"Hartford House is certainly cooking and the star in the kitchen is head chef Constantijn Hahndiek. He’s fresh from an Eat Out top 20 nomination this year – and the only KZN restaurant mentioned." - Frank Chemaly / The Mercury Good LifeRead More
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Land of Legends - Legacy of the Zulu Kingdom
"PLAY IT AGAIN SAM : HARTFORD TOPS AGAIN"
There was a time not long ago, when KwaZulu Natal ranked as the poor third cousin in the eyes of international travellers in particular. That's changed in recent years, and if the outcome of the House and Leisure / Visa Best of SA competition is anything to judge our province by, it seems the world has finally awakened to the beauty and diversity of this spectacular region.
Within the walls of the province, there has long existed an intimate collection of hospitality properties known as the Land Of Legends, whose common glue is their celebration of culture, tradition and history, and their outstanding records of social upliftment and environmental preservation. These establishments include Hartford House, Phinda Private Game Reserve, Fordoun Hotel and Spa,the Beverley Hills Hotel and Rocktail Beach Camp, and the first three of these recently made the final five in each of their respective categories in the House and Leisure / Visa Best of SA competition.
Given that the best names in South African hospitality were among the finalists in each category, it's not only a wonderful tribute to the Land Of Legends in general and these properties specifically, but it's a compliment to the depth and diversity of KwaZulu Natal's offerings, that all three were voted national winners by the readers of South Africa's most popular lifestyle magazine, for the second consecutive year.
Hartford House topped the podium as the nation's best restaurant in that category, which included the The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francaise and Le Colombe at Constantia Uitsig, both of which rank in the World Top Fifty. Some achievement for celebrity chef, Jackie Cameron, and her team, considering the remoteness of their locality, 10kms on the Giants Castle side of Mooi River.
Hardly surprising, for their well established reputation for excellence, was the Phinda Homestead Lodge's top spot in the Best Of SA Lodge category, and here again, we should be mindful that the finalists included Ivory Lodge, Singita Sweni Lodge and Makanyane Safari Lodge.
In the Spa category, there were two KwaZulu Natal-based properties amongst the finalists, Fordoun Hotel and Spa and the Karkloof Spa, with the outstanding Nottingham Road-based Fordoun the voter's favourite for a second time.
While the voting was not confined to South African readers alone, the outcomes were probably as much a statement about the excellence of these KwaZulu Natal establishments, as they were for the values South Africans treasure most : excellent quality, great dependability and outstanding value, and the fact that increasingly, modern travellers have originality, authenticity and genuine hospitality at the top of their shopping lists, in the choice of where they eat and where they choose to stay.
AT THE TOP, THE HEAD NEVER SITS EASILY
We’ve just received the news from the organisers of the House and Leisure/Visa Best of SA Awards, that Hartford has once again made the finalists in the Best Restaurant category. As last years winners, we go into the 2010 edition as the reigning champions, with little to gain and everything to loose, as our friends at Summerhill tell us racing people would describe our position.
We’re always humbled to be selected for these finals, especially when you consider the other finalists in the category include two world top fifty restaurants, so this remains a singular and terribly important honour for us.
To those who know us, we hope that we can rely on your support once again to ensure the crown remains on this side of the Drakensberg. It’s very unusual in hospitality or in the world of cuisine, for local establishments to enjoy the recognition of those who live in “wonderland”, and it’s especially reassuring to know that we got there last year courtesy of the readers of the No.1 lifestyle magazine.
It’s also especially pleasing from a KZN perspective in general, and as members of the Land Of Legends in particular that last year’s winners in their respective categories, Best Lodge and Best Spa, Phinda Homestead Lodge and Fordoun respectively have once again made the finals. For the small, but highly selective brotherhood of Land Of Legends members, this is an accolade of dreams.
(Photo : Hartford House)
THE HOUSE AND LEISURE/VISA BEST OF SA AWARDS
South Africa’s favourite lifestyle magazine, House and Leisure has just announced its finalists for this year’s best restaurants, and Hartford House is obviously greatly proud to be included in the top five alongside the big names like Le Colombe, Marianas, Ritrivo and The Tasting Room. What a statement for the standards Jackie Cameron and her team have set in the Hartford kitchen, especially considering that it’s the only restaurant in KwaZulu-Natal to have made the cut, and of course, our own isolation in Mooi River. Three of the other finalists are Western Cape-based, while one is in Johannesburg.
Significantly, in the other categories, two of our colleagues in the Land Of Legends (www.landoflegends.co.za) have made the finals. In the Lodge division, The Homestead at Phinda Resource Reserve is among the final five, while Fordoun makes the last four in the Spa category.
That’s some statement on the standards you can expect from our membership of what is, without any doubt, the best collection of properties in this province, and if we may be a little cheeky, perhaps in any province.