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.

Filtering by Tag: Giants Castle

The Perfect Midlands Meander Destination

breakfast view

"Breakfast on the verandah, overlooking the beautiful gardens, is also a highlight of any visit to Hartford..."

“For a moment, there’s a lull in the noise of the city. Bird song comes to the fore, a hadeda is heard overhead and for a few seconds my mind retreats to Hartford. This is a place so special that even being transported for a few seconds brings refreshment from the busy pace of life.

There are so many aspects to Hartford House and each of them has the special qualities that combine to make one’s stay unforgettable, however many times one visits. It is the personalities of you, Mick and Cheryl, your vision, enthusiasm and guidance that has made Hartford so special.

On entry down the long driveway with fields and paddocks on either side and Giant’s Castle up to the left, life begins to slow after our four hour drive from Joburg or three hours from the South Coast. The smiling welcome at the gate and then the warmth and friendliness of the staff on arrival and throughout one’s stay at Hartford gives a relaxed comfortable feeling to new visitors and those like us who return as often as we do. The people in the office, the front staff, Jackie and the kitchen staff, housekeeping and gardeners are equally friendly and are genuinely happy greeting visitors.

Then there are the gorgeous rooms into which you have put so much thought and detail, each so different but equally comfortable. We have stayed in every room you have and it’s always exciting on arrival, to see which room will be ours. Nothing has been spared and one feels the luxury of indulgence relaxing in the room or sitting outdoors enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings.

Dinner is always the most special delight and, I think, the best in South Africa. Comparing meals with some top restaurants in Europe, Hartford is still the best. Breakfast on the verandah, overlooking the beautiful gardens, is also a highlight of any visit to Hartford and the menu is amazing.

After the indulgence and tranquility of a Hartford stay, one reluctantly leaves, knowing there will be a time to visit again, and in between visits, cut out the noise of life and transport oneself back for a moment of peace.”

Said by a connoisseur.Veronica Jagoe (and husband Sean) are veterans of more than 150 visits to Hartford House (yes, that’s about a dozen a year, every year, since we opened).Apart from being our most treasured guests, they’re also among the nicest.And they must have taste!

Weather conditions to expect at Hartford House, Giant's Castle

Lazy summer days at Hartford House

Lazy summer days at Hartford House

The weather:

The altitude of the uKahlamba-Drakensberg (11 000 feet) and Midlands region keeps summer moderate, with temperatures rarely reaching 30 degrees Celcius.

Summer (December to February), the rainy season, is characterised by daily thundershowers. As a result the area takes on a healthy green hue – “green are the hills of KwaZulu-Natal”,

Winter days are warm – usually about 19 degrees Celcius while the night temperatures can plummet to below zero. Snow regularly illuminates the peaks of the uKahlamba-Drakensberg.

Autumn, some say is the best time to visit. This is when the rainfall drops and the lush green mountain slopes change to golden blonde.

Spring is a time of abundance. Showers are the precursor to summer rains. Buds burst into blossoms – the area is alive with activity.

The seasons and seasonal activities on the farm:

Summer: December to February - Relax at the pool – fly fishing – cocktails at sunset

Autumn: March to May - A leisurely walk – horse riding – catch up on the

region’s history

Winter: June to August - Crackling log fires – good conversation – fine wine

Spring: September to November - Familiarise yourself with the horse breeding industry

Average temperatures:

Summer 15-28

Autumn 11-24

Winter 0-19

Spring 11-24

Suggested essentials:

When visiting the area in summer, it is imperative to have a hat and sunscreen. A light-weight raincoat is suggested. A light-weight jersey might be needed on a cool evening. Bring out the woolies in winter – but not too many because the days are glorious. This is a farming community so dress is casual – we, however, ask that you add smart to casual for meals. Walking shoes would come in handy, as would a camera and binoculars. A healthy appetite is a must!

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.