Forwarding a recent blog on Liz at Lancaster posted by Johannesburg Guesthouses: http://www.johannesburg-guesthouses.co.za/blog/news/liz-at-lancaster-guest-house/
- Fast speed internet – the first thing all guests ask for on arrival is the internet password. And recently, a guest was so chuffed with the speed here, he downloaded an App to check our speed – it was 8.6 megs. He was super-impressed.
- We can all cope better after a good night’s sleep. Things like block-out lining, overhead fans, ambient room heating, good cross ventilation and of course firm mattresses and excellent quality linen, are often only noticed when they are not present. Peace and quiet go without saying but the rest all make a huge difference to great sleep quality.
- Number 3 has to be service – the keystone of the hospitality industry. And almost without fail those who stay at Liz at Lancaster comment on the amazing staff who offer caring friendly efficient service and always with a huge big smile. Thank you to Catherine, Zac, Thandie, Rose and Alick.
- 4 Freedom to do your own thing. You have your own table at breakfast so while you can talk to other guests (it’s not forbidden!!), you don’t have to. And sitting areas in all units and secluded courtyards allow for independence and privacy. Having said this guests have made long-lasting friendships having met at Liz at Lancaster.
- Winter warmth. Many visitors to South Africa say that they have been colder in South Africa than in traditionally colder climes, simply because our houses are not geared for the chilly weather. And Joburg gets cold in winter! With under-carpet heating, electric blankets, log fire in the breakfast patio and a toasty wood-burner in the main lounge, guests are assured of beating the cold. And what luxury to walk barefoot on heated tiled bathroom floors!
- While the Gautrain is a great option for getting to and from both the airport and Pretoria and Uber has revolutionized taxi services, Zac who works at Liz at Lancaster provides a great on-site transport service at very competitive rates. He knows his way around Joburg and arrangements can be made with him at any time during the day. A real added bonus of staying at Liz at Lancaster.
- Self-catering options. With all units having fully equipped kitchenettes, it is so easy to walk down to the Spar at the end of the block ( a 5 minute walk) and pick up something light for lunches and suppers at home. So guests aren’t forced to eat out every night. Having said that – Craighall Park is surrounded by excellent restaurants, eateries and pavement cafés. (This should be number 8 but I’ve realized I am getting to no 10 too soon!) Cnr Café a mere 2 and a half blocks away has been voted Best Neighbourhood Restaurant on many occasions.
- Location! Location! Location! Craighall Park is incredibly centrally located. In the middle of the Parks region of Joburg, it is 3km from the Rosebank Gautrain Station, 7km from Sandton, and 9km from Johannesburg Central.
- 9. A far cry from the sameness and international chic of the big hotel chains (where you could be anywhere in the world), Liz at Lancaster offers individuality and personality and a uniquely South African style. Apart from Liz’s personal brand of décor, guests can enjoy flowers, bird song in the morning and a wonderful suburban garden setting. Hard to believe you are 10 minutes from the Central Business District of Sandton.
- No 10 has to be Liz’s famous booklet! They say when a city gets its own guide book it has finally come of age. So at last Jozi has made it with the latest publication being the fabulous Johannesburg In your Pocket. However for many years it was really difficult to get information on what to do and see in Joburg. With Liz having taught Art History for nearly 20 years at Wits University and then having been involved in heritage research and consultancy, she has an interesting library and knows a fair amount about both the visual culture of Joburg as well as its history, heritage and sites. She has compiled an in-house information booklet which guests say is very useful ….. but which Liz thinks might secretly help with no 2 above!!
We could give lots more reasons for staying at Liz at Lancaster but we think that 10 is enough!
A market a day keeps the doctor away … although it could add to the waist line and might not do your bank balance much good. If you want to avoid chain stores and same-old same-old bland international chic malls, it’s possible to shop until you drop at a different market in Jozi every day of the week. Many are open every day so you can swap the days around:
- but why not start with curios on a Monday at the Rosebank Craft Market. Here you’ll find all your African souvenirs – but remember to bargain just a little. Open daily.
- If you haven’t found what you want at the Rosebank Craft Market try the Sandton Craft Market on Tuesday. Located behind the Sandton library which faces onto Nelson Mandela Square, it also offers local & African souvenirs and crafts. And while in the area you can stop of for a bite to eat and do some people watching on Nelson Mandela Square.
On Wednesday it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and venture into downtown Jozi to visit Faraday Market – a real working African muti [medicine] market (corner Wemmer Jubilee and Eloff Street). Its proximity to the local Faraday taxi rank means there is ease of access for the many locals who come from all over South Africa to seek healing potions, herbs, animal skins and good omen charms from sangomas. But this is a real working market so you will need to respect people’s privacy – certainly no photographs. And if you’re a vegetarian or a conservationist I suggest you give this market a skip. While in town you can visit the Mai-Mai market, said to be the oldest market in Joburg (corner of Anderson and Berea streets). Although also very much a working market, used by city residents as a place to find cures for their physical and emotional ailments, you will also be able to buy Zulu tyre sandals, walking sticks and beaded accessories. As with the Faraday Market, it is recommended that visitors be guided by an established tour operator.
Thursday you can hot foot it out to a rural country-fair atmosphere at the Bryanston Organic Market. It has been going for 38 years now and it really is Johannesburg’s original outdoor market. As its name suggests – everything is organic – delicious food to eat at crude wooden tables and benches , there are also goodies to take home as well as wonderful clothes all made from natural fabric. In warm weather they have moonlight markets on a Tuesday evening closest to the full moon, as well as Tuesday evening markets in the lead up to Christmas. And if you miss out on the market on a Thursday, it is also open Saturdays 9 – 3pm 40. You can find them at Culross Road Bryanston
Open from Thursday to Sunday is the new urban space The Sheds@1 Fox St in the Ferreirastown (south east of Joburg’s CBD). Two entrepreneurs who are passionate about Jozi’s inner city have refurbished the historic warehouses into a thriving marketplace – an artisanal food and produce market, surrounded by eateries and bars. It’s the most wonderful space – open, airy, laid back and welcoming and caters for families. Highly recommended.
- Friday Need more delicious healthy organic goodies? Visit Jacksons Real Food Market at 319 Bryanston Drive which is not quite a market but more of a farm store, sit down café cum bakery . Open every day and weekends till 3 www.jacksonsrealfoodmarket.co.za
- Well of course if it’s Saturday, it must be
- Neighbourgoods Market. Those who founded the Biscuit Mill market in Cape Town partnered with Adam Levy of Play Braamfontein to bring this market to the parking lot of a large grey building at 73 Juta Street. Here hipsters, young and old, find themselves spoilt for choice with a huge selection of mouthwatering and varied (but pricey) food items – fresh oysters, paella, Ethiopian platters, different types of mushrooms, and much more besides. Upstairs, along with a great view, you’ll find designer clothes, accessories and various objet d’art. Whilst in Braamies it’s worth taking the opportunity to see what’s on at the many art galleries in Juta street as well as at Wits Art Museum [WAM] over the road on the corner of Jan Smuts Ave. The Wits Hospice shop is also well worth a visit.
- If you aren’t foot weary, broke and suffering from sensory overload, you can make your way across town to Fordsburg, a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood. Here the local community takes to the streets every Saturday night to explore the street market with shops offering everything from chintzy costume jewellery to coloured hijabs and more muted abayas, DVDS and household goods. But best of all are the aromas of incense, pungent curries and briyanis, and samoosas.
- As if this isn’t enough choice, on the 1st Saturday of every month you can make your way to Kramerville Sandton (9 Kramer Rd). At Collective, small designers who don’t have retail space show their wares (anything from ceramics to clothing) resulting in a stylish pop-up market. As with most markets, food is never in short supply and here it is provided by Mother Truckers, billed as ‘the best Food Trucks in Johannesburg’.
- Sunday might see you market hopping with several great choices on offer:
Market on Main is in the Maboneng district (264 Fox Street) in eastern downtown Jozi. Home to art galleries, bookshops, fashion designers and artists’ studios (including William Kentridge’s), the Sunday market is a chilled place to have a late brunch and while away a Sunday morning. And the first Thursday of the month there is a night market.
- Or you might choose to go to Rosebank Rooftop market which had to move during the refurbishing of the Rosebank Mall. Now that is complete stallholders are gradually moving back. It’s a very varied market with a huge range of food, it’s a great place to buy gifts as there are good quality crafts, bric-a-brac and souvenirs. Enjoy the carnival atmosphere with live music, mime artists, buskers and funfair-style games for the kids.
- At the corner of Kudu St and Moema St in Orlando West, round the corner from the more famous Vilikazi Street is a newish market, Locrate, which operates on the 1st Sunday of the month. While it’s the standard fare which is on offer, what makes this special is the distinctly Sowetan vibe with live music and street poetry.
- If antiques and treasure hunting is your thing then on also on the 1st Sunday of every month you can visit the Antique and Collectibles Fair in Sandton (inside the mall behind the statue of Nelson Mandela) where 60 odd dealers have stands.
- And a great option for a chilled Sunday lunch in a seemingly rural setting is the Fourways Farmers’ Market. Although only a few streets from Montecasino at Earth Outdoor Living Nursery, Cnr William Nicol Drv and Montecasino Blvd, it really does feel as though you are out in the country away from the mayhem of city living. It is child friendly and its relaxed setting and outstanding food make for a wonderful family day out.
So bye-bye to Pick and Pay and Checkers, to Malls and chain stores and hello healthy, natural, quirky, laid back and different. We like this in a shopping and eating experience.