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“Adorable place, great people, clumsy food”

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Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Balgowan
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Adorable place, great people, clumsy food”
Reviewed March 18, 2009

Cleopatra is a beautiful place in an amazing setting. It's absolutely perfect for 1-2 nights. Any more and you will resent the food, which loves itself for being 'special' and 'rich' but is, in my opinion, clumsy and overly reliant on butter, cream and sugar as a poor substitute for thinking about how the ingredients should taste. Great selection of wines; one of the staff knows them, the other does not even drink.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — food
  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank BGWLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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305 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Brighton
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 9, 2009

I was very surprised by the earlier review saying the food here wasn't up to "European standards". We've eaten in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK and our impression of Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse is that the food was consistently amazing! Not only that but we loved our room and the whole setting with the garden and trout pond and surrounding mountains made this a truly wonderful place to stay. Definitely a highlight of our already fantastic honeymoon in South Africa.

Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank akpearson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed September 17, 2008

After reading some of the mixed reviews regarding the standard of the food we were a little nervous but we needn't have worried - the 6 course dinners were absolutely amazing - everything perfectly proportioned so that one can actually pretty much finish all 6 courses. Food delicious and beautifully presented - eating out in London will never be the same again.

We loved staying here for 2 nights - beautiful location with good walks and rock art nearby. For animal lovers, there is a gorgeous alsatian called Treacle, very friendly, who often accompanies guests on nearby walks.

The room was large and comfortable. We loved staying here and will hopefully visit again one day.

  • Liked — the food, Treacle the friendly alsatian, the location
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank PocketRocket76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2008

Cleopatra's held up to the rave reviews. It was a delightful experience. As they say, this is a gourmet FEAST. We spent 2 nights of our honeymoon here and in truth, don't think we could have done more after the 5 course dinners and 3 course breakfasts! The food truly was amazing. The room however was somewhat lacking. Each room is themed and we landed up in a chinese themed room - it was a little eerie to be honest.... Just be selective about your room and ENJOY!

  • Liked — the food!
  • Disliked — the room
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank InlovewithSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2007

We stayed three nights having heard about the food and its reputation. The food IS wonderful and huge amounts of it.
Put all thoughts of healthy eating aside and just enjoy the flavours, presentation and best quality food. The ambiance and service is great, all the staff very pleasant and helpful.
The area is just beautiful and in good weather it is one of the lovliest areas of SA we have been to.
The 'decor' is a little quirky, and the paintwork, carpets etc leave a bit to be desired, but you really do go for the food and the area itself. Richard Poynton was around and did his 'bit' on our first night, the other two nights he was away. The food was every bit as good and the service too without him, though we have heard it can go off. We would certainly stay again ...

  • Liked — food and the beauty of the area and property
  • Disliked — could be pretty chilly in the colder months - especially the bathroom. Decor needs a facelift
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank abkLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wuppertal, Germany
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2007

We had a very nice stay. Nice Cottage with a working fireplace.
Richard, the cook and the chef is a very nice guy.
He is talentendent cook, but, his portions are to much.

He presentent himself as a "Superstar-Chef", what he is not..!!
For Europeans which we ,are living close to Countries as France and Belgium,your Couisinse its just Average to us. Sorry Richard!

Im Europe that would not be ready for just 1 Michelaen Star!
It was a bit disappointiing

Klaus bockmühl

  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Klaus4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2007

We visited Cleopatras for the weekend and once again had a fantastic trip. On reading a few negetive reviews, I thought it would be fit to try and put right what a few of the guests below have written.

I believe their negetive comments are perhaps out of ignorance and perhaps the expectations of what they have of Cleopatras is what makes them dissappointed.

As a hobby I have been travelling and writing about food and accommodation for the past 10 years, and have travelled the world extensively. I have had Andrew Llyod Webbers chef cook for us on a barge for a week in France, and I still rate Cleopatras as the best gourmet experience you will have.

If you know food - you will agree. If you think you know food and you don't, you will have an average experience.

However what I believe the Poyntons are trying to achieve (and only if you have lived in South Africa will you appreciate this).....is to create an old Farmhouse experience.

In our youth, most of our families had old, dilapidated farm houses, that were handed down by great grandparents. No electricity, no hot water, and decorated by the local crafts available. They spent hours sewing by hand, using old farm equipment that no longer worked in the house where ever it could find a new use, and collected goods handed down for generations.

Infact a lot of us South Africans, when travelling, yearn for going back to our roots and often look for accommodation that is rustic and reminiscent of these days.

This is exactly what Cleopatras is - however with a few added luxuries such as electricity and hot running water.

I agree, it is worth meeting RIchard. He and Mouse have made Cleopatras what it is, and although he has incredible staff who do a 5 star job, he has an amazing passion for the place. To avoid dissappointment, when booking, perhaps request as to whether he will be there, and choose your dates accordingly.

So if you, an international traveller would like to experience a little of how South Africa WAS in the old days, and if you appreciated world class home cooked food - then book in for an experience you will never forget. If you are looking for 5 star hotel luxury - rather try the Beverley Hills or Hotel Izulu, No one will know your name - and the towels will be crisp.....and you will have a lovely stay.

However if you want to experience life in Africa - and live how South Africans yearn to ....visit Cleopatras.....

  • Disliked — Nothing bad to report
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Calzan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse

Property: Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse
Address: Highmoor Road, Balgowan 3275, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Balgowan
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Balgowan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse Hotel Balgowan
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse Kwazulu Natal
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse South Africa/Balgowan

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