Entries in Midlands Meander Hotels (4)
Hartford House Alyssum Suite 9
(Photos : Sally Chance)
Alyssum Suite 9
Originally known as the Garden suite, Alyssum and its neighbour were the first attempt by our previously unskilled Zulus at building with bricks and mortar. A fine effort, we're sure you'll concede.
Now named Alyssum, for the flower of course, the name also remembers one of the greatest of all Hartford racehorses. Alyssum (the horse,) excelled against the best of his generation at distances ranging from five furlongs (the human equivalent of a 100 metres sprint at the Olympics) to ten furlongs (the equivalent of the mile to humans), which exemplified not only his versatility, but also his abiding class.
Alyssum was one of the mainstays of the famous Ellis string of the 1950's, when the Hartford colours swept all before them on the racetracks of South Africa. Indeed, in owner-breeder terms, the Ellises have no parallels in South African racing history, and it was the great thoroughbred author, Sir Mordaunt Milner, who described their achievements in the same breath as those of Lord Derby, the Aga Khan and the Sheikhs Maktoum in the United Kingdom, the great European breeders, Boussac and Tesio, and the famous American stables of Phipps and the Hancocks.
There was a time when their supremacy was such that if there was a horse in the green and black silks on its way to the post, it was as good as money in the bank!
The furnishings in these suites are drawn from such diverse places as India and Morocco, while the teak flooring was part of the original dining room in the fabled Edward Hotel on Durban's Golden Mile.
For more information please visit :
By Candice Botha
House and Leisure - June 2012
Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal is one of those rare places which has it all - a picturesque setting, fabulous restaurant and beautifully designed rooms. Situated on the Summerhill Stud Estate in Mooi River, Hartford House has won countless awards for both its accommodation and food.
The restaurant is run by renowned Chef Jackie Cameron and the menu is varied and interesting, taking advantage of the region's fresh produce. Be assured that the meals are the kind which people remember for years. Jackie's food presentation is particularly noteworthy with most dishes looking far too good to destroy with a knife and fork but utterly sublime when you do. Meals are served either out on the veranda overlooking the estate's colourful gardens or inside the dining room of the original homestead.
The original house is still home to three guest suites which boast period details such as antique taps and light fixtures which many guests find fascinating. Every suite in the hotel is unique and each boasts details which will delight. Some suites look out onto the gardens and swimming pool and four recently built eco suites are made entirely from natural materials from the estate and its surrounds. The feel of these suites is distinctly African and there can be no doubt of your location in the world as you gaze out over the lake.
The Summerhill Estate is a destination on its own as the leading racehorse breeder in South Africa. Guests are welcome and regular tours of the Stud are conducted. Other activities include trout fishing - I expect my divine trout lunch was freshly caught - and horse riding, bird watching and spa treatments in the wellness centre. The Battlefields and Midlands Meander are also within easy reach and, so, a stay here really should be for more than just one night. The restaurant also welcomes guests who are not resident in the hotel for meals and a Sunday outing to Hartford House for lunch is a rare treat.
For more information visit www.hartford.co.za or call 033-263-2713.
It’s always gratifying to receive feedback from guests who stay at Hartford House, as an enormous amount of effort goes into making every guest’s stay a memorable one. It was therefore with deep appreciation that we received these reviews via the Tripadvisor.com website:
THE MEMORIES WILL LAST A LIFETIME
Hartford House Restaurant
(Please click photo to enlarge...)
We spent only 24 hours at Hartford House, but the memories will last a lifetime. From the moment we arrived and were offered a complimentary cocktail, we knew we had arrived somewhere special. The location was beautiful, tranquil and instantly relaxing.
We stayed in the Inkanyezi suite, which was a very impressive rondavel, built by locals, which was situated overlooking the fishing dam, with our own private plunge pool.
The accommodation was very special, from the 8 foot circular bed, to the bath for two (in which we drank champagne from the mini bar!) and the views and the sunloungers, all of which made us feel very special! We also had treatments at the wellness centre which contributed to our overall feeling of well being.
The food was out of this world, with the five course dinner a highlight. The restaurant was voted best Restaurant in South Africa in 2009 and this honour is well deserved. It was without doubt the best meal we have ever eaten. Save room for breakfast though, as this is equally impressive!
As you probably realise, we were impressed with this place, but quite apart from the quality of the accommodation and food, what impressed us most was the courage and determination of the owners and their Zulu staff to make a success of Hartford House and in an area of enormous unemployment and poverty, they are creating an amazing success story. Go there, support their efforts and have an experience you won't forget.
Siyabonga Suite Lounge
(Please click photo to enlarge...)
We spent one night at Hartford House in the Siyabonga suite for a special celebration, our stay was absolute bliss, from our drive to the hotel passing beautiful green scenery to our departure after breakfast on Sunday morning. From the minute you enter the gates absolute silence and beauty greet you, everywhere you look you see evidence to detail, the grounds are in pristine condition, the gardens a gorgeous riot of colour. The main house is well maintained and has beautiful furniture and exquisite mouldings and even stained glass on the ceilings. Check in was smooth, we were given a refreshing drink, while a few details were filled in.
The Siyabonga suite is one of the stand alone cottages at the dam edge, it has its own little splash pool with a water feature and an outdoor area, including 2 hammocks, overlooking the dam. The suite itself is big with a separate lounge area, lovely bedroom and dressing area, the bathroom has 2 stand alone baths as well as a separate wet room with a rain shower. The suite was clean and well maintained. The walks through the property were amazing, being able to get so close to the horses was very special.
Saturday dinner is an event at Hartford, with live entertainment by Zulu dancers, however unfortunately for us there was a problem and the dancers could not turn up, but Mick’s beautiful story telling made us proud to be South African and we learned more about our country’s as well as Hartford’s rich history. The food was sublime, Jackie is truly a star, she accommodated us with our dietry requirements, so we were able to enjoy a gastronomic feast. The staff were friendly and attentive.
When we got back to our room, the staff had been to turn down the bed, the chocolates were delicious and the rose petals on the bed and in the bath made us feel very special.
Sunday breakfast was not the usual buffet but another gastronomic feast.
Sadly we had to leave, but the peace and tranquillity of the place refreshed our souls.