Luxury today is less about red carpets and bling, and more about personalisation and attention to detail. If there’s anyone who understands this nuance, it’s Rahim Rawjee, the man behind Row-G bespoke menswear, andnow, owner of the newly opened boutique hotel in Milpark, QSL on 4.
It may not seem an obvious progression, a fashion designer adding hotelier to his portfolio, but for Rawjee the decision was a practical one. “We had the space in the Row-G building, and I saw a need for a cool hotel in the area.” That the hotel was fully booked for the first time just three weeks after opening, shows the tailor’s business savvy extends beyond linen and lapels.
“It’s not the Ritz, but we offer no-fuss, easy-living accommodation,’ says Rawjee of the ethos behind the hotel. There’s clear attention to detail when it comes to the rooms’ amenities, with features such as high-threadcount sheets, free fibre WiFi, customisable minibars, iPad docking stations, and the option to rent scooters and fully loaded Kindles, making it a comfortable piedá-terre for travellers.
Each of the 10 rooms is different, in deference to Rawjee’s anti-cookie-cutter philosophy. “The rooms are named according to what they used to be, or what they lend themselves to,” he says, listing The Studio, which used to be Rawjee’s personal studio; Room 44, which overlooks an oversized 44 Stanley sign; and the Elevator Room, whose centrepiece happens to be an elevator
shaft. With 44 Stanley around the corner, Rawjee decided not to bother with an inhouse restaurant.
The hotel offers a continental breakfast, but also has an arrangement with 44 Stanley’s Salvation Café, so guests can mosey over for one of the best breakfasts in Joburg, included in their rate. “All these restaurants and stores
are literally on our doorstep,” Rawjee says. “We focus on what we’re good at, and 44 Stanley does the same; there’s great cross-pollination between us.”
The aesthetic of the hotel was crucial for Rawjee, who brought Letizia Verona
on board to help with the interiors, and architect Pieter Greyvensteyn to ensure perfect space planning, while remaining true to the skeleton of the original building. The result is an eclectic, modern look and feel; an urban
chic boutique hotel with a raw realness.
“We retained the rough finishes of the building, and none of the art or furniture is new,” Rawjee says, explaining that he’s refurnished his apartment so many
times he had enough pieces to put together a small hotel. “I love the fact that’s it’s all come together in this classic urban style,” he adds. “It’s just how I envisioned it. It’s a cool hotel, a ‘walk in and hang your hat’ kind of place.”