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: Goss Family

Emtonjeni Suite 12 at Hartford House

Hartford House Emtonjeni Suite 12
(Photos : Sally Chance)

Emtonjeni Suite 12

We are blessed on our farms with an abundance of water, with numerous underground springs spread across the length and breadth of the property. The word Emtonjeni means "at the springs" in Zulu, and this suite takes its name from its proximity to the swimming pool, and the springs. "The Springs" was also the name of the farm in East Griqualand on which Pat Goss snr founded his renowned racehorse breeding enterprise in the 1930's.

This suite fronts onto an old bathing pavilion (now the Wellness Centre), which dates back to the foundation of the Manor House, in 1875. The Moors, who were the first occupants of Hartford as we know it, initiated a habit of giving to each other, a plant or a piece of garden statuary or ornamentation on wedding anniversaries, and the bathing pavillion was one of the first of these. Since then, the Ellises and the Gosses have perpetuated this rather quaint habit, and most of what you see in the garden today came about as a result.

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

Emanzini Suite 11 at Hartford House

Hartford House Emanzini Suite 11 / Hartford House (p)

Hartford House Emanzini Suite 11 / Hartford House (p)

Emanzini Suite 11

We are blessed on our farms with an abundance of water, with numerous underground springs spread across the length and breadth of the property. The word Emanzini means "at the waterside" in Zulu, and this suite takes its name from its proximity to the swimming pool, the Wellness Centre and the springs. "The Springs" was also the name of the farm in East Griqualand on which Pat Goss Snr founded his renowned racehorse breeding enterprise in the 1930's.

Emanzini was one of the first exercises in building with bricks and mortar for our previously unskilled Zulus, who in our opinion, made an excellent job of what seemed like an impossible task when we first set out.

This suite fronts onto the old wisteria pergola, which dates back to the foundation of the Manor House, in 1875. The Moors, who were the first occupants of Hartford as we know it, initiated a habit of giving to each other a plant or a piece of garden statuary or ornamentation on wedding anniversaries, and the pergola was one of the first of these. Since then, the Ellises and the Gosses have perpetuated this rather quaint habit, and most of what you see in the garden today came about as a result.

hartford house logo

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

ST PAULS SUITE 5 AT HARTFORD HOUSE

Hartford House St Pauls Suite 5
(Photos : Sally Chance)

St Pauls Suite 5

Named for St Paul's Cathedral in London shortly after the Battle of Britain, the diminutive equine version, St Pauls, remains the smallest winner of Africa's most famous horserace, the Durban July Handicap. He was the property of Pat Goss snr, grandfather of Mick Goss, whose family is the current custodian of Hartford House and its rich legacy.

St Pauls remains etched in the memory of many South African racing fans, winning the 50th edition of this grand event in 1946 from the outside draw in record time, and his exploits lent impetus to the development by Pat Goss of his well known private breeding establishment at The Springs in East Griqualand. St Pauls was the first of several Durban July Handicap winners produced by the Goss and Ellis families (the latter the founder of a storied racing and breeding enterprise of the 40's, 50's and 60's), their involvement with Thoroughbreds dating back to the 1930's.

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

ELLIS SUITE 4 AT HARTFORD HOUSE

Hartford House Ellis Suite 4
(Photos : Sally Chance)

Ellis Suite 4

This suite is named for the Ellis family, who occupied the Hartford property from 1939 to 1990, when they exchanged the property with the Goss family for their home in Hillcrest near Durban. Raymond Ellis snr. was a property developer in Durban, and owned much of what is now known as Durban North. He was also a prominent hotelier, remembered for his proprietorship of the Fairhaven and Rydal Mount Hotels on Durban's Golden Mile, as well as being the founder of what is today South Africa's biggest brick-making business, Corobrick. Hartford was the Ellis country retreat, and they started breeding racehorses here in 1941.

The racing achievements of the Ellises, who proceeded to develop one of the greatest racehorse-breeding dynasties in history, were described by the famous author Sir Mordaunt Milner as ranking alongside those of Lord Derby, the Aga Khan, Coolmore and the Sheikhs Maktoum in the United Kingdom, Marcel Boussac in France, Senor Tesio in Italy, the Hancocks and the Phippses in the United States, and the Inghams in Australia.

From these historic pastures, they bred, raised and trained the winners of every major race on the South African racing calendar, and in their era, they were indomitable.

Once the sleeping quarters of Mick and Cheryl Goss' daughter Bronwyn, in more recent times, Ellis has accommodated 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.

Its artworks include an example by one of the greatest of South African artists, the late Errol Boyley, who is remembered here by the painting of a horse and his groom after a thunderstorm at Summerhill Stud (the main farm). Errol, who was a great friend of Summerhill and Hartford, has several other major works adorning the walls of the manor house.

This suite is often reserved by travellers who knew Hartford while it was still a private home, and its popularity has survived the subtle but extensive developmental changes to the other accommodation which have taken place at Hartford in the past decade, aimed at the increasing comfort of our treasured guests.

hartford house logo

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

ONE OF AFRICA'S MOST TREASURED LEGACIES

ezulweni lake suites, hartford house, kwazulu natal, south africa

Ezulweni Lake Suites, Hartford House
(Photo : Felicity Hayward)

EXTRACT FROM THE CAPE TIMES : TRAVEL

The Gosses, owners of Hartford House, humbly refer to themselves as "custodians of one of Africa's most treasured legacies". General Botha assumed command of the Boer forces here in 1899, and it was also home to the family of Sir Frederick Moor, the last prime minister of the Colony of Natal.

The deputy prime minister, Colonel Richards, established the world-renowned Summerhill Stud on the property, which today hosts stallions for the Rulers of Dubai. Aside from all this history, the Gosses also rightly revel in the beauty of this spectacular place... and so will you.

Spread across seemingly endless landscaped garden, the 14 rooms have been decorated with dark wood antiques from India and West Africa. Scraping my jaw off the floor, I surveyed the four lakeside suites which are nothing short of spectacular. I was especially taken with the aptly-named Siyabonga Suite ("thank you" in isiZulu) with its twin egg baths and private pool. The beaded chair, the wooden cow heads on the wall and the building materials are all locally sourced.

An emperor-sized round bed dominates the Inkanyezi Suite, while the Nhlanhla Suite ("good luck") combines Burmese antiques with bold green and rich red furnishings and a bright copper bath glints in the bathroom. Made entirely out of hay bales, this amazing example of sustainable luxury accommodation is so close to the lake it is practically floating.

Oh, and by the way, the restaurant I dined in (after my Swedish massage) was in the top 10 at the 2009 Dine Awards. Just go.

Rooms : 15 - four lakeside suites all king with bath and wet room; four garden/pool suites all with bath and shower; three standard kings with bath and shower and three twins with bath and shower.

Prices : R840 - R1555. Meals : Full three-course breakfast included. A la carte lunch and five-course set dinner.

HARTFORD’S DENIZENS

Paul Helmbold enjoying the Hartford lakes / Leigh Willson (p)

Paul Helmbold enjoying the Hartford lakes / Leigh Willson (p)

OF FINE COMPANY AND FINE FISHING

We’ve had a great time of it in recent weeks at Hartford, and we’re always flattered by the visits of people who travel thousands of miles to see us. Not only do they add to the tapestry of our life experiences, but they’re the reason we exist. You see, to serve is a matter of dignity for those of us who live here, and through their visits, our guests provide us with the opportunity to express our pleasure at having them here.

Though Hartford has become a “must do it” for a good number of our self-respecting countrymen, most of our traffic at this time of the year comes from across the world, mainly the northern hemisphere.

At dinner last evening, in a dining room of twenty-odd, we were just four locals, with the rest from Ireland, France, England and the United States. And what a company they were. We felt we’d known them for years, and by the end of lunch in the stud office the following day, there was something of a “raucous caucus” at the boardroom table.

While he was with us, Paul Helmbold gave the lie to those who claimed in recent days that there were no fish in the Hartford lakes with a haul of five fish over 2.5 pounds, while his wife Rachel, gifted horsewoman that she is, couldn’t resist the temptation of teaching the Goss grandchildren the disciplines of good horsemanship.

Our lives are built on memories of these visits, and we hope, whenever our guests pass this way, they’ll feel they’ve done the same.