the only thing you want to pick-up is a good book and cup of coffee, head straight to the library where a range of complimentary titles await.

will it break the bank?
Can we afford it? Yes you Afri-can. Tariffs, including breakfast and taxes, start at the absurdly low price of ZAR1,550 (around £103) per room, and ZAR1,650 (around £109) per suite.

The Romantic Package, which includes accommodation and breakfast, a three-course meal a la carte, and a bottle of fine South African wine, costs just ZAR1,600 (approx £106) based on two sharing.

The Decadent Package, meanwhile, costs only ZAR1,400 (about £93) based on two sharing, and offers accommodation and breakfast, a bottle of Cap Classique bubbly, and a tasty box of Swiss chocolates.

details
The Peech Hotel
61 North Street
Melrose
Johannesburg
Gauteng
South Africa
Web: www.thepeech.co.za

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