A grand old former family home that dates back to the 1930s, the guesthouse retains many of its original period features like pressed steel ceilings, Oregon pine floors and fabulous Art Deco stone fireplaces. The guesthouse's German-born and educated owner has also adorned the space with beautiful items of period furniture imported from Europe, giving each room a unique and personal touch - we particularly love the impressive antique dresser that holds pride of place in the breakfast room. Meanwhile on the walls you'll find plenty of original artworks by local artists (which are for sale), making At The Zoo a veritable informal art gallery.
Your host Gisela acts as the 'keeper' for some of the plushest 'cages' in town. There's a choice of three stylishly furnished double rooms and one family room. Each is en-suite and an ode to luxury with down duvets, Egyptian-cotton sheets and covers and heated towel rails. There isn't an essential detail that hasn't been thought of from free Wifi to ample plug points, dressing gowns, safes, laundry bags, DSTV and a hairdryer. The family room also comes with a full kitchen, ideal for longer stays and a fold out couch, plus a private patio with a barbecue for indulging in South Africa’s favourite pastime, the braai. The Studio double room also comes with its own small kitchenette and a patio with space to braai.
One of the greatest pleasures of staying in an owner-run guesthouse is getting a locals view on the area and host Gisela is more than happy to share advice on places to eat and sights to visit and will show you all the best walking routes in and around the area, including the famous Westcliff Steps from where you can enjoy one of the best views in the city, all neatly marked out on the map you'll find in your room.
Included in your stay is a full English breakfast (be sure to try the excellent omelettes) complemented by a continental buffet with fruit salad, yoghurts, a cold meats and cheese platter and freshly baked muffins, served in a sunny breakfast room which opens out onto the guesthouse pool deck.
At the Zoo is a member of the Johannesburg Guesthouses network, which offers an excellent range of more than 20 owner-run guesthouses all based in and around the beautiful northern suburbs of Rosebank and The Parks. See the booking website johannesburg-guesthouses.co.za for the full range of options.