The art of true escapism is more essential still when a stay is going to be short and sweet. You’re spoiled for choice in terms of Rosebank hotels, but Clico Boutique Hotel –complete with an outstanding restaurant – is at the top of our must-visit list. A real gem in a quiet but central location, it offers no choice but to succumb to complete and utter relaxation from the moment you arrive. A staycation close to home has never sounded better!
WHERE TO STAY
Clico Boutique Hotel
Rosebank is the Joburg neighbourhood with many faces. In the last 10 years, it’s shape-shifted its way through late-night party spot to become the hub of up-and-coming foodies and some of the city’s most sought-after tables. A hop, skip and a leap from Rosebank Mall, The Zone @ Rosebank, The Firs, the Gautrain Rosebank Station and vibrant mixed-use precinct Oxford Parks, Clico Boutique Hotel is a self-contained oasis. Right in the thick of Joburg’s most frenetic neighbourhood, it combines a warmly welcoming atmosphere with the attributes of a fully-fledged hotel – including a glamorous dining room and nine peaceful, softly lit bedrooms away from the thrum. The bedrooms are pockets of tranquility, each adorned with artwork, creamy carpets and fluttery ivory curtains. Rooms range from a pocket-sized Standard Room to a much-larger Superior Room and a pet-friendly Executive Suite. Our Superior Room, Room 4 on the ground floor, was painted in muted colours and clean-line modernist aesthetic. It had a sweet little private terrace – a natural spot for wine sipping and star gazing – as well as an open-plan bathroom with a shower and a wallow-in-me bath. The rest of the hotel is equally charming, particularly Clico Restaurant, where local, seasonal produce is sourced and cooked with respect by head chef Davies Moagi. Diners can expect dishes including beetroot cured salmon, springbok carpaccio, beef fillet and a duo of duck plus a varied wine selection. For dinner, revel in pan-fried baby squid with warm black rice salad, lobster bisque and onion tobacco followed by slow-cooked, oozy mushroom risotto with textures of mushrooms and pecorino cheese. We’re pleased to say we enjoyed every bite. Puddings are just as good – flourless chocolate torte, rooibos-infused crème brûlée, and vegan mango and coconut panna cotta. And for breakfast? The combinations are generally delicious old favourites. However, it’s the super-efficient and genuinely passionate staff that made the experience special during our visit.
Out and about: You’re in prime walking country here, so follow your nose around Rosebank’s endless alleys and backstreets and build up an appetite. You’re bound to stumble upon some of Joburg’s top restaurants and foodie hotspots. We’re big fans of Marble, with chef David Higgs at the helm – the inventiveness (coal-fired octopus pepped up with black sesame aioli, green pepper salsa, charred corn and green olives, or rib eye steak accompanied by a Hasselback potato and Jack Daniels cream sauce) is breathtaking but never feels like showing off.
27 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank
011 252 3300
WHERE TO EAT
Olives & Plates – Hyde Park
Joburgers know full well the hype around Olives & Plates – Hyde Park is worth it. The restaurant first opened in 2019, and it’s been a battle to get a table ever since. The Instagram-friendly interiors (think a pink-and-turquoise colour palette, velvet booth sofas and lots of gold accents) are bound to draw the crowds, but its excellent food is what’s fuelled this growth. When it comes to food, there’s everything from breakfast to light meals and small plates available, but the best time to visit is as the sun is setting (we highly recommend making a reservation) to see the city in daylight and at night. As dinner service picks up, it’s also nicely noisy with a relaxed, social atmosphere. What owner Andria Neophytou is doing, quite brilliantly, is taking the best of what’s in season and making it something wonderful the whole table will talk about. It’s all about the best ingredients, combined into flawless plates including grills, burgers, pastas, souvlaki and other hearty, filling meals. There’s also a selection of vegetarian dishes available for those who follow a plant-based diet. The burrata, kataifi-wrapped halloumi and spanakopita triangles shine as a starter, but meat lovers won’t be disappointed either – the grilled beef skewer is phenomenal, and the chorizo sausage particularly tempting. For mains, every dish is big on beautifully arranged combinations of texture, flavour and colour. A gorgonzola sauce swims pleasingly around a fillet steak, while the crunch and softness of Parmesan panko-crusted chicken fillets is enhanced by herb cream cheese and an artful stack of triple-cooked chips. The creamy prawn linguine – with a good spritzing of lemon zest and a mound of fresh pecorino on top – is glorious, too. We guarantee you’ll find it hard to pick a plate! Of course, no visit is complete without a slice of cake. Two things make eating here particularly special: The charming service and the unspeakably delicious, perfectly smooth and tangy baked cheesecake. It would be great with an espresso, but we finished ours too quickly to find out.
Inside Exclusive Books, Hyde Park Corner, corner of Jan Smuts Avenue & William Nicol Drive, Hyde Park
064 063 8373