Roaming Office – The White House Guesthouse

04 Jun 2024
When we visited The Great Gatsby (March 2024) we were immediately transported back to the 1920s by the charming heritage house nestled on the ridge of Houghton. We left, promising co-owner Gina Gabriel that we would visit her second property, a sister guesthouse in Observatory, The White House Guesthouse

Gabriel has a knack for creating seductive, elegant, and tasteful spaces with heritage charm. This 1950s, six-bedroom, six-bathroom, double-story home with an abundant garden and swimming pool has been converted into a guesthouse. And in true Gabriel style, it's been furnished with items that recall the glamourous Art Deco period. So much so that when we remarked that it felt like stepping into Hollywood of an earlier age, we were told The White House is popular for movie shoots too. You might even realise you have seen it on TV. 

Our Roaming Office is a day when the Johannesburg In Your Pocket team leaves our regular Rosebank office to work from a different space that allows us to experience new venues, neighbourhoods, and city views.  We get the opportunity to connect with hospitality partners and often explore hotel properties. Discover more about our Roaming Office adventures here.

Where we worked

The dining room of The White House Guesthouse is all set for an intimate dinner. Photo: Supplied.

We worked at a table in the roomy, open-plan living room, surrounded by mid-century and Art Deco furniture, vibrant retro prints, rich textures, and iconic film posters. While the house is not set up specifically to be a workspace it's a great option for a more casual-focused work getaway, with accommodation for up to 14 people, always-on Wi-Fi, and back-up power.  

Culinary offerings

Lunch on the patio of The White House Guesthouse. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.

We ate lunch on the patio, overlooking the large garden. The patio extends into a comfortable lounge area. It's a tranquil setting, decorated in white and neutral colours, with comfy furniture adorned with cushions. The place suggests a holiday.

As usual, Gabriel was the consummate hostess and the food we were presented with was befitting of the house. A generous feast that started with a freshly baked Czech breakfast cake (it was Gabriel's birthday on the day and this was a nod to her origins), followed by a farmhouse-style breakfast of eggs, lamb sausage, and mushrooms. For lunch, we were served a three-course meal of spicy red Thai pumpkin soup, followed by chicken Provençal with rice, and finished off with ice-cream and fruit, accompanied by a toast of bubbles for the birthday girl. All the food was prepared by Gabriel, Andrew Grealy (co-owner of The White House), and house staff.

Guests can arrange meals at an additional cost, and for an added touch of luxury, breakfast in bed can be requested.

Where to rest your head

The warm and inviting Chocolate Room of The White House Guesthouse. Photo: Supplied.

Each of the six rooms on the second floor of The White House has a unique charm. Not all rooms have a bathroom en-suite. The White Mischief Room, with its shades of delicate whites and neutrals, features its own "salon privé" and accommodates guests with one double- and one queen-sized bed. The Man Cave, as the name suggests, offers a cool retreat, while The Twin Room, which is perfect for buddy holidays or an extra room for the kids, is adorned in light blues and equipped with two twin beds. The Presidential Suite is a palatial space with a king-sized bed and an en-suite bathroom featuring a shower, bidet, and a romantic ball and claw bath. For a cosy and warm atmosphere, The Chocolate Room lives up to its name with walls painted a rich, warm brown and a queen-sized bed, complete with an en-suite bathroom with a shower. The Country Room offers a simple yet comfortable setting with a double bed.

Rooms at The White House are popular for long-term stays and often serve as overflow space from The Great Gatsby, but still provide a distinct and memorable experience for all who visit, in part, thanks to its great balcony views. This is also a good family venue. 

Other services

The large, manicured gardens of The White House Guesthouse. Photo: Supplied.

While the White House is a good destination for short- and long-term stays, it's also a great event venue. Gabriel offers event planning services as well as catering options and the space can accommodate up to 100 people – everything from intimate dinners and lively parties to grand weddings and bar or bat mitzvahs would work here. We were told their event planning expertise shines with their speciality in 1950s-themed parties...


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