Greenwood Guides Handpicked Accommodation in South Africa – their criteria

Greenwood Guides, a well-established brand, has become known and trusted for its recommendations of hand-picked establishments. There are those travellers who have gone from one end of the world to the other staying only at establishments recommended by Greenwood Guides.  Here is what they have to say about how they make their selection to be included in their annual guides.     Our accommodation guides (South Africa & Namibia 9th edition, New Zealand 6th edition, Australia 2nd edition and Canada 1st edition) concentrate on those nebulous, unquantifiable qualities that define a great place to stay. I’m talking people, charm, character… can we call it ‘soul’?  These places can be found at all strata of the price hierarchy and in all types of accommodation. But they do require finding… which is where we come in. Each year we drive the length and breadth of South Africa, visiting some 600 places; every potential entry must be visited each year whether they have been with us for the full ten years or are brand-new to us. Only those that stand out from the crowd (in a good way) are given a place in the guide.     The following list of our prejudices, found on the back of all our books, gives some idea of what we are looking for:
Things we like: natural, unstuffy, humorous hosts, gardens, good food, untouristy places, dirt roads, the lived-in look, the artistic, the unusual, big baths, open fires, real coffee, freshly-squeezed orange juice. We like places where the hosts are doing their own thing and treat their guests like friends.
Things we don’t like: swirly, frilly, lacy décor, conference centres, identikit bedrooms, chain hotels; hosts who disappear irretrievably after your arrival… or never leave you alone; the smelly, the over-priced, the sickeningly cutesy; fake smiles, hatchet faces and steely eyes!
Acceptance one year does not automatically qualify a place for re-admittance the next. This is vital if the guide is to get stronger with time. Standards go up, new places open up all the time and we must always be sure to pick the best for our travellers each year, even if turning places down can feel very harsh on occasion. In fact we always hate doing it. But, of course, this rigorous approach to our selections is why travellers can trust the guide.
I’m happy to say that Liz at Lancaster has been accepted by Greenwood Guides for the last 6 years.

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