The Great Gatsby guesthouse

  4 Munro Drive, Houghton      +27 83 225 8461     30 May 2024
As far as charming guesthouses go, The Great Gatsby in Houghton scores top marks. Located on scenic Munro Drive (passing through Linksfield Ridge and connecting the established suburbs of Upper and Lower Houghton), it’s close to Joburg’s central contemporary attractions, but secluded enough to make it feel like you’re stepping into a different era.

You'll arrive by driving, or better yet being driven through the wrought iron gates, where you'll circle the central Gatsby fountain, and find a parking spot along the circular stone driveway.

The house was built in 1926, and the secret to the wow-factor guests experience – from spending a night or visiting for one of the parties owner and hostess Gina Gabriel throws – is how the house's original character has been maintained. The guesthouse has a touch of added Victorian elegance and all the trimmings of the 21st century. 
The Downton Abbey drawing room. Photo: Sanet Oberholzer.

Step inside and you’re met with double-volume ceilings, enormous classic Cape Dutch pane windows with glorious views of the garden, Oregon pine floors, plush couches and inviting chaise lounges, and the most impressive Bohemian crystal chandeliers.

If you spend time looking around the great collection of furniture, silverware, ornaments, and artwork, you’ll soon discover the Czech Republic influence carefully introduced throughout the house. Paying homage to her ancestry, Gabriel has thoughtfully introduced Art Deco prints from Czech artist Alphonse Mucha and proudly displays a most impressive collection of beer tankards in the dining room that belonged to her great-grandfather. As Gabriel will tell you, if you take the time to ask, he won them at an agricultural fair in 1899 when Czechoslovakia was still part of the Austria-Hungary empire as a prize for the bull he exhibited that year. On the top floor, there’s even a family corner with heart-warming family portraits in which a little Gabriel can be spotted posing next to a cousin.
Fine touches like a fireplace in winter add to the guesthouse's charm. Photo: Supplied.

Much of the furniture belonged to Gabriel’s mother and she’s made a fine hobby out of finding unique and spell-binding pieces over the years that she proudly displays with great thought and intention.

The combination of these fine details coalesce into a guesthouse with a Downton Abbey drawing room, a whisky and cigar lounge, and an entrance hall with an antique Grand Daddy clock that gives way to a Gone With the Wind staircase leading to the top floor with five bedrooms. None of this comes across with any pretension. In fact, The Great Gatsby oozes laid-back glamour. 

The bedroom names continue the whimsical tone. The smaller of the five is called “Juliet's Secret”, owing to its dainty Romeo and Juliet-style balcony attached to the side. All the rooms have a character of their own – there’s the Princess Chamber and the Man Cave and two en-suite rooms, the beautiful Boudoir suite fit for a bride and the sunken The Library Room that will lure you to while your days away reading under the covers.
The Library is a room with much character. Photo: Supplied.

Impressed much? There’s more. For a private stay, the Coach House stands opposite the main house. The private two-bedroom apartment has a lounge, dining room, and kitchen with the option of booking one of two bedrooms or the entire house (ask about the sky-lit ensuite bathroom in the main bedroom – it’s something to behold).

Climb a few steps up the slope of the property and you’ll find the Bachelor Pad. Carved into the mountain face with the most spectacular views of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, this is a quiet reprieve for couples or travelling execs. It’s small but has a kitchen, study, and lounge area. Just what you need.
Settle in for an elegant dinner. Photo: Supplied.

Construction is currently underway on two more apartments perched above the Bachelor Pad. Here the views really come into play and we foresee this being one of Joburg’s best-kept secrets for a perfect romantic hideout.

More than spending a night or two in this beautiful setting, the guesthouse’s unique spaces make The Great Gatsby a prime venue for catered events. They’ve hosted high teas, engagements, weddings, birthday celebrations – even black-tie events.

Gabriel is a triumph in the kitchen, and we highly recommend you arrange for breakfast and dinner to be included if you’re not heading out. Dinner needs to be arranged 24 hours in advance. Pick between three or five courses and sit down at the mahogany dinner table for a treat. The Venetian chandelier, lace-rimmed linen serviettes, silver salt and pepper pots, and delicate porcelain make for an entirely finessed experience you won't soon forget. 


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Price/Additional Info

R700 - R1,800


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