The Northcliff Ridge is an imposing rock edifice with a traceable history that stretches back to Stone Age settlements and the earliest known civilization that once existed in what is now known as a city. Writing about Northcliff, the late archaeologist and professor of African pre-history Revil Mason noted: "Northcliff hill is the only high open point in Johannesburg which provides both a beautiful view of the CBD and the country".
Check in to The Cliffside on an afternoon and you’ll be ushered to the viewing deck – reached by climbing the stone paths – set against the Ridge where sundowners come with an incredible view of the city’s lights and highways, and behind them at the furthest distance a backdrop formed by the impressive Magaliesberg mountains.
From the viewing deck you look above the trees, encased by the rugged natural beauty of the ridge’s rock face at your back and bird-filled bushveld trees ahead of you. It’s a magical transport from the busy city. You can stare at that view for hours but we strongly recommend you make your way back down the path and into the warm hospitality of The Cliffside.
A small and dedicated team has but one purpose at this property – to make your stay as pleasant as possible. It’s all in the personalised details, from the welcome drink on check-in to the surprise snack feast we found awaiting at the viewing deck, and the delightful rose-petalled turnover service to warm even the coldest winter night.
A suburban home converted into a five-bedroom boutique getaway, complete with a gorgeous pool for summer months and a sauna (a spa therapist is available by prior request), The Cliffside is a welcoming contemporary space. The boutique getaway is tastefully filled with the owner’s art collection – he mentioned having collected many of the works from annual visits to the Turbine Art Fair – and furniture by local design mavens Houtlander.
Being tucked into the suburb of Northcliff means The Cliffside is a tranquil retreat. The kind of place you could book out as a group of friends or a family (kids older than 12 are welcome). Then again there is also a conference room for up to 10 people that is only for use by guests, so it could also be a space for some business thinking.
The garden boasts close to one kilometre of stone paths and walking trails with plenty of quiet, meditative space. We stayed in the Cliffside room, with a private terrace and garden, from which you can access the stone pathways via a lockable gate. One of the suites also has self-catering facilities. The Sunrise and Sunset rooms are more contained and benefit from lovely afternoon sunshine and views of the property.
The food here is excellent, with great consideration to a diversity of dishes and beautiful presentation. There is no formal restaurant but on request (and with some notice) a fine-dining menu for lunch or dinner is also available.
With a unique offering for the more adventurous-minded, we suggest you stay for more than one night – as then there would be time to pre-book a rock climbing or abseiling lesson, or for a walk up to the Northcliff Ridge.