Surrounded by farmland, this upscale, lakeside hotel features 5-star accommodations and valley views of the Drakensberg.
The next stop on our two month, South African vacation was at Hartford House, a boutique hotel in the KZN Midlands.
Hartford House is located in Mooi River, and situated on the historic Summerhill farmstead. Despite the rural surroundings, Hartford House provides 5-star hotel accommodations and features valley views of the Drakensberg.
The hotel was originally a home, a grand one that has since grown into the boutique hotel, and has continually gained inspiration from the culture it celebrates.
Hartford’s beauty was discovered by the Moor family almost 150 years ago when they came by its vacant landscape in the early 1870s. Some 70 years later, Raymond Ellis founded an all-conquering Thoroughbred enterprise on these historic acres.
If you get the chance, take the tour of the stud farm, as it is educational, even for those with a faint love of horses.
The hotel’s executive suites are fully equipped and furnished to create an opulent and tranquil atmosphere. Each suite at Hartford House is individually designed and decorated and comes with a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, and tea-and-coffee making facilities.
We booked a Lakeside suite, which is actually a very large cottage, complete with separate living room, plunge pool, and views of a nearby lake on the estate.
Check-in was smooth, with a warm greeting and the offer of champagne or a soft drink, and the receptionist, Piper, was extremely helpful in all of the requests that we made during our stay.
Meals at Hartford House allocated for either in the main dining room of the hotel, or in the Tuinhuis restaurant. The latter is surrounded by water, and the kitchen herb and vegetable pantry in an incredible stone and glass thatch building.
We had read numerous reviews of the spectacular tasting menu and therefore decided to try it. Sadly, we have to report that it was a mediocre experience, and it seems a few other guests shared our sentiment.
In fairness, it might appear that we got an off night, but I would suggest that TLW readers be mindful that this could occur again.
All in all, this country retreat is well worth stopping at if you are en route to either the Drakensberg or Johannesburg from Durban, as it is easily accessible from the major N3 Highway.
For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.