We booked at Hartford House in Natal for 2 nights, due to the fact that the on-site restaurant was voted as one of the Top 10 restaurant in South Africa. The Siyabonga Suite we stayed in as completely separate from the whole estate overlooking the dam. The suite itself was massive with a complete lounge with fireplace, entrance area, big bedroom with seating space. The bathroom was the cherry ontop with 2 freestanding baths next to each other for bathing. We made use of this every evening, and lying next to your partner overlooking the Natal midlands, each in his own bath, is superb. A massive shower room with separate toilet and dressing area completed the suite. Everything in the suite was in neutral earthy colours and our suite even had a grass roof. The materials used to built the suite was made by the locals with their local building materials.
The main building is absolutely beautiful. The building is still the old original sandstone farmhouse. Inside portions of the ceilings are even stained glass ceilings which lets light through during the day and is absolutely amazing. The main building houses the restaurant, lounge, porch and breakfast areas. Everything with old world charm yet updated with modern style and done tastefully. A beautiful estate house.
The estate itself is on a working stud farm and apparently breeds some of the best horses in the world. We did see some horses and it's understandable why. The estate is massive with every inch of ground manucured to perfection.
The highlight of our stay however was the restaurant. As being avid foodies, the dinner and breakfasts during our stay was a mouthwatering sensation each time. I'm not going into detail, but each course was made with fresh ingredients from the estate and a perfect combination of tastes. Even breakfast was a 3 course meal, and not the normal buffet with selection of everything. The 3 course breakfast was a refreshing experience with exquisite combinations.
All in all this estate combines everything perfectly. Also the proximity to the Drakensberg is also very nice, as it's only 50kms from Giant's Castle. We loved our stay here and will be back again and again.
- 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