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“Personal Touch in the Mountains”

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The Retreat at Groenfontein
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 1, 2012

The Retreat at Groenfontein is a rare find ! Nestled in a circumference of south africa's most majestic rolling mountains, you are a guest amongst unique fauna and flora from a lost time. The giant tortoise we spotted ambling across our path as we cycled to the rock pools embodies the speed and timeless beauty of Groenfontein. This is a place to relax, unwind and hibernate from WiFi and Cell Phones. Prepare for a sensory flora explosion with abundant endemic fynbos from millions of years ago. As a guest at Groenfontein we felt as though we were part of the family !! We are South African and we can only imagine what an impact Groenfontein must have for international travellers...

Room Tip: It is best to e mail and discuss your requirements. All the rooms have their own charm and attribute...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank James3337337
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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197 - 203 of 272 reviews

Reviewed September 25, 2012

As another reviewer said -it's worth the drive and even the pothole damage to our humble rental Polo... The location is magnificent - plenty of walks available. It's a haven for birds so if you're into birdwatching or photographing birds you can spend ages photographing them,,, so colourful and hypnotising. The hosts were welcoming and full of information. Dinner is a shared experience with the hosts and other guests - so a lot of stimulating conversation. Rooms comfortable - don't fret if you don't get a garden view, the room we had was comfortable and spacious.
There are two dogs - staffies - Donna and Spikey - very well tempered animals which probably got fed up of the attention I paid to them. Donna liked to sit on my feet. Good with children.
Our dinner was venison - absolutely delicious but being a greedy pig I tucked into the vegetarian choice as well - I could live off a vegetarian diet if every restaurant made veggie food that wholesome.
All in all - FABULOUS - we're looking for an excuse to go back, even more inviting than Mymering in Ladismith and that earned 5 stars from me. But mind that pothole 1/2 km outside Calitzdorp.........................

Room Tip: don't worry about garden view....the rooms all look good.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank WelshwizardK10D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

My husband, our two small dogs, and ourselves recently spent a night at the Retreat after an afternoon of port tasting in Calitzdorp. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this establishment - it truly took our breath away in every possible way! The property is a magical oasis in the klein karoo. Marie and Grant are fantastic hosts and offer the most delectable home-cooked meals and attentive service. They went above and beyond their way to ensure our stay was memorable.

Although it is slightly out of town, please do yourself a favour and make sure to stay at the Retreat should you be in or around the Calitzdorp/Oudtshoorn area. Highly, highly recommended!

Room Tip: Choose one of the garden units separate from the house - stunning views and lots of privacy!
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank nm563
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2012

The end justifies the means. A half hour on a narrow gravel road is the price one pays to reach The Retreat. It's worth it. The rooms are comfortable- try to get one of the suites or a garden room. Being "off the grid"., on solar power, means that there is no intrusive TV, and cellphone reception is not possible. You have to relax, and enjoy the birdsong. There are a number of walks from the "homestead. We did a short ( 1 hour) walk to rock pools in the nearby river. the water was crystal clear, but icy cold. I am sure it was snowmelt from the Swartberg Mountains. These form an impressive backdrop to the beautiful valley. The meals are made with as much fresh local produce as possible- Ostrich, olives, Karroo mutton, etc. Delicious, and you are encouraged to have a second helping.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Graham C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

The Retreat is a perfect place to slow down and recharge the batteries. It is also ideally located as a base for trips over the Swartberg Pass and around Oudshoorn. The hospitality is wonderful and evening meals are shared with the company of fellow guests which generally leads to interesting conversations and anecdotes. Breakfast is served on the verandah of the main house and Marie waits until all the guests are present before feeding the local bids which gather every morning expectantly. It is a wonderful experience.

Room Tip: The two adjacent main suites are situated away from the main house. They are more expensive but defi...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Andy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2012

This Retreat is nestled amongst the foothills hills of the Swartberg mountains. This is truly a retreat away from anything urban.
The pleasure begins as you travel on the road to Groenfontein where the vegetation along the road is almost luxuriant compared to the sparseness of the open Karoo especially in winter. Pause on your journey to admire the Nels River Dam it is impressive and creates a break in your journey to Groenfontein.
I was warmly welcomed to Groenfontein by Marie who showed me to my accommodation which was one of two rooms which are separate from the main house and gave me all the privacy I could desire. Each room has a verandah which faces the magnificence of the Swartberg Mountains and the highlight of my stay was to watch the sunset, the full moon lighting up the landscape and then getting up early in the morning to witness a sky heavily studded with stars after the moon had set.
I also did the Klipspringer walk. At one point in the walk I felt like I was on top of the mountains. The view from the top is indescribable! Just mountain tops as far as the eye can see and not a sign of human invasion – you have to do it to understand!
Dinner was at a huge dining room table together with Marie, Grant and Millicent all of whom are entertaining and very attentive to their guests. It was just like visiting friends for dinner and the food was excellent. I had to leave early but I understand that breakfast takes place when the sun comes over the mountain and it is served outside under a huge tree in front of the beautiful Victorian main house overlooking a really beautiful garden – sorry I missed it.
Thanks Marie and Grant for you very warm hospitality and the pleasure of experiencing Groenfontein.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank Merle F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2012

The title of this review says it all. 'Aged' parents with young children. Stayed for 9 nights - 1 night extended because children requested. Something for everyone. We all had time out & a bit of solitude after a hectic start to the year. Superb & genuine hospitality. Walks, sleep & wonderful food. Quiet when needed. Not many places in the world like this. No organised or hective activities Thanks so much!

Room Tip: Rooms/Suites 8 & 9 more secluded, wonderful views, peaceful. Heavenly views & sleep. See the...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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Thank SEHZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Retreat at Groenfontein

Address: Groenfontein Valley, Calitzdorp 6660, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Calitzdorp
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Calitzdorp
Price Range: $60 - $160 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Retreat at Groenfontein 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This award winning destination, in a nature reserve, situated 20 kms from Calitzdorp, adjoining the Swartberg World heritage site, offers simple luxury, friendly service, and a relaxed ambiance, with delicious, wholesome meals and caters for vegetarians and food intolerances. Evenings are spent in the company of fellow guests and friendly hosts. In this haven of tranquility enjoy birding, walking trails, relaxing in the lovely gardens, at the dams, river or pool, or do day outings to attractions in the area, such as ostrich farms, Cango caves, Swartberg pass, and others. ... more   less 
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