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.

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2010 HOUSE AND LEISURE / VISA BEST OF SA AWARDS

land of legends, kwazulu natal, south africa

Land of Legends - Legacy of the Zulu Kingdom
www.landoflegends.co.za 

"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.

Visit
www.landoflegends.co.za 

 

THE LEGENDS ON TOUR

(Photos : Paula Mackenzie) 

www.landoflegends.co.za

Some years ago, we teamed up with the late great David Rattray and his wife Nicky, to form what is now popularly known as the Land Of Legends. Our purpose was to highlight the virtues of some of the finest properties in hospitality, but specifically the best in the land of the Zulu. In those days, only 4% of the international traffic patronising our respective hostelries included KwaZulu Natal on their first visit to South Africa, and the success of this venture lies in the fact that today, this figure is closer to 40%.

But then, the local offering is quite extraordinary, and this turn of events comes as little surprise to those who know the diversity, the history and the culture of our region. Couple that with the fact that 2009/10 House and  Leisure/Visa Best Of South African Awards recognised the Hartford Restaurant as the best in the land, the Phinda Homestead Lodge as number one in its category, and Fordoun's Spa as the standard bearer too, and you realise that there's not much left that wasn't covered by our membership, in the realm of national hospitality establishments.

You can take none of these things for granted though, and unless you keep the propaganda flowing, you quickly join the ranks of the forgotten. Ordinarily, we wouldn't be so pretentious as to speak for others, but with a long association with the Cape ourselves, this is a topic on which we have some understanding, having lived there and been partly educated there in our own time. We tend to forget sometimes when we live in the "mother" territory, that there is life beyond the Hottentots-Holland mountains, and sometimes, when it comes to the other side of Drakensberg, we can be quite oblivious.

So last week, the "Legends" took their products to the Western Cape to share the delights of their local properties with journos, travel agents and corporate representatives. It had been raining for a week before we got there, and then the "Sunshine Boys" turned up. What a glorious day in glorious surrounds, from The Vineyard to Waterford, in glorious old cars.

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

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.