Tucked away on the Giant's Castle side of Mooi River, KZN, is Hartford House boutique hotel. It is here that pastry chef, Bongeka Zuma, makes magic with butter, sugar and chocolate.Read More
Filtering by Tag: Giant's Castle
It's genuinely heartwarming to receive notes such as this one from our guests. These tidbits of positivity and encouragement mean so much to my team and I. Thank You.Read More
For most who travel and experience the world of luxury, seeking the pinnacle of beauty and the true understanding of the meaning of life, are well known to what the world has to offer and the standard of trends set to be "the best" and claiming to be more entertaining than the other.Read More
Hartford House, the fabled five-star boutique hotel set in the almost impossibly picturesque Giant’s Castle valley just outside Mooi River, has a reputation for warm hospitality and culinary excellence going back 140 years – to when it was the home of Sir Frederick Moor, the last prime minister of the Colony of Natal.Read More
The Drakensberg Mountain Range offers a major attraction to our international visitors, and Hartford House's close proximity to the majestic Giant's Castle, ensures truely authentic 'day trip' experiences. This is what a recent guest from Germany had to say on the TripAdvisor website...Read More
Stretching majestically for 245km, the Drakensberg mountain range forms a natural barrier between the Western reaches of KwaZulu–Natal and the Kingdom of Lesotho. This is a mountain range of spectacular beauty, where golden sandstone and soaring basalt buttresses rise above the pristine steep-sided river valleys, rocky gorges and high rolling grasslands.Read More
Whilst relaxing as a guest of Hartford House, we understand that you may want to spend time exploring the magical beauty of the greater Summerhill/Hartford Estate. What better way to enjoy your exploration than to take with you a specially prepared picnic basket... with that very special Hartford touch, of course.Read More
Wayne Coetzer has long occupied a space in our minds that counts him among the world's great hoteliers. Possessed of a street wisdom that entitles him to get up several hours after the rest of us and still win the race, Coetzer's peoples' skills have been honed in the front row of hospitality's 'hurly-burly'. His understanding of the mechanics of his trade borders on the Biblical, he has an intuitive knack of knowing his customers, and polishes it with an impish sense of humour which he maintains whatever the job throws at him.Read More
Unmistakenly one of the KZN Midlands' top boutique hotels; its history rich manor house and uber styish accommodation makes Hartford House the sought after venue for family celebrations, weddings, anniverseries, birthdays and barmitzvas.Read More
We all know the best weather follows a snowfall, or at least those of us who live in the Midlands do. Last night witnessed the first snow-dusting of our neighbourhood this winter, and from their lofty perch at "The Monastry", high up on the Giant's Castle end of the farm, our students at the School Of Equine Management Excellence and those doing their internships at Hartford House, looked out on a crystal-white landscape from the Drakensberg in the West to the ancient scene of the Battle of Willow Grange on their North-Eastern perimeter. No matter how often you've seen it, you never quite get over the goosebumps that come with it, and while this fall was just a smattering of the destruction of 2012's, the early rays of the rising sun and the ebbing mist of early morning found us in a winter wonderland.
There's a fascination in most of our hearts, and particularly those of our coastal dwellers, for a snowscape, and if your hospitality establishment isn't already full, you can count on a weekend like this to make sure it is. Mercifully, Hartford House has been "cooking" for the past couple of years, and there's seldom a spare bed on a weekend, but that doesn't mitigate the palpitations we feel in our breasts when we rise to this sight. Suddenly there are Beverly Hills helicopters flying in for weekend lunches, Ballooning SA's hot air balloons (two of them) will be billowing up from our paddocks in the wee hours of Saturday and Sunday, and those that are lucky enough, will have a view from an entirely different perspective.
Diners at tomorrow morning's breakfast and disembarkers from these escapades, will be treated to the incomparable energy of our traditional dancing troupe, whose name and fame extends to Tokyo and Hong Kong, where they ranked third and second in the world respectively on their debut performances. Now they've been invited to perform at Scotland's Edinburgh Festival, where no doubt, they will dance the socks off anyone who's lucky enough to see them, courtesy of Col. Reggie Purbrick (let’s not forget the OBE part!).
It's never good to speak ill of the dead, and this is not intended to diminish in any way the marvellous talents of Michael Jackson. As a dancer, he was as good as he was because of his "Africaness", not because he was American, yet in this company, he would battle to make the bench!
There were more than a few townspeople among the guests at Hartford House this weekend, who lamented the rain which forced a reappraisal of their outdoor plans, and again this morning, there was a rush among the guests for "Summerhill" apparel, particularly fleeces and weather-beaters, when a snow-bedecked Drakensberg emerged from the clouds at 6:30 am. For us though, the farming types, it was manna from heaven. In our 35 years at Summerhill, we've never known quite as mild a winter, and while the spring has been predictably unpredictable, the bit of rain we've had might otherwise have sufficed where it not for the soaring "summer" temperatures and cork-dry berg winds September and the early part of October brought with them. Uncharacteristic weather plays havoc with breeding plans and the foaling process, where creatures of habit generally follow the dictates of habit, no matter our human interventions. Places like the Karoo, the Western Cape and sometimes the Eastern Cape can justifiably use the term "drought", but it's hardly a term us Natalians can claim to belong to us. The last time we could genuinely complain that things were dry, was 1992, when irrigation dams dropped to a third of their capacity, but we all coped. While outsiders may have noticed that the terrain was different, they would hardly have said we were in trouble, beyond the obvious drop in our dam levels.
Snow on the mountains in late October you might say is unseasonal, and you're right, but it's not unprecedented, and while it may send a few shivers down the spine, the largesse this morning includes the free-flow of our rivers and an immeasurable supply of free nitrogen for the environment. Not that its deterred our visitors: an American banking group, charmed by the contrast between a beautiful spring garden and the chills of a glistening Giant's Castle, promptly booked their return visit to Hartford next year on check-out this morning.
For all the trials and the tribulations that accompany the foaling season, it's been pretty much free-wheel in 2013, and while that says something for the husbandry skills of a team that ranks with the best anywhere, it always helps to remember that whatever you do, Mother Nature is still in charge.
"HARTFORD HOUSE IS FOR ADULTS, ESPECIALLY AFFLUENT ONES WHO LOVE EATING."
Following is an article which appears on the travel website, Trufflepig : The Sounder, written by the ever so eloquent travel writer and editor for justtheplanet.com, Robyn Hodson. Trufflepig describes Robyn as a writer, who when not eating like a horse or riding off into African sunset, takes the time to write for The Sounder.
"Sweeping up the driveway toward Hartford House and looking out over the undulating emerald pastureland you know you’re in for something special. The history of the farm dates way back to Queen Victoria, and the British Royal Family famously accepted their copy of the Treaty of Vereeniging (ending the Anglo Boer War in 1902) on its balcony in 1922. It’s the colonial country house equivalent of one of the magnificent champion thoroughbreds sired on its property: a thing of beauty and grace… standing proud under big African skies ‘neath the shade of the dramatic Drakensberg Mountain Range.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it: Hartford House is for adults. Especially affluent ones who love eating. If you’re on a diet I’d suggest driving right on by as it’s all about the food and people come from far and wide to sample their home-grown cuisine. It’s where you really get to test your inner ‘Mr Creosote’ and it would be wrong to pitch up and not partake of every last mouth-watering morsel on its sensational menu.
As you’ll need to be fork-lifted out of the restaurant, it’s a good thing Hartford House boasts 14 luxury suites – I stayed in one by the lake named Siyabonga (‘give thanks to’ in Zulu). And yes, I promptly gave thanks all over the show for my private pool, under-floor heating, luxurious linens and bathroom with not one but TWO enormous tubs!
There is so much to do in the area. A truly Hartford experience includes a ride or wander around the famous stud farm, a treatment at the wellness centre, trips to Giant’s Castle, drives through the Midlands Meander (a local art-and-craft route)… or curl up with a book in the sunshine on the rambling, wrap-around veranda just like a lazy pussycat.
My view: get there fast… it’s only a matter of time before the racehorses wise up to their inferior stable accommodation and you find one soaking in the bathtub or sneaking into the pantry."