For those in need of a spiritual detox, this tranquil enclave will soothe even the most worldly of souls. Satyagraha House is certainly one of the most unique and fascinating places to stay in Johannesburg: now a guesthouse and living museum, it’s a homage to Mohandas Ghandi, who lived in the house from 1908 and 1909 with his German architect friend Hermann Kallenbach. The original building, designed by Kallenbach in the style of a traditional African round-roomed barn, has been preserved as a historical attraction and comprises the guesthouse along with a cottage and modern wing.
The walls are adorned with historical documents, photographs, wooden plaques and cotton draperies displaying Ghandi’s quotes, but it doesn’t feel like a museum as much as a living space, and it’s the overnight guests who really get to immerse themselves in the experience. An aesthetic of saintly serenity permeates the house: the minimalist interior of cool white cotton, expensive but understated wooden and stone antique furniture from India and varnished concrete floor all intentionally designed to evoke Ghandi’s simplistic principles.
At the house, guests are encouraged to meditate in the bare attic room where the mahatma meditated, or in the garden amongst the organic vegetable patches. Water comes from a spring on the property, food is vegetarian only (breakfast and snacks are available and an evening meal if requested ahead of time), and there’s no alcohol permitted, as Ghandi would’ve wanted it. You can cleanse the body and spirit with yoga and meditation classes or revivify the mind by spending time in the spiritual library and reading room.
This is no hedonist’s playpen, but for those whose idea of luxury is the space for complete peace and contemplation, Satyagraha House is truly a special place to stay.