"The home of good conversation, fine wines and classic horses."
Living by its slogan “the only world class hotel on a world class stud farm in the world”, dinner on any evening at Hartford House in January and February is a cosmopolitan affair. Adorned with candles, its great colonial verandah is alive with the conversation of as many as six different tongues, though a gathering at the Summerhill table of Australians, British, French and South Africans, demands one universal language. It’s about horses, of course (who might have guessed?) and it’s this time of year when the horse nations of the world converge on us, and Hartford fondly remembers its other slogan “the home of good conversation, fine wines and classic horses”.
Naturally, there’s many a pilgrim who’s been magnetised by the space, the peace, the tranquillity, the beauty of our countryside, and of course, the culture of the only people on earth whose name is known to every airline pilot, “Z” for Zulu.
Guests this evening, include Jonathan D’Arcy and Simon Vivien from Australia’s time honoured auction house, Inglis & Son, here on their annual African sojourn; Xavier and Natalie Bozo, prominent French breeders, Patrick Mitford-Slade, whose connections go back to the great English stallion Petingo; National Spirit’s breeders, Dr Allen and Robyn Bechard, and a rotation of delegates from the Summerhill team. We use the word rotation intentionally: with the best will in the world, we could not dish up an “A” class repertoire, lunch-in-and-dinner-out, day after day as times demand, without a fresh contingent to carry the cudgels.