Two weeks ago I had the absolute privilege of visiting the iconic and very beautiful Hartford House in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and at the top end of the Meander. I had been to a wedding there a few years ago so I knew I was in for a treat. I was also excited to experience the cooking of their head chef Constantijn Hahndiek.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

24 hours is not enough time to spend at Hartford House. This beautiful old colonial manor house, which evolved into a hotel, is steeped with luxury and opulence in every corner. You feel so at home with the friendly staff sort of visibly invisible attending to your every need. Located within the very famous Summerhill stud farm, you also get to see the perfect horses roaming around.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

I stayed in Siyabonga – meaning ‘thank you’ in Zulu, and it’s one of their newer suites located next to the lake. Decorated with African touches and build from material from the farm, it’s quite beautiful and extremely spacious. Under floor heating, a built in fireplace, flat screen TV and a twin marble baths if you wanted a very romantic scene, it’s no wonder I felt like royalty staying there.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Constantijn took me for a stroll through their vegetable garden at sunset as he picked the final few items to go on our menu that evening which was a spectacular 5-course with paired wine. With carefully sourced ingredients from superb local suppliers, I was very impressed.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

This what it looked like:

Brie Brule’, Hartford green figs, fig leaf dressing, oat crumb

Natal Snoek, poached mussels, garden lemon grass, tapioca, artichoke

Oven roast duck, sweet potato, quince, duck crumb

Cannon of lamb, rainbow beets, coffee emulsion

Cammomile, milk and honey dessert

 

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

The following morning Constantijn gave me a tour of all areas of the kitchen and spoke about his process in menu planning, which literally changes daily. I love food creatives who are so closely connected to their ingredients and constantly evolve. I’ll be keeping a close eye on where this young chef goes. He is definitely someone to keep an eye out for.

I landed up visiting one of his suppliers – The Gourmet Greek later that day and I will tell you all about my time there in a later post.

As I drove out of the splendid gates of Hartford House I was immediately hoping I would return again. It’s the kind of place that does that to you. It stays with you.Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House is an award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

*I was invited as a guest of Hartford House

Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. Gilly Bowers

    Gorgeous photos, as ever……Thank you Sam.
    We stayed there several years ago….In that very room you have featured, if it it by the Lake.
    They were very new then, I think there were three Lake Suits built.
    Gorgeous retreat………Stud Farm, Summer Hill? next door definitely worth a visit for a spot of Bucollic beauty and serenity. Stunning horses.
    Love this article.

  2. stunning have always wanted to go there…going to Durban for Amashova which is our first anniversary weekend, so have just emailed them to find out rates!

  3. It looks glorious! Thanks for the stunning photos!

  4. Stunning post Sammie and gorgeous pics! I have only visited and never stayed but its one of those places where you just feel at home as soon as your enter those gates!

  5. Sam

    Thanks Gilly yes it was at the lake and the property is part of Summerhill stud.

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