April 09, 2009

For years, visitors to Johannesburg have made a beeline for the barricades: flashy, pricey, but often soulless hotels in secure northern suburbs such as Sandton. Clico Guest House (27 Sturdee Ave.; 27-11/252-3300; www.clic-o.com; doubles from $200), a boutique B&B in the leafy-chic Rosebank neighborhood, aims to change that. The building’s handsome Cape Dutch façade has been preserved, but inside, owner Jeanette Schwegmann has added contemporary fizz. Antique Moroccan inlaid-wood tables flank sleek sofas and chairs by local designer Dilly Lills. The rooms—seven, all with balconies—are done in crisp ocher and beige tones; each has a gleaming white bathroom with fitted heating lights (useful in the highveld winter). Dine in the garden on chef Sean Ackermann’s French-inspired dishes paired with rare South African wines—it’s a hot spot for nonguests as well. What hotel in Sandton can say that?

Clico Guest House Restaurant

Clico Guest House

This boutique b&b in the leafy-chic Rosebank neighborhood is a refreshing departure from Johannesburg’s other hotels in secure suburbs, which are typically flashy and pricey—and often soulless. Clico’s handsome Cape Dutch façade has been preserved, but inside, owner Jeanette Schwegmann has added contemporary fizz. Antique Moroccan inlaid-wood tables flank sleek sofas and chairs by local designer Dilly Lills. The nine rooms all have balconies overlooking the jacaranda-filled grounds and are done in crisp ocher and beige tones; the gleaming white bathrooms are fitted with heating lights (useful in the surprisingly chilly highveld winters). Dine in the garden, where items from the French-inspired menu—such as lamb noisettes stuffed with herbs and garlic, smoked salmon on Rösti with crème fraîche, and hazelnut crème brûlée—are so popular that the restaurant has become a hot spot for area residents as well.

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