101 Guest Houses

by | Feb 15, 2011 | Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds | 4 comments

First, I realize it’s pretty lame that this blog post is NOT about the U2 concert that happened here two days ago. Aside from last year’s World Cup, it seems that the U2 concert was this city’s event of the decade. Alas, Joe and I were not among the 98,000 people at the concert. We were at home, enjoying huge bowls of leftover chili. (It was even yummier the second time around!)

So instead of U2, I’m writing about guesthouses.

There are no Holiday Inns, Radissons, or Ritz Carltons in Melville — it’s not that kind of place. Melville has only guesthouses (also referred to as inns, bed-and-breakfasts, or lodges).

There are reportedly 110 guesthouses in Melville and the immediate surrounding area. (I know this doesn’t match my post title but I think 101 sounds better than 110.) This initially seems impossible to believe, as Melville isn’t a big place. But stroll around the neighborhood for a few minutes and you’ll start to understand. Here are just a couple of the guest houses I saw during a ten-minute walk today:

I’ve been fascinated by guesthouses since the day I arrived in Melville — they’re all different and some of them have very interesting themes or quirks. Just to give you a few examples: There is a guesthouse modeled after a Chinese motel. Several of the guesthouses consist of only one room. There is also a guesthouse designed to feel like a prison. (I kid you not.)

I’m always peering though fences and over walls to try to see what the guesthouses look like. I’ve been inside a couple of them, either because I know the owners or because my friends are staying there. But I generally feel frustrated by the fact that I live here and hence have no excuse to try out (and write about) all the Melville guesthouses.

I’ve devised a plan to remedy this problem. I’m helping put together the website for the Melville Visitors Centre, which is a resource for Melville visitors and locals on all things Melvillian. I will be visiting as many of those 110 guesthouses (as well as Melville’s restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and the like) as I can, in a mission to collect information for the website. When I come across a particularly interesting destination, I’ll write a blog post about it.

The dining area at Melville Manor, one of the first guesthouses I visited as part of my mission. I hope to have a blog post for you very soon about the special food served for breakfast here.

Check back soon for a post on the Melville Visitors Centre, which I consider to be blog-worthy in its own right.


  1. amblerangel

    I’m not sure I want to be in a crowd of 98k- if you have to watch through binoculars why go. Rather find out where to stay…

    • 2summers

      You have a point. Although everyone I’ve talked to who went says it was the most amazing thing ever. Oh well.

  2. Francis

    Interesting variety of styles, the food served in such places is quite unique am sure.

  3. lisa@notesfromafrica

    Sounds like a fun project! And you get to satisfy your curiosity legitimately. 🙂


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