In the new year I am going to ensure that I make a visit to the Brenthurst Gardens. Guests staying here at Liz at Lancaster joined a tour and were completely enthralled. Brenthurst, built in 1906 and the home of the Oppenheimer family since 1922, is the only one the Randlords mansions on the Parktown Ridge that has survived with its setting intact. Set behind just below the M1 Highway, the property (accessed through Federation Rd off Oxford Rd) stretches for 45 acres from Federation Rd to the south-west border of Killarney. Tended by 45 gardeners, the gardens includes a rose garden, indigenous planting and a Japanese garden designed by a Japanese team who come out from Japan at least twice a year. Several amazing scultpures are set in this extraordinary oasis literally metres away from the frenetic M1 Highway. There are tours everyday starting at 10 am by appointment only. All proceeds go to charity. Phone 011 646 4122 www.brenthurstgardens.co.za
Sean Fraser who has written several travel and guide books, has just published one which covers Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria and surrounds. I have not seen it yet so am looking forward to browsing through it. I still think that Nechama Brodie’s book on Johannesburg : The Joburg Book published in 2008, is excellent. For more on Fraser’s Gauteng A-Z , see : http://struiktravel.bookslive.co.za/blog/2011/11/10/sean-frasers-new-indispensable-travel-guide-gauteng-a-z/
Southern Sun recently bought The Grace hotel in Rosebank for R85m. They are planning to do major refurbishments to the 73 room hotel and turning it into a boutique hotel targeting corporates, but with an intimate feel. Southern Sun managing director Graham Wood said it will be Southern Sun’s first “boutique deluxe” in Johannesburg. This will be the first Southern Sun hotel in the Rosebank node, an area Wood says has major growth potential.