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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diners club diamond wine list award 2009

"Diners Club Diamond Class Wine List Award"

The highest accolade a restaurant can earn itself in the beverage league, is a Diamond award for its wine list. For well over a decade, Hartford's wines have enjoyed recognition at the highest level, and it has just earned its eleventh Diners Club Diamond Class award.

We have prided ourselves in providing visitors with an experience which ranks in every division of our business, with the best in the world, hence the adage "the only world class hotel on a world class stud farm in the world". The plaudits on the food side have been many and varied, and Jackie Cameron, our Head Chef, has become a national and international celebrity. We get one chance every year when it comes to the beverages, so there are no rehearsals, and it's a great compliment to the team, Ainsley Williams, Scott Morgan, Mbulelo Mahlungulu and the rest of the front-of-house team, that they should have once again made it to the summit of the mountain.

We are lucky to live where we do, and especially to work with the people around us. Between Summerhill Stud (crowned just a month and a half ago for the seventh consecutive year as the Champion racehorse breeders of the nation), and Hartford House, we have aspired to do nothing more than our best and a bit more, and this is one of the ultimate accolades. That said, without the encouragement of our customers, who give us the chance to serve, none of this would've been possible. To all of you who patronise our business and get us up in the mornings, thank you.

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paula mackenzie and jackie cameron at the 2010 eat out awards

Paula Mackenzie and Jackie Cameron at the Eat Out Awards 2010


Hail Hartford, national Top Ten Restaurant again. Two months ago, this little hostelry was voted the nation's choice by the South African public in the face of competition from two "World Top Fifties". On Sunday evening Eat Out celebrated the critic's "Top Ten" at a gala function in Cape Town. David Higgs'Rust en Vredetook top spot in both the restaurant and best chef categories, while Hartford House was the only KwaZulu Natal-based restaurant counted in the top ten. Notable absentees in what is an increasingly competitive line-up, include last year's winners, Le Colombe and Mosaic as well as the quite exceptional Green House. Considering the remoteness of our location, this is a signal achievement for Jackie Cameron, her sous chef, Elaine Boshoff and their kitchen crew, but it isn't a matter alone of where we are, it's what we are. It is a victory for our social consciences, a message to the world of what's possible in what might have seemed impossible circumstances. Your patronage and encouragement has revealed a new world to a community of people who never knew life beyond Mooi River before, to our service staff, the scullery team and even our gardeners. To Paula Mackenzie who's God given talent picks the wines, and to her fellow managers Scott Morgan and Emma Stephenson.

You see Hartford is different. It is different because it is not just about the cuisine; it's the only member of the Top Ten that combines a world class restaurant with a matching accommodation establishment. It's both a cultural and a philosophical experience, where luxury is part of the journey, but it isn't the destination. A place without pretence, yet comfortable beyond imagination.