The Concierge Boutique Bungalows and Freedom Cafe

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37-43 St Mary's Avenue; Greyville
South Africa
+27 (0)31 309-4453 / 4434
+27 (0)31 309-7623
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The Concierge Boutique Bungalows and Freedom Cafe

When Durban ad agency head and go-to guy Neil Roake invested in a row of 1920s bungalows behind hot Greyville watering hole Bean Bag Bohemia last year, heritage watchdogs sat up. But they’re lying down again, as meek as the moulded-plastic dachshunds that greet visitors at the entrance to what is now The Concierge Boutique Bungalows and Feedom Café.

The dachsies typify Neil’s approach to his ‘pet project’ - at once warm and homely and wickedly cool, they gaze out from a freshly painted wail of the facade, from fun benches set in a courtyard of river sand, and from condiment sets in the reception kiosk/ cafe that squats in the middle of the space.

The latter is a red-steel shipping container sliced open by Fabrik architects and bisected with a clear glass cube to form a cross. A striking copper-panelled island in the centre doubles as a check-in desk for Concierge and buffet table for the Freedom Cafe, the sides of which have been clad in recycled timber for a sense of warmth and mirrors for the illusion of space, and lined by black mock-croc vinyl benches and wooden tables.

The creative design ideas here and in the 12 contemporary suites behind the Staid facade of the bungalows are all Neil’s, refined and realised by friends Greg and Roche Dry of award-winning Egg Designs. Slate-tiled floors and unplastered or wood-panelled wails contrast with lavishly dressed beds, striking wire and copper light fittings and lamps, and covetabte custom furniture.

Quirky touches are everywhere, from a fig-leaf decal on a glass shower wall to nicely naughty ‘Do not disturb’ signs. Even the toiletries are special (Acca Kappa from Italy), and the African wax-print bathrobes are by celebrated Durban fashion designer Colleen Eitzen. Six suites have shuttered verandas, set with Egg’s signature wife rocking chairs. All suites have iPod docking stations, Wi-Fi and take-home jars of candies.

Neil and chef Werner Adendorff focus on serving up wholesome dishes in the Freedom Cafe, simply but strikingly presented, using fresh local produce –‘the kind of food I like to make when I have friends over at home,’ / says Neil.

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