As pure an escape as you can find in this sprawling city, once through the gates of the property you'll feel as if you have driven into another world. The view is entirely uninterrupted for miles and miles and you'll hear nothing but the tweeting of birds. The distant Magaliesberg mountains form a backdrop, surrounded by a great spread of trees with the rooftops of houses poking up out from the foliage. It really gives perspective to that most popular of Joburg claims to fame that this is the 'world's biggest manmade forest'.
Chairs and couches sit waiting on the wide lawns in front of the hotel looking right over this spectacle, leaving you with nothing left to do but kick back and spend the day luxuriating in those incredible views.
The small boutique hotel itself looks out directly onto this view and is an exclusive and peaceful retreat with seven rooms and a restaurant, decorated in a muted palette that does nothing to distract from the main attraction. A spa is also in the works, due to open later in 2021. It is worth noting that this is a 'grown-ups' hotel. Keeping the peace and relaxation to a maximum no children under 12 are allowed.
The hotel has a choice of three standard and four superior rooms. The superior rooms all come with views and are definitely worth paying extra for. Some superior rooms even have huge windows in the bathroom so you can sit in the bath and soak it all up (no need to feel worried about prying eyes, the height and angle of the property means nobody can see in). Although it doesn't have the bathroom views, we also recommend trying to secure the Villa 7 superior room as it has a huge balcony terrace, a nice spot for a secluded morning coffee.
Dining at The NorthcliffThe hotel's restaurant Kranz opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Retaining The Northcliff's exclusivity, non-hotel guests can only visit the property with a dining reservation, strictly no walk-ins or drinks-only bookings are allowed. If you were thinking about dropping by for a sunset drink, you need to combine it with dinner - and we highly recommend that you do.
The cuisine is elegantly presented and flavourful continental fare; think braised pork belly with cauliflower puree, seared salmon on a bed of risotto or crispy duck breast in a bluberry jus. Make sure to leave space for one of their decadent desserts too. There's also a good wine list and the restaurant hosts regular wine tastings dinners on the last Friday of every month led by a different local winemaker.
The hotel's Self-care Sundays are another regular event worth looking out for where you can treat yourself to a morning of yoga on the lawns followed by a sumptuous breakfast and express massages. Visit their Facebook page or website for details on the latest events and email firstname.lastname@example.org to book or call +27 74 545 2473.
For non-hotel guests the restaurant opens Monday to Wednesday for dinner and Thursday to Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Meetings and events at The Northcliff
We spent the day working from The Northcliff's Cliff venue. The smallest of three function spaces in the hotel, it comes with its own lounge area and a private terrace and all the usual essential mod cons for hosting a meeting or social event such as a birthday or anniversary lunch.
For a larger group there's also the Kranz dining room that seats up to 20 people and has sliding doors that open out onto a private terrace area, or there's the option to rent the large Crest dining room (usually used as the hotels' main dining room) which can be used for celebratory events or transformed for conferencing (25 people u-shape or 50 people cinema style).
If you are booking to spend the day hosting a meeting here, make sure to factor in enough time for your team to enjoy the outstanding sunset views at the end of the day - you will never be able to take enough photos!
* Johannesburg In Your Pocket was invited by the hotel to spend the day at The Northcliff. The opinions expressed in this review are our own.