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“Unique and memorable”
Review of Hartford House

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Hartford House
Ranked #2 of 8 Mooi River B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
109 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
“Unique and memorable”
Reviewed January 31, 2014 via mobile

We were rather unsure what to expect before arriving at Hartford house because their website is not that great, which is a great shame because this is a real find! When in Africa we are into African style rather than English country style so we had booked a lakeside room which turned out to be one of the best African styled rooms I have ever stayed in- A huge rondavel thatched suite with entrance hall ,huge living room ,open fire ,huge bedroom ,bathroom with copper bath ,separate dressing room and shower, all under huge vaulted roof. Beautifully quiet by the side of the lake until dawn when the Ha di dah birds woke up!
The estate is huge and beautiful to walk around with no traffic noise at all– And if you are interested in horses that would be an added bonus!
The meals are works of art and we found the wine pairing very good and the service very attentive in the restaurant -yes they could improve the service elsewhere but that did not detract from the overall experience.
I'm not sure that we would have liked it so much if we had stayed in one of the chalets in the garden though... They looked quite small and a bit boring!

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank j0gli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford H, Manager at Hartford House, responded to this review, April 26, 2014
Thanks so very much for your foodie comments. My team works hard at maintaining and uplifting their standards daily. I will be sure to pass your comments on to them. Chef Jackie

Many thanks for your praise of the estate and our rooms, another area where we are constantly striving to make the most of our beautiful farm. Regards, Kate
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239 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 (68)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
82 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2014 via mobile

Chef Jackie lives up to all expectations as far as gourmet meals are concerned. Unfortunately the same can not be said for the service at the restaurant. Pls improve your approach to your clients . We were left without a server for most of the evening and could not even get a cold drink out of anybody! The accommodation is superb and the attention to detail makes for an excellent stay. The estate is magnificent and the guided tour of the stud farm a wonderful bonus!

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Miracles_d0_Happen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford H, Manager at Hartford House, responded to this review, February 20, 2014
Thank you so very much for your comments with regards to the kitchen at Hartford - I will pass this onto my team.

Chef Jackie

Your feedback is much appreciated. We love taking our guests on Stud Tours and sharing the magnificent estate. Our apologies for the poor service - this situation has been addressed and we are constantly striving to improve ourselves on every front.

Kind regards,

Kate
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
110 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

This was undoubtedly the finest dining experience I have had in South Africa, coupled with an amazing breakfast and the most amazing service from the team at Hartford House. i enjoyed chatting to the owner Messes S Goss and the incredible Chef Jackie Cameron, with teh well trained support staff, what a team. We opted for the wine pairing, and the meal was beyond perfect. The accommodation was perfect as is the location on a thoroughbred racing estate, the horses were in stunning condition, and the decor collected from all over the world with a theme of antiques etc from the travels of the owner. I cant give a higher recommendation, other then to say I have eaten at restaurants all over the world and this was my absolute favorite, so much so that I am taking my wife, and 2 other coupled back there in Feb to experience excellence.

Room Tip: There are many suites to choose from, all good and you can review from the web site. They all repres...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DennisRogers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford H, Manager at Hartford House, responded to this review, February 20, 2014
Wow, thank you greatly, this comment has made my day! We so look forward to your next visit.

Chef Jackie
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Sandton, South Africa
Level Contributor
105 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014

A really downer. Our room, chalet 14, by the lake was in a state of disrepair. Doors not closing properly. It was also dirty and despite three requests to have it cleaned properly, nothing was done. Also, this is nothing like pictured on their website. The covers for the outside loungers were torn and filthy. It needs a total restoration. Now the better side, great walks and of course a world class kitchen did make up for the lack of care in some ways. Their chef is passionate, maybe she should teach the waiters and management a thing or two about service, listening and caring. Needless to say, we won't be returning. Having called a day after we left to enquire as to whether a cable I'd left in the room had been found, I was told they'd call me back. That's four days ago and nothing!!!

Room Tip: Don't opt for # 14
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank arcjnb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
69 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

What's not to like about Hartford House? They offer a three course breakfast, at least the weekend I stayed over. It was a real treat though it sounds better than it really tastes. The blueberry crumpets were hard, the starter fruit and yoghurt not particularly to rave home about. Hartford House is beautifully decorated, clean, and well located. It has beautiful grounds with horses, well maintained gardens and pool. The main room in the main house is a dream. My friends were fortunate to stay in the room, which was worlds apart from my spacious room, The Sentinel, that was clean and a pleasure to stay-in. All but for the lack of shower facilities. The handheld shower does not do it for me, especially with water splattered all over the bathroom. The side tables in the Sentinel are so tiny, they not conducive for putting books if wanting to read before bedtime. I had no space to place my eye glasses, my glass of water, nothing. They would do well to look into that! Another issue for me was the lack of wifi in the rooms outside the main house. Given that the telephone reception is at best okay, I think it's worth looking into.
No it's not all doom and gloom, other than the minor issues, there's lots to rave about. What was definitely worth raving all the way home about was the burger. Oh my gosh, the home-made bread, the patti and the cheese, wow. It was incredible. I would definitely visit again, maybe do some activities on offer.

Room Tip: Main room in the main house
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Itumeleng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford H, Manager at Hartford House, responded to this review, February 20, 2014
Thank you for your comments with regards to the food side of your stay. We pride ourselves in serving a detailed 3 course breakfast menu. I am saddened to hear you didn't enjoy your options and sorry that I wasn't able to rectify the situation on the morning itself. We do make the crumpets on service, and for that reason they sometimes to take a little longer than certain other dishes. Your comment regarding them being hard is something that I will look into. So glad that you enjoyed your burger .... you must have visited us on a wedding weekend!

Chef Jackie

Many thanks for your review. We pride ourselves in our beautifully maintained grounds & very unique decor. We have 3 rooms in the hotel which do not have showers, when bookings are made this fact is advised (these rooms have lower rates due to this). We are in the process of installing showers into these rooms, however, the process is being done in phases and will take some time. Wifi - again this is a project on the cards. We have had a wider Wifi range, however, with our violent storms, we have found that the wifi routers keep getting knocked out.

We do hope that you visit us again in the near future!

Kind regards,

Kate
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Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2013

My wife and I stayed at HH for one night in November. It was definitely not enough. The accommodation was excellent and the meals were amazing. We had the taster menu with wine pairings and I thought it the best we had during our 3 weeks in South Africa. I asked for a copy of the breakfast menu (3 courses) so I could show my friends back home!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank douglasj28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford H, Manager at Hartford House, responded to this review, February 20, 2014
3 weeks in South Africa - wow! Thank you so very much for this lovely review, I will definitely pass your comments on to the restaurant team. This does mean the world to us.

Hope to see you again on your next visit to SA.

Chef Jackie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed December 3, 2013

Went with a group of 8 for a friends leaving do. We all had the taster menu, some paired, some not. Food was great, would definitely recommend. Portions were good but not overwhelming (good for a taster menu). Wine pairing was generous! Service was quick, friendly and efficient. The venue itself is lovely and I'd love to go back and maybe stay for the night as well!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Damien L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford H, Manager at Hartford House, responded to this review, February 20, 2014
Fantastic! This is wonderful news ... we so look forward to welcoming you back to Hartford, hopefully to stay with us for a few nights. Don't wait too long now! I will let the team know that you had an enjoyable experience.

Chef Jackie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hartford House

Property: Hartford House
Address: Hlatikulu Road | Mooi River, Mooi River, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Mooi River
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
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 a Colonial 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 our settler forebears.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 in the world 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, views, dining, sounds, smells, 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. ... more   less 
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