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: House and Leisure

SOUTH AFRICA'S TOP RESTAURANT : AS BIG AS IT GETS

pecan nut praline parfait

Pecan Nut Praline Parfait
(Photo : Hartford House)

HOUSE AND LEISURE / VISA BEST OF SA AWARDS

Let us not underestimate the enormity of the occasion. At a gala function this evening, the Hartford team of Cheryl Goss and Jackie Cameron step up to the winner's podium for the second consecutive year as the country's top restaurant in House and Leisure / Visa Best of SA Awards. The finalists included the national icons La Columbe and The Tasting Room in the Cape Town vicinity, and Mosaic in Gauteng, and yet, despite their remoteness, the gourmet public have proclaimed them the masters.

It's a marvellous tribute to a tireless team, forged from the ranks of a community where unemployment is the norm rather than the exception, and where skills in hospitality when Hartford House first opened its doors fourteen years ago, were almost non-existent.

The great thing is, this team is still a work-in-progress, and there are places they still have to go, yet it needs to be said that it's entirely through the encouragement and patronage of our guests, that all of this has been possible.

For those who travel thousands of miles to visit us, there is good news this morning in the government's interim budget, which relaxes our foreign exchange controls, weakening the Rand, and making travel to South Africa even more competitive. This at a time when the Australian dollar has reached the value of its American counterpart for the first time.

hartford house logo

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

HOUSE AND LEISURE ANNOUNCES BEST OF SA FINALISTS

house and leisure magazine

House and Leisure Magazine
"Stylish SA at Home and Play"

House and Leisure / Visa Best of SA Awards

House and Leisure magazine has announced the finalists in the 2010 Best of SA Awards, in association with Visa. These awards celebrate the best hotel, spa, lodge and restaurant in the country as voted for by House and Leisure readers.

"We have narrowed down the search this year to the top five finalists in each category and now give readers the opportunity to vote for their favourite spot," says Naomi Larkin, editor of House and Leisure magazine. "The finalists represent the best South Africa has to offer, from urban chic hotels and world-class spas and restaurants to luxurious country lodges."

House and Leisure / Visa Best of SA 2010 finalists :

Hotels :

  • The Owner’s Cottage (Franschhoek, Western Cape)
  • The Oyster Box (Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal)
  • Shamwari Townhouse (Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape)
  • 15 On Orange (Cape Town, Western Cape)
  • Kurland (Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape)

Spas :

Lodges :

Restaurants :

  • Hartford House (Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal)
  • The Tasting Room (Franschhoek, Western Cape)
  • La Colombe (Cape Town, Western Cape)
  • Marianas (Stanford, Western Cape)
  • Restaurant Mosaic (Elandsfontein, near Pretoria, Gauteng)

House and Leisure readers stand a chance to win amazing prizes in the House and Leisure / Visa Best of SA Awards. By voting for the winning hotel, spa, lodge or restaurant, four lucky readers will each win a five-star trip for two to one of the winning establishments. For more information on how to vote, see the August issue of House and Leisure magazine.

House and Leisure is the authority on "Stylish SA at home and play". It is South Africa’s beloved premium home-grown shelter title, showcasing the South African dream : stylish homes and people. Inspiring decor. Delicious and innovative food. Inspiring travel and leisure. House and Leisure's readers are discerning, up-market pleasure seekers who are at home in South Africa and the rest of the world. House and Leisure is their trusted guide, celebrating what matters to them most - their homes, passions and pastimes.

House and Leisure won the Best Décor and Home magazine award at the recent AdVantage AdMag Awards.

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

HARTFORD SELECTED SA BEST RESTAURANT FINALIST

2010 House and Leisure - Visa Best of SA Awards / Hartford House (p)

2010 House and Leisure - Visa Best of SA Awards / Hartford House (p)

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.

land of legends zulu warrior

FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH

land of legends kwazulu natal south africa

LAND OF LEGENDS

Just a few weeks back, we told the world of our joy at Hartford being voted South Africa’s best restaurant in the House and Leisure / Visa Best Of SAcompetition. The results are now in the public domain following the publication of the November issue of House and Leisure, and we applaud our fellow KwaZulu Natal and Land Of Legends pals, The Homestead at Phinda Game Reserve and Fordoun Spa, for topping their categories alongside Hartford.

To quote House and Leisure editor, Naomi Larkin, “each of the winning destinations has a unique touch and global appeal, and deserves to be named the best in South Africa”.

And then back to renowned food critic, Anne Stevens, who wrote this past week in The Mercury : "But that’s not all, as they say in the ads. Hartford and the Beverley Hills in Umhlanga have earned Diamond Wine List awards as well”.

“The celebration was twice as sweet for both; the “Bev” was also awarded an American Express Platinum Award for its signature restaurant, The Sugar Club, and Hartford took its fifth consecutive American Express Fine Dining Award in Johannesburg”.

IT’S SPRING TIME : NEW LIFE AND NEW HORIZONS

"... Spring is a glorious time at Hartford" / Barbara Meier (p)

"... Spring is a glorious time at Hartford" / Barbara Meier (p)

HOUSE AND LEISURE-VISA BEST SA RESTAURANT

It’s a glorious time at Hartford, and it was in spring that our garden first earned its accolades at the The Witness Garden Show more than twenty years ago. By the end of this month and well into October, both Hartford and Summerhill will be a profusion of rosebuds, flowering cherries, and the wisteria will be weighed down by its beautiful mauve petals.

By heavens though, we don’t remember a spring of so much celebration. Within the past fortnight, Hartford earned one of only two Diners’ Club Diamond Winelist awards in KZN with our old friends, the Beverley Hills, a fine compliment to all the work our hotel manager, Paula Mackenzie has put into her maiden effort.

The restaurant also took its fifth consecutive American Express Fine Dining Award in Johannesburg, and now comes the news that the readers of South   Africa’s most widely publicized lifestyle magazine, House and Leisure, have voted Hartford House the best restaurant in the land in their Visa Best of SA competition. Now that’s quite a statement, considering that a world “Top Fifty” venue, the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francaise, and last year’s “Eat Out” National Number One restaurant, Le Colombe, were among the finalists.

Most Hartford fans know of our proud affiliation to the Land Of Legends, South Africa’s only collection of properties connected through a mutual celebration of history, tradition and culture. Besides this unique “glue” in our respective make-ups, Phinda Private Game Reserve, Rocktail Bay Camp, Fordoun Spa and Hartford House all have exceptional records of social upliftment and environmental preservation (www.landoflegends.co.za).

Three of these, Hartford’s Restaurant, Phinda’s Homestead Lodge, and Fordoun’s Spa were nominated finalists in their respective categories of the House and Leisure competition, and quite amazingly, all three made it to the top spot on the podium. As much as this is a wonderful accolade for the Land Of Legends as a brand, speaking as it does not only of excellence but of depth and diversity too, it’s also a tribute to KwaZulu Natal as a world-class travel destination, which stands alone when it comes to value.

To those of you who rallied to our cause and voted for us and our Land  Of Legends colleagues in the House and Leisure competition, may we add our heartfelt thanks for the trouble. We were up against the best here, and we understand there were more than 100 000 votes cast, so every single one mattered.

Wait a minute though, that’s not the lot. The champagne had scarcely run out, when head chef Jackie Cameron was notified once again that we’d made the finals for the Eat Out Top Ten, but we’ll have to await our fate in November for that one.

As we write, the Hilton Drama Festival is under way, one of the nation’s hottest expressions of the performing arts, and the wonders of nature have new revelations for us every day in the Summerhill foaling barn, were the champions of tomorrow are being brought into the world in some earnest.

Come and see us, we long for your return. If you can get here before the end of October, as an established Hartford customer, we’ll book you at our winter rate. We can’t promise that for November or December sadly, as advance bookings from our friends from abroad tell us that with value-for-money being the clarion call of most travellers these days, places of Hartford’s distinction are going to be in high demand. 

EXPRESS REMAINS DOUBLE QUICK

Pamela White, Tania Maree, Vanessa Singh, Jackie Cameron, Victor Strugo

Pamela White, Tania Maree, Vanessa Singh, Jackie Cameron, Victor Strugo

AMERICAN EXPRESS WINNING MOST RESTAURANTS

It’s often been said that the great financial sage, Warren Buffet’s, winning-most investments were Coca-Cola and American Express, and American Express’ winning-most restaurants were announced at a gala function in Johannesburg on Monday night.  We’d scarcely dried the ink on Hartford House’ Diners Club Diamond Wine List Award, than we were greeted with the news that the culinary giants, Victor StrugoLannice Snyman andVanessa Singh were among those that had selected Hartford’s restaurant, it’s celebrated young chef Jackie Cameron, and the talented cooking and hospitality teams behind them, among just four KZN based restaurants in the fine dining categories.

Just a fortnight ago, Shaun Munroe of Durban’s grand old dame, the Beverley Hills, joined Jackie in a chef exchange between the two gourmet gems, and it was gratifying to see the Beverley  Hills and Andrew Draper among those locally based eateries, walking away with “gongs”.

Within the month we’ll know how Hartford fared as one of five finalists in House and Leisure’s national restaurant of the year, so (its..... award of the past twelve months) Hartford’s not just about being the only world class hotel on a world class stud farm.  It’s right up there with the best restaurants in the world, and if you think that’s stretching it, give it a shot.

Reflections of Anna Trapido

anna trapido hunger for freedom

Anna Trapido
(Photo : Jacana/AP Photo)

"FURTHER GLORY from an inspired source"

Following inclusion in House & Leisure’s top five, Wine magazine’s dine top ten, one of Africa’s top food critics, Anna Trapido and her husband Richard graced us with a visit a few weeks ago. She is of course, among numerous other distinctions, the author of Hunger for Freedom: The Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela. Anna’s note on departure was a telling testament of her experience here. Her reflections included a suggestion that the Hartford restaurant was not only a national treasure in its own right, but it was deserving of a place in the World’s Top Fifty. Now this is serious talk, as the world’s top fifty includes every eatery on the planet, and that runs to millions.

Of course, these things are always the product of one’s subjective judgment, but it’s a comforting thought that increasingly the critics beliefs are converging in a single direction.

Thank heavens for these mercies. Times like these call for moments like this.

House and Leisure Accolade for Hartford Restaurant

Hartford House Restaurant

Hartford House Restaurant

"COMPLIMENTS (as big as they get) from one of the BIGGEST AND THE BEST"

So the accolades have been piling up for Hartford House in the last eighteen months, but its latest achievement in making House & Leisure’s Top Five South African restaurants, ranks with the best of them. Heavens knows how many there are in South Africa, but at the last count, some guru claimed there were more than 60000 eateries in the nation, yet this one, ten kilometres outside the dustiest little dorp in the Midlands at the southernmost tip of what the civilized people to the north of us call the darkest continent, happens to make the top five.

It’s not only a compliment to Jackie Cameron and her team, it’s a miracle in an environment which has emerged from 80% unemployment, a land of few skills, and nothing in the way of culinary virtues.

That Sir Clement Freud, recently deceased and much-lamented raconteur, adventurer and journalist in the UK, once proclaimed Hartford the most beautiful home in the country is a well documented statement, but what a blessing to have that and one of the nation’s elite gourmet paradises.

The August issue of South Africa’s foremost publication on the world of living, House & Leisure, will announce the top five. We have no idea who the competition are, but readers and browsers will get their chance to vote for the king of kings following that issue. Don’t worry, you’ll get the reminder!

home and leisure