A breathtaking winter break location. We were fortunate enough to spend 2 nights here in July, when the hotel was near empty, and we had all that fabulous downland and the estate to ourselves - what a fabulous time! The grounds of the hotel form the basis for the extensive stud farm and with open skies and frost all around, it allows for wonderful rolling walks, forming a beautiful backdrop to a very relaxed hotel. The meals are clearly a highlight with the quality of the cheffing on offer here (two totally outstanding dinners and a varied but affordable wine list too), but breakfasts are equally varied and tasty too. We were a party of four and had two chalets and a guest room between us, all immaculately presented and very relaxing - sherry, fruit, biscuits and log fires just finished off the experience. In the depths of winter, the rooms in the main hotel could be a little cold for some, but there was gas heaters when needed and there was no problem in stoking up a big fire in the library and sprawling around on cushions nursing a glass of port. We indulged in the excellent spa services and also had tours of the stud and the riding experience to add in too. Overall, highly recommended!
- 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