Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

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Inkanyezi Suite 14 at Hartford House

Hartford House Inkanyezi Suite 14
(Photos : Sally Chance)

Inkanyezi (Morning Star) Suite 14

The word Inkanyezi means the first or the evening star in Zulu, and this  suite was christened in that calling by the Zulus who built it. Most of  our Zulu staff come from rural environs, and almost all of them have  grown up in rondavels built of mud. Yet those that were engaged in  building Inkanyezi marvelled that people of European descent should be  building with materials of mud, timber and thatch, while most of our  African brethren these days have embraced the materials used by  Europeans.

To them, this example of a rondavel resembled a shining  star, hence their selection of the most prominent star to portray their  emotions. Most of the materials used in the suite were sourced either  off the greater Summerhill and Hartford estates, or from the immediate  vicinity, with raw mud bricks forming the basis of the walls and a mud  and straw rendering applied instead of plasterwork.

The intention in juxtaposing the original Hartford homestead  with Ezulweni, is to provide travellers with an insight, when they are  in the manor house, of our region’s colonial past, and then to transport  them through an intimate glimpse of what’s possible with a touch of  imagination from our Zulu staff, whose creative hands are strikingly  apparent in the finishes to Inkanyezi

There are two especially interesting pieces in the suite,  namely the 1820 convent linen press acquired from the old Orange Free  State (as we used to know it), while the painting on the wall, depicting  a North African market scene, is by an unknown but obviously talented  African artist.

The main entrance door is from India, and was chosen by  Cheryl Goss while she was busy remodelling what is now Lynton Hall,  where the antique furnishings echoed that property’s colonial past and  its association with indentured Indian labour. The verandah columns are  of Rhajastani origin.

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For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

Nhlanhla Suite 16 at Hartford House

Nhlanhla Bathroom / Hartford House (p)

Nhlanhla Bathroom / Hartford House (p)

Nhlanhla is one of the Zulu language’s most wonderful words. It really means “good luck”, but it also conjures good fortune, happiness, largesse and all the warm feelings we get when life is kind to us. Dubbed Nhlanhla by the Zulus who brighten our lives every day at Hartford, the name recalls the feelings of our team when they first saw Nhlanhla in its finished form. The suite radiates nature, the colours of our environment, warmth and originality, and as much as anything is a signal example of what the creative spirit can achieve from modest, locally sourced materials. The majority of the materials used in the erection of Nhlanhla were harvested off the greater Summerhill and Hartford estates, and where this was not possible, from our immediate environs.

This suite was the most recent of four comprising the Ezulweni (“in the heavens”) eco extension to Hartford House’s colonial origins. The intention in juxtaposing the original Hartford homestead with Ezulweni, is to provide travellers with an insight, when they are in the manor house, of our region’s colonial past, and then to transport them through an intimate glimpse of what’s possible with a touch of imagination from our Zulu staff, whose creative hands are strikingly apparent in the finishes to Nhlanhla.

In contrast to the rustic materials used in the development of the suite, the fine mahogany wardrobe housing the television and mini-bar, was imported to South Africa in the 1820’s and was acquired from a village in the Eastern Free State. The teak floors were rescued from the renovation of Durban’s “grand old dame”, the Edward Hotel, while the Indian front door was imported by Cheryl Goss when she was overseeing the renovation of what is now Lynton Hall. Internationally acclaimed for her work at Lynton Hall, Cheryl’s introduction of Indian antique furniture to that property recalls its association with the arrival of Indian indentured labour in Colonial Natal.

The copper bath is a creation of a customer of the racehorse stud, Summerhill, while the beds are from an altogether different age, featuring a hydraulically adjusted touch button (just below the mattress on either side), enabling guests to position themselves as their souls demand, after another “tough” day in Africa!

Nhlanhla has become the suite of choice of His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho, ruling monarch of the Mountain Kingdom, during his visits to Summerhill Stud, where he keeps several horses which feed his and his nation’s passion for the equine species.

GIANT'S CASTLE : Majestic presence entices local and international visitors

Ezulweni Suites on the Lake / Hartford House (p)

Ezulweni Suites on the Lake / Hartford House (p)

Giant’s Castle’s majestic presence, although shrouded in the blue haze of distance, is a sure sign you’re close to Hartford House. This award-winning, boutique country house is steeped in history dating back to 1875. It’s on the greater Summerhill estate, one of South Africa’s renowned racehorse stud farms and four times national breeder of the year. Here fine dining, the wellness centre and various outdoor activities make up an holistic Hartford experience. Search the world over there is, arguably, no other property like this.

Hartford is soon to celebrate the launch of its greatest work, Ezulweni. This is a compendium of suites of a mould nobody has known before. Built exclusively from materials harvested from the greater Hartford and Summerhill estates and the immediate environment, Ezulweni is a fine example of what’s achievable when local Zulu craftsmen, raised in a spirit of originality, are given the freedom to express the full extent of their talents.

Hailed as a triumph for creativity, these suites are proof of the compatibility between the natural influences of Africa and the sophisticated elegance of the colonial era.