Durban, South Africa: Your hideaway from World Cup fever
Flipping through any of Neil Roake's hard-to-find, gorgeously inspired, award-winning cookbooks—like "Life's a Beach Cottage," a scrapbook smorgasbord from lazy days in his own seaside cabin—will make you wish you could step into his world for a while.
And you sort of can.
In Durban, the former food editor for South Africa's lovely House & Leisure magazine has opened the Concierge Boutique Bungalows, a hideaway nestled in a leafy courtyard underneath St. Mary's bell tower, just a skip from the town's nightlife.
Behind the facade of eight heritage-listed 1920s buildings, Roake—collaborating with architect Don Albert (whose Millennium Tower graces the harbor nearby) and local design team Egg—carved out just 12 suites, most of which are indoor-outdoor spaces with their own large verandah.
Unlike with some boutique hotels, you could actually imagine someone living here: It's chic without being slick and modern without being sterile. Playfulness rules (bug graphics, wire rocking chairs) right down to the hotel's ubiquitous dachshund motif.
And Roake, ever the editor, has also curated the best of Durban for his guests in a handy, downloadable guide he calls Live Like a Local, where he shares his favorite restaurants, photo-ops and the like. Or you can ask him directly (just not today: He's off watching Spain play Switzerland in the World Cup).
Rooms start around $190/night for two, breakfast included.