Home to the family of the last prime minister of the Colony of Natal, Hartford House in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands is a very special place indeed. Not only because of its unsurpassed luxury, magnificent surroundings, sumptuous dÃ©cor and attentive staff with great attention to detail in food, service and generally making your visit perfect in every way, but because it is a unique hotel in many ways.
A hotel situtated on Summerhill Stud Farm
Just outside Mooi River, on the way to Giantâ??s Castle, Hartford House is situated on South Africaâ??s most famous thoroughbred farm. (The rulers of Dubai keep their priceless stallions there.) Just a short stroll down down the gravel pathways, past formally landscaped and manicured gardens, are paddocks where future racing champions graze…
Recently, we took a drive to Hartford House to show its splendours to some visiting relatives, but I first discovered Hartford House a couple of years ago, when I was invited to a small, exclusive wedding there. It will forever live on in my memory not only as one of the best weddings Iâ??ve been to, but also the best lunch Iâ??ve ever had.
The best lunch I’ve ever had
A long table on the colonial verandah was set for 16, and after champagne and classical music provided by a string quartet around a fountain, we sat down to dine in style. Each course was a culinary masterpiece â?? beautiful to look at and fabulous to taste. The wines were carefully chosen to match the flavours of the food and the unhurried atmosphere was perhaps the best part of all.
We sat looking out over the beautiful gardens, and witnessed the heat breaking in the form of a spectacular late afternoon thunderstorm. The chandeliers glittered, illuminating the priceless treasures scattered about the inside lounges and life in Africa was good, even if we could only afford to luxuriate in it for a short while.
Hartford House is a place for pampering
Every suite at Hartford House is individually decorated and there is a wellness centre near the pool for relaxing and pampering. The tiny chapel is a most romantic place to get married and the staff at Hartford House will ensure that whether you are staying in the honeymoon suite, or just visiting for lunch, that you will be made to feel as special as your surroundings. After all, good conversation, old whiskey and classic horses are what Hartford House is revered for…. Hartford House holds the distinction of being a Gold Achiever at Indaba, the international travel show, alongside The Mount Nelson, The Marine, Cellars – Hohenhort, The Cape Grace, Mala Mala and Singita, among others. For more information, go to www.hartford.co.za