Nestled in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal, this five-star boutique style hotel ticks all the right boxes. You’ll see a different side…
Located in trendy Melrose, The Peech Boutique Hotel recently added 16 new luxury rooms to its existing base, doubling its capacity to 32 eco-chic rooms, including a two-bedroom luxury villa. Owner James Peech had long held the vision of expanding the hotel, a dream which became viable when an adjacent property was purchased three years ago.
A lot of emphasis was placed on elements such as natural light and fresh air, with consideration to how guests like to recover and recharge after travelling says Peech. At the same time his goal was to push the envelope with the intention of advancing the concept of what a boutique hotel in Johannesburg could and should offer.
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When it was opened in 2004, the hotel boasted just six rooms in a 1950’s heritage residence. A magnificent oak tree dominated the beautiful garden and continues to do so. Owner James Peach says, “The owners sold the house to us on the condition that we didn’t demolish it and kept the oak tree in the garden.” In 2008, four annexes housing ten garden rooms and suites were added.
Peech is hands-on and the property is owner-run and operated. The result is that excellent, discreet service and elegant eco-chic style abound and are fostered in the laid-back, restrained sense of luxury that the hotel champions.
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The hotel has been Fair Trade Tourism Certified since 2010, a result of the progressive hotel-keeping mindset, both towards its residential-inspired guest experience as well as its forward-looking approach to the environment and commitment to ethical and responsible tourism.
Peech says that when it came to selection of the architects, landscapers and interior designers to work on the expansion, his goal was to create a dream team who could realise his vision of a ‘grown-up’ Peech Hotel while retaining its unique atmosphere as a residence.
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Architect Catherine de Souza of Meshworks, interior designers Aparna Ramani and Taryn Kallie of Design Republic and landscapers Deirdre Canston of Inspirations Garden Design worked closely with Peech to develop the next evolutionary phase of The Peech’s uniquely Johannesburg-inflected hospitality offering.
De Souza says the new rooms were designed as pavilions ‘floating in the garden’, sensitively integrated with extensive landscaping to make them feel as if they had always been there. Each of the pavilions, with upstairs and downstairs rooms, was designed as a flexible space with stackable glass doors opening onto private patios or terraces, allowing each room to connect with its surroundings while offering guests the opportunity to customise the degree of privacy or openness they prefer. The new rooms offer all the comforts and functional considerations that travellers to the city might desire.
Ramani says they designed the interiors with simplicity and restraint. Timber and customised steel fittings drew details from the architecture inside, while the urban-inspired aesthetics were softened by thoughtful layering of soft elements. Rooms feature carefully curated selections of furnishings and designs by local designers. “The beautiful screens between the beds and desks were handwoven by the talented women at Bethany House, a shelter for abused women here in Joburg,” says Peech. He adds, “Through a special programme, they are being taught crafting to develop skills that empower them to do what they love and proudly support themselves.”
Peech loves Johannesburg and his desire to embrace the city in the hotel’s design is also reflected in the artworks in each room; typically combining archival images, drawing on maps and early drawings and prints with playful historical references to local flora and fauna.
The ultimate satisfaction of working closely with his ‘dream team’ says Peech, has been that his vision for the new chapter of The Peech Boutique Hotel was uncompromised. The hotel plans to add a second restaurant and wine bar in 2019.