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“Beautiful setting, but not the Midland's best.”
Review of Hartford House

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Hartford House
Ranked #2 of 8 Mooi River B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Pennington, South Africa
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Beautiful setting, but not the Midland's best.”
Reviewed May 28, 2012

A beautiful setting, stunning public areas and well fitted bedrooms are rather marred by some poor finishing. The staff were friendly and helpful. The food and wine are excellent, but not spectacular. Dinner is a take it or leave it five course meal, and is overpriced at R350 pp, especially if you are not able to eat all five courses. The room we were in did not have a shower, and the lights in the bathroom were so bright it was intolerable. There was a dimmer, but it did not work and the amenities kit was half used. Using the bath requires advance planning, as filling it is a time consuming affair. Eventually I did discover that removing the filter on the wobbly tap, which had probably never been cleaned, improved on the trickle of water. Perhaps it's considered romantic, but under those bright lights it's anything but. And it's a real pain in the morning when all you want is a quick shower. The walls are also not soundproof, so you can hear your neighbors talking. Because the rooms are poorly maintained and lacking some basics, R1700.00 per night is overpriced. So, whilst this is undoubtedly a stunning property, there are better options in this area at much more realistic pricing, Cleopatra's, for example, is much better value for money even though some room options may cost slightly more..

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mikejnb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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247 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 (73)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Frankfurt, Germany
Level 6 Contributor
60 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2012

Hartford House is a lovely hotel on a stud farm. At the moment this is one of the best hotels in this area and it serves the best gourmet breakfast I know!

The rooms are all very big and tastefully furnished with complimentary sherry, coffee, tea and fruit. Unfortunately the rooms need some refurbishing and maintenance. In our suite it rained through the roof at various places.

The hotel has a gourmet restaurant and Jackie belongs to one of the top chefs in South Africa. But we were dissapointed on our second visit to the restaurant a year later. We only had a set menu (no alterations possible) and if you don't like a particular dish you have a problem. Upon checking in, they just ask you if you have any food allergies and they show you the menu but don't explain anything. For a top restaurant I feel it is important to at least have a choice between 2-3 dishes.

Also, they start serving dinner at a particular time so that all courses come out at the same time, which I don't find appropriate for a restaurant in this category.

The food did not convince us. The Lamb was lovely and juicy but the jus was too intense and the fish and prawns on the otherhand were overcooked. The value for money for the menu is not good.

There is no real spa. Only a room where you can get a massage (also here, it rained through the roof during my massage).

But, the location is superb to explore the Drakensberg and the hotel does have it's own charm. Not perfect but therefore the prices are still low. Ideally suited for a stopover.

Room Tip: Suite-Nr. 16 is the best suite on this estate. Not just the best lake side location but also from th...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cape-town-best
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
400 reviews
104 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
Reviewed May 24, 2012

Situated on Summerhill Stud, this historic property has been beautifully decorated. The food was brilliant and chef Jackie very charming. The service was attentive and the wine list quite satisfactory. While Hartford House is conveniently situated to visit the Berg and the Midlands Meander, one actually just wants to stay on the farm and enjoy the tranquility and old world charm!

Room Tip: We stayed in suites 14 and 15, which is a short, pleasant walk from the main lodge and situated on t...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Leon V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
261 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2012 via mobile

Having stayed at Hartford House a number of times my wife & I cannot wait to go back again and again. My wife has severe food allergies and really has to exercise extreme care. Even our regular tried and trusted restaurants have slipped up! Never once has this happened at Hartford! Jackie, a world acclaimed master chef, regularly produces 5 courses for my wife at the same time as she produces the regular famously inventive novel menu's that people in the know visit Hartford House to experience. Many visitors have travelled many thousands of miles to experience what we have right in our own country!

Stayed June 2011
Helpful?
Thank Anthony B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
Reviewed April 13, 2012

Hartford House is a truly wonderful location. An oasis of calm in a beautiful location in Natal. My wife and I stayed there whilst visiting the world famous Summerhill Stud and Mick Goss and his excellent team made us most welcome. The hospitality is always first class and the rooms we stayed in down by the lake were true luxury & we felt very pampered. The award winning restaurant is fully deserving of the accolades that it has won & you can very quickly become spoilt dining there each night! We will always stay at Hartford when visiting this part of South Africa and I would strongly recommend the hotel to anyone visiting this charming area.

Room Tip: The rooms/cabins down by the lake are very spectacular!
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed April 11, 2012

I took my daughter for her birthday to Hartford house. Firstly the scenery and ambiance is beyond beautiful and peaceful, the chef is brilliant and the staff are fantastic. Nothing is too much trouble,
everyone goes out of their way to make your stay fabulous. The rooms are pure indulgence and
comfortable and the walks we did in the area, looking at their horses and wandering around the lake was simply special.
I look forward to going back their with my husband for our 30th wedding anniversary.

Peta Chait

Room Tip: My daughter slept in a room in the main house and loved it, I slept in the rooms outside with a larg...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Peta C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2012

The Hartford House staff dedicate themselves to making you feel special. Regrettably, we only spent 1 night at this beautiful retreat but they suceeded in making a really great impression. The estate and entire hotel ( including guest suites) is luxurious and beautiful. As a someone who was in the early stages of preganancy, I was feeling nauseous and prepared to stall myself through the 5 course set dinner menu as I was dining with my husband. As soon as I informed the manager that I was pregnant, and I therefore wouldn't be having part of the menu, he and the chef went out of their way to replace all items which I couldn't eat, even pointing out alternatives where I hadn't asked for any. I found the entire meal delicious as did my husband. I thought the service was truely personalised.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank skymaiden001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hartford House

Property: Hartford House
Address: Hlatikulu Road | Mooi River, Mooi River 3300, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Mooi River
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Mooi River
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Peering through one teakwood door at Hartford House, you face an historic world. Opening another, the distant sounds of an ancient people at work lilt across the silent landscape, a country of great space, spectacular mountains and big skies. This place commands a headland between the world of traditional cultures and the splendid style of the 1800s. It is the resolution of all South African safaris. The journey’s exclamation point, a retreat from the hubbub where you make sense of a fast life and its senseless details. This is where we learn to redress ourselves on a first name basis. There are too many luxury hotels these days offering the same: a chocolate on the pillow, canned romance, and cuisine called “haut” because it’s spelled in French. Hartford stands apart for its integrity; its architecture and its views, its sounds, its scents and its colours; its racehorses and its people are all exhilarating surprises, unique to this Zululand, this culture, to Africa. Yes, you come here to be pampered, but at Hartford luxury is the journey, not the destination. The truth is, Hartford just happened. A home, and a grand one at that, which grew into a hotel. A community looks to it as its watering hole, its nexus of entertainment, its fountain of gossip. In so many ways, it’s gained and regained inspiration from the cultures it celebrates. It is life’s exception, a place at the same time comfortable beyond dreams, yet innocent of pretence. Moulded by its people, their vibrancy and their enterprise. And driven by a wish to be remembered. ... more   less 

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