Ever since it opened I’ve been meaning to stay over at The Peech hotel in Melrose, Johannesburg, so when I heard about its new “low carbon footprint” rooms, I thought it was a good time to give it a try.

So it was with heightened eco-interest that I checked in for a night’s stay. Amid the road chaos that surrounded The Wanderers Cricket ground that day – there was a big match on and the road was peppered with parking attendants doing their thing – arriving at The Peech proved a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle outside.

I felt like I was coming home, really, and if I had to stay in Joburg any longer, would have been quite happy to spend my ‘down time’ here.

Tranquil and leafy

After a painless check in, I wandered through the tranquil courtyard to my eco-friendly room, part of the hotelâ??s new eco-wise accommodation wing, which has four luxury double en-suite rooms and two spacious 60m2 suites. Each suite has a private garden.

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My room was upstairs, which gave me a fabulous leafy view of the garden and courtyard, including the swimming pool.

The eco-element does not detract from four-star luxury, and every detail, from the rustic flooring to the choice of colour in the decor, the artwork displayed on the walls and the use of wooden blinds and furnishings make for a natural, yet more than comfortable experience. An iPod docking station and WiFi access clinched the deal – being at one with nature doesn’t mean falling off the planet!

Bathroom bliss

I just loved the bathroom. Done out in aqua-blue tiles against a chocolate brown floor, a huge mirror behind the bath creates double the space. I could have spent even more time there, and had to try the Molton Brown hair shampoo and body products as a matter of course.

â??A stay in one of our new rooms offers as low an impact on the environment as is currently feasible in South Africa,” says James Peech, owner and custodian of the eco-initiative. “Water heating is generated via solar energy, while rain water and â??greyâ?? water from the baths and showers is processed and recycled for use on the garden. This will help to lessen the hotelâ??s environmental footprint by saving on the city treating sewage water and processing new water simply for use in garden irrigation.â?? 

Other Eco Initiatives at The Peech

More eco-initiatives at The Peech include the installation of motion sensors to switch lights on and off, and the use of energy efficient lighting; each bathroom is finished with water-efficient dual-flush toilets; worm farming, where organic waste is recycled into a worm farm for later use as garden compost; eco-cleaning through the use of ecological detergents and cleaning agents and only irrigating the gardens with bore-hole water.

The Peech also has a herb garden â?? wherever possible, vegetables and herbs used at The Peech are grown in the hotelâ??s kitchen garden. The Peech recycles cans, paper, cardboard, glass and some rainwater, and has installed energy-efficient insulation in most of the hotel to minimise excessive heat in summer and reduce heat-loss in winter.

Bistro @ The Peech

The Peech also has a great restaurant, known at bistro@ The Peech. I only had breakfast there, but it was delicious, healthy, and seemed to be in keeping with a holistic approach to providing ‘feel at home’ hospitality.  A super smoothie or a glass of muesli with a dollop of yoghurt gets you started, and ask for an egg-white omelette and you shall receive. Of course if you’re up for crumpets or a full English, you can have that too. I’m sure the dinners are superb.

The Peech facts

Situated at 61 North Street in Johannesburgâ??s trendy Melrose district, the Peech Hotel is a luxury boutique property that now offers 16 large, airy rooms overlooking an enchanting garden. Each room is equipped with satellite television, direct dial phone and spacious bathrooms with separate showers and â??raindanceâ?? showerheads.
           
Guests on business are provided with an array of services and facilities, including wireless internet access, informal meeting areas, a newly renovated conference venue accommodating up to 18 delegates and a central location to the business districts of Rosebank, Illovo and Melrose Arch. This also makes The Peech the ideal venue for launches, corporate functions and weddings.

Rates are priced at R1550.00 per Luxury Room per night and R1850.00 per Suite per night. All rates are inclusive of a gourmet breakfast and WiFi access. Other facilities include in-room Satellite television, iPod docking stations, laptop computer-fitting safes, access to The Wanderers 24-hour Planet Fitness Gym (at an additional cost of R70), a swimming pool and landscaped garden, the Bistro @ The Peech, as well as a Champagne Cellar.        

For reservations and more information contact The Peech hotel on (27) (11) 537 9797, email reservations@thepeech.co.za or visit www.thepeech.co.za.