Hartford House

Location: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Natal Midlands » Central Drakensberg » Mooi River

Hartford House, accommodation in Mooi River Kwazulu Natal

5 Star
Name of hostsHartford House
Tel:+27 (0)33 263 2713
Emailinfo@hartford.co.za
Webwww.hartford.co.za

Hartford House
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Description

Home to the family of the last prime minister of the Colony of Natal, Hartford House is situated on South Africa’s most famous thoroughbred farm near Giant’s Castle. Chosen by the Rulers of Dubai as the location for their priceless stallions, the “gem of the Midlands” is remembered by chroniclers as one of the country’s most beautiful homes, with its award-winning gardens and acclaimed fine dining.

Renowned for its location on one of the world’s most enchanting estates, as well as its proximity to the Midlands Meander, Weenen and Drakensberg game and mountain reserves and Boschhoek Golf Estate, Hartford is revered by travellers as the home of good conversation, old whiskey and classic horses.

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.

Hartford House: Home to the family of the last Prime Minister of the Colony of Natal, Hartford House is situated on South Africa?s most famous Thoroughbred farm near Giant?s Castle. Chosen by the Rulers of Dubai as the location for their priceless stallions, the ?gem of the Midlands? is remembered by chroniclers as one of the country?s most beautiful homes, with its award-winning gardens and acclaimed fine dining.

Renowned for its stud tours and trout fishing as well as its proximity to the Midland?s Meander, Weenen and Drakensberg Game and Mountain reserves and Boschhoek Golf Estate, Hartford is the home of Good Conversation, Old Whiskey and Classic Horses.

The sheer majesty of Zululand will take your breath away. Under the piercing African sun, the blue Indian Ocean gives way to rolling green hills and indigenous forests which shimmer in the distance before they reach the Drakensberg Mountains.

To celebrate this diversity a beauty, a selection of exceptional, historically-significant properties, has joined in presenting a collection of destinations providing a remarkable experience. All the properties steeped in history, and embrace a culture of impeccable hospitality based in true Zulu tradition. Come and enjoy the relaxing accommodation of a world class spa, an internationally acclaimed stud farm, go on safari in a big 5 private game reserve or unwind on a remotely pristine beach: all within easy commuting distance in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa's garden province.

A journey through the Land of Legends provides the traveller with a genuine insight into the culture, history, wildlife and cuisine of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the mystery of the ancient scenic Kingdom of the Zulu, resting in its battlefields, berg, bush and beach encounters. It is probably this “Zulu experience” which will linger in your mind long after you have left Zululand. It will be the warm authentic hospitality and engaging smile that you will encounter at a “Land of Legends” property that will draw you back again and again.

Embracing two of only four of southern Africa's world heritage sites, from the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains to the Indian Ocean these properties represent standards of excellence in food, accommodation and service that have become the benchmark for KwaZulu-Natal and are comparable to the best in the world.

Our goal is simple. To enrich guests with an unforgettable experience powered by our knowledge, dedication and commitment to the Land of Legends.

Land of Legends is a selection of hand picked luxurious retreats, set in the heart of KwaZulu Natal’s unique and fascinating heritage. Not only do these properties provide unparalleled guest experiences, but do so responsibly. The Land of Legends partners aim to ensure that local communities benefit from tourism to the area and that tourism brings with it the lightest of footprints.

Did you know? Collectively the Land of Legends:

  • conserves and protects 44 300 ha of wilderness areas.
  • provides employment to nearly 1000 people from neighbouring communities, bringing much needed income and skills to the area with each person supporting approximately 10 others.

Some of our green initiatives…

Hartford House is part of a collective 7,000 hectare nature conservancy and the Summerhill enclave is a renowned organic farm, where the use of anything but natural product is forbidden in its farming and animal husbandry practice. It’s home to a population of more than 500 people, all of whom are keenly attuned to the need to ensure the lightest of footprints. Already, besides and extensive programme of recycling and composting, it has implemented a regimen involving the preservation of its wild places and its wild friends as well as water, and it is increasingly moving towards the use of solar heating and responsible waste management.

In the collective Hartford House and Summerhill entities, no fewer than 32 international scholarships have been awarded to its previously disadvantaged staff members, including two of the Hartford young chefs, who have represented South Africa at world culinary exhibitions abroad. The end of September witnesses the departure of another 45 members of a dance troupe for the USA, where they will be looking to improve upon their second and third placings in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

&Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve conserves seven distinct habitats and offers a luxurious, exclusive Big 5 Game experience. Phinda has pioneered great advances in conservation through numerous research projects conducted on the reserve, including, amongst others: lion reintroduction, elephant population control research, leopard monitoring and participation in the endangered black rhino range expansion project.

Phinda, together with their social development partner, Africa Foundation have greatly impacted the neighbouring communities through numerous education, skills development and health care initiatives. They have facilitated the building of 90 classrooms and have provided more than 91 tertiary education bursaries. Together with NOAH, Africa Foundation has opened the Ark at Nkomo, providing orphaned and vulnerable children with nutritional support and an aftercare facility.

Safari & Adventure Co.’s Rocktail Beach Camp is situated within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site. The Camp is located in the coastal forest, and boasts access to pristine beaches, indigenous forests and fascinating marine adventures including snorkelling and diving. The camp has a strong association with the Mqobela and Mpukane communities. The latest joint venture between Safari & Adventure Co. and these communities is Gugulesizwe, a replica of a typical Zulu homestead. Gugulesizwe offers catered overnight facilities in traditional bee-hive huts and activities such as quad-biking and horse riding. On the conservation side, Rocktail Beach Camp is involved in a research project focussing on the globally threatened Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles that nest on its beaches.
Fordoun is situated on a working farm within 5 minutes of the national highway in the KZN Midlands. The property has donated some 150 hectares of it’s natural veld and wetlands to the Crane Foundation. A major project which is supported by Fordoun is The Wattled Crane Recovery Program. Wattled Crane eggs are incubated, chicks are reared and rehabilitated to the wild. The current population of Wattled Cranes is endangered (240 in KwaZulu Natal) so this program will play a major role in reversing the decline of the species.

With Traditional doctor Elliot Ndlovu, Fordoun has a subsidiary company which propagates and researches traditional indigenous healing plants. Many of these plants are endangered due to non sustainable harvesting from the wild. At Fordoun there is an indigenous garden with over 140 different species on display. Promising plants with economical potential are slipped and planted out on the farm agricultural lands. These plants are used as key ingredients in the Ndlovu range of Spa and retail products. Other plants are processed into teas, coffee and herbs on the restaurant menu. The project has exciting prospects in plants which have been identified as having high potential essential oil qualities and yields. 90% of water at Fordoun is recycled. The hotel and spa are 30% solar powered (installed 2009) and this initiative will expand yearly.

 Accommodation

Renowned for its fourteen incomparably-styled luxury suites with underfloor heating, heated towel rails and generous bathrooms. All suites are uniquely decorated with a fusion of colour, style and texture and are equipped with a telephone, TV (with M-Net and satellite channels) and a mini bar.

Perfectly positioned on a picturesque trout lake. Uninterrupted views of the lake and a section of the farm. Each uniquely built and decorated with their own character and charm. This is the ultimate in luxury and relaxation.

MBULELO (Thanksgiving) - Suite 13

One of the “eco” suites making up Hartford’s Ezulweni (“in the heavens”) collection, Mbulelo was fashioned almost entirely from locally sourced materials. The mud bricks were harvested from the clay foundations on the site on which the suite stands today, mixed with horse dung and shredded horse bedding, and then sun-baked (as opposed to “kiln” baked) for the purpose. Almost all the timber, as well as the stone and slate, has come from the estate itself or its immediate environs, while the doors and shutters were imported by Cheryl Goss from India while she was busy remodelling what is now Lynton Hall, where the furnishings echo that property’s colonial past, and its association with indentured Indian labour.

INKANYEZI (Morning Star) - Suite 14
The word Inkanyezi means the first or the evening star in Zulu, and this suite was christened in that calling by the Zulus who built it. Most of our Zulu staff come from rural environs, and almost all of them have grown up in rondavels built of mud. Yet those that were engaged in building Inkanyezi marvelled that people of European descent should be building with materials of mud, timber and thatch, while most of our African brethren these days have embraced the materials used by Europeans.

SIYABONGA (Thank You) - Suite 15
In Zulu the word Siyabonga means “we are grateful” or “give thanks to”, and this suite is part of the Ezulweni (meaning “in the heavens”) eco extension to Hartford’s own colonial styled origins. The suite was named that way by our Zulu building team once complete, as much echoing their own relief at having accomplished what was for them in the nature of something unique in architectural style, as it was for the natural beauty and ambience which the suite exudes.

 NHLANHLA (Good Luck) - Suite 16
Nhlanhla is one of the Zulu language’s most wonderful words. It really means “good luck”, but it also conjures good fortune, happiness, largesse and all the warm feelings we get when life is kind to us. Dubbed Nhlanhla by the Zulus who brighten our lives every day at Hartford, the name recalls the feelings of our team when they first saw Nhlanhla in its finished form. The suite radiates nature, the colours of our environment, warmth and originality, and as much as anything is a signal example of what the creative spirit can achieve from modest, locally sourced materials. The majority of the materials used in the erection of Nhlanhla were harvested off the greater Summerhill and Hartford estates, and where this was not possible, from our immediate environs.

 MAIN HOUSE SUITES


MOOR - Suite 1
Named for the Moor family, who occupied Hartford from 1875 to 1937, and in particular the two brothers, John and Frederick. John Moor was the member of parliament for Weenen County in the old Natal Colonial government, as well as a Senator in the first South African government, and was responsible for most of the development at Hartford. His brother, Sir Frederick, was the last prime minister of the Colony of Natal prior to Union. He was the only man to emerge from the Union talks in 1908 with a knighthood, for his efforts in bringing about what we know today as the Republic of South Africa.

GOSSLING - Suite 3
Most recently occupied by Mick and Cheryl Goss’ youngest son, Nicholas, this suite’s most famous resident from the past was Mrs. Bridget Oppenheimer, the first lady of South African racing, and arguably the First Lady of South African society for decades as the wife of the late, great Harry Oppenheimer.

ELLIS - Suite 4
This suite is named for the Ellis family, who occupied the Hartford property from 1939 to 1990, when they exchanged the property with the Goss family for their home in Hillcrest near Durban. Raymond Ellis snr. was a property developer in Durban, and owned much of what is now known as Durban North. He was also a prominent hotelier, remembered for his proprietorship of the Fairhaven and Rydal Mount Hotels on Durban’s Golden Mile, as well as being the founder of what is today South Africa’s biggest brick-making business, Corobrick. Hartford was the Ellis country retreat, and they started breeding racehorses here in 1941.

VERANDAH DOUBLE SUITES

St Pauls
Suite 5

Named for St Paul’s Cathedral in London shortly after the Battle of Britain, the diminutive equine version, St Pauls, remains the smallest winner of Africa’s most famous horserace, the Durban July Handicap. He was the property of Pat Goss snr, grandfather of Mick Goss, whose family is the current custodian of Hartford House and its rich legacy.

 


Mowgli
Suite 8

This suite was part of the original stables built by Italian prisoners of war in 1941, some two years after the Ellis family had acquired Hartford. It is named for one of the greatest and most courageous horses ever to look through a bridle, Mowgli, who was voted in the year 2000 as the best racehorse in South African history, ahead of the legendary likes of Sea Cottage, Colorado King, Hawaii and Horse Chestnut.


VERANDAH TWIN SUITES
Sentinel
Suite 6


This suite is named after one of the greatest racehorses in South African history, Sentinel. In an age when six to ten victories would often be sufficient to proclaim a champion, Sentinel won 30 races, carrying welter burdens to victory against some of the most famous horses in South African history. He is remembered principally for his rivalry with the immortal In Full Flight, and his dead heat with this revered animal in the Cape of Good Hope Guineas (Gr.1).

Preston Pan
Suite 7


The Ellis family founded their famous racing dynasty at Hartford in 1940 and, among several unique installations of their time, at the foot of the farm they built the longest herringbone-drained racetrack in the world, from whence they trained the winners of every major race on the South African calendar.


A C C O M M O D A T I O N

Renowned for its fourteen incomparably-styled luxury suites with underfloor heating, heated towel rails and generous bathrooms. All suites are uniquely decorated with a fusion of colour, style and texture and are equipped with a telephone, TV (with M-Net and satellite channels) and a mini bar.


LAKESIDE SUITES - EZULWENI

Perfectly positioned on a picturesque trout lake. Uninterrupted views of the lake and a section of the farm. Each uniquely built and decorated with their own character and charm. This is the ultimate in luxury and relaxation.



MBULELO (Thanksgiving) - Suite 13

One of the “eco” suites making up Hartford’s Ezulweni (“in the heavens”) collection, Mbulelo was fashioned almost entirely from locally sourced materials. The mud bricks were harvested from the clay foundations on the site on which the suite stands today, mixed with horse dung and shredded horse bedding, and then sun-baked (as opposed to “kiln” baked) for the purpose. Almost all the timber, as well as the stone and slate, has come from the estate itself or its immediate environs, while the doors and shutters were imported by Cheryl Goss from India while she was busy remodelling what is now Lynton Hall, where the furnishings echo that property’s colonial past, and its association with indentured Indian labour.
[ Click To View Suite ]

 



INKANYEZI (Morning Star) - Suite 14
The word Inkanyezi means the first or the evening star in Zulu, and this suite was christened in that calling by the Zulus who built it. Most of our Zulu staff come from rural environs, and almost all of them have grown up in rondavels built of mud. Yet those that were engaged in building Inkanyezi marvelled that people of European descent should be building with materials of mud, timber and thatch, while most of our African brethren these days have embraced the materials used by Europeans.
[ Click To View Suite ]
 


SIYABONGA (Thank You) - Suite 15
In Zulu the word Siyabonga means “we are grateful” or “give thanks to”, and this suite is part of the Ezulweni (meaning “in the heavens”) eco extension to Hartford’s own colonial styled origins. The suite was named that way by our Zulu building team once complete, as much echoing their own relief at having accomplished what was for them in the nature of something unique in architectural style, as it was for the natural beauty and ambience which the suite exudes.
[ Click To View Suite ]
 


NHLANHLA (Good Luck) - Suite 16
Nhlanhla is one of the Zulu language’s most wonderful words. It really means “good luck”, but it also conjures good fortune, happiness, largesse and all the warm feelings we get when life is kind to us. Dubbed Nhlanhla by the Zulus who brighten our lives every day at Hartford, the name recalls the feelings of our team when they first saw Nhlanhla in its finished form. The suite radiates nature, the colours of our environment, warmth and originality, and as much as anything is a signal example of what the creative spirit can achieve from modest, locally sourced materials. The majority of the materials used in the erection of Nhlanhla were harvested off the greater Summerhill and Hartford estates, and where this was not possible, from our immediate environs.

 


MAIN HOUSE SUITES


MOOR - Suite 1
Named for the Moor family, who occupied Hartford from 1875 to 1937, and in particular the two brothers, John and Frederick. John Moor was the member of parliament for Weenen County in the old Natal Colonial government, as well as a Senator in the first South African government, and was responsible for most of the development at Hartford. His brother, Sir Frederick, was the last prime minister of the Colony of Natal prior to Union. He was the only man to emerge from the Union talks in 1908 with a knighthood, for his efforts in bringing about what we know today as the Republic of South Africa.

 


GOSSLING - Suite 3
Most recently occupied by Mick and Cheryl Goss’ youngest son, Nicholas, this suite’s most famous resident from the past was Mrs. Bridget Oppenheimer, the first lady of South African racing, and arguably the First Lady of South African society for decades as the wife of the late, great Harry Oppenheimer.
[ Click To View Suite ]
 


ELLIS - Suite 4

This suite is named for the Ellis family, who occupied the Hartford property from 1939 to 1990, when they exchanged the property with the Goss family for their home in Hillcrest near Durban. Raymond Ellis snr. was a property developer in Durban, and owned much of what is now known as Durban North. He was also a prominent hotelier, remembered for his proprietorship of the Fairhaven and Rydal Mount Hotels on Durban’s Golden Mile, as well as being the founder of what is today South Africa’s biggest brick-making business, Corobrick. Hartford was the Ellis country retreat, and they started breeding racehorses here in 1941.

 



VERANDAH DOUBLE SUITES

St Pauls
Suite 5

Named for St Paul’s Cathedral in London shortly after the Battle of Britain, the diminutive equine version, St Pauls, remains the smallest winner of Africa’s most famous horserace, the Durban July Handicap. He was the property of Pat Goss snr, grandfather of Mick Goss, whose family is the current custodian of Hartford House and its rich legacy.

 


Mowgli
Suite 8

This suite was part of the original stables built by Italian prisoners of war in 1941, some two years after the Ellis family had acquired Hartford. It is named for one of the greatest and most courageous horses ever to look through a bridle, Mowgli, who was voted in the year 2000 as the best racehorse in South African history, ahead of the legendary likes of Sea Cottage, Colorado King, Hawaii and Horse Chestnut.

 


VERANDAH TWIN SUITES

Sentinel
Suite 6


This suite is named after one of the greatest racehorses in South African history, Sentinel. In an age when six to ten victories would often be sufficient to proclaim a champion, Sentinel won 30 races, carrying welter burdens to victory against some of the most famous horses in South African history. He is remembered principally for his rivalry with the immortal In Full Flight, and his dead heat with this revered animal in the Cape of Good Hope Guineas (Gr.1).

Preston Pan
Suite 7


The Ellis family founded their famous racing dynasty at Hartford in 1940 and, among several unique installations of their time, at the foot of the farm they built the longest herringbone-drained racetrack in the world, from whence they trained the winners of every major race on the South African calendar.

 

 


GARDEN SUITES
Alyssum
Suite 9


Originally known as the Garden suite, Alyssum and its neighbour were the first attempt by our previously unskilled Zulus at building with bricks and mortar. A fine effort, we’re sure you’ll concede.

Heliotrope
Suite 10


Originally known as the Garden suite, Heliotrope and its neighbour were the first attempt by our previously unskilled Zulus at building with bricks and mortar. A fine effort, we’re sure you’ll concede.

 

POOL SUITES
Emanzini
Suite 11


We are blessed on our farms with an abundance of water, with numerous underground springs spread across the length and breadth of the property. The word Emanzini means “at the waterside” in Zulu, and this suite takes its name from its proximity to the swimming pool, the Wellness Centre and the springs. . “The Springs” was also the name of the farm in East Griqualand on which Pat Goss snr. founded his renowned racehorse breeding enterprise in the 1930’s.

Emtonjeni
Suite 12


The word Emtonjeni means “at the springs” in Zulu, and this suite takes its name from its proximity to the swimming pool, and the springs. “The Springs” was also the name of the farm in East Griqualand on which Pat Goss snr. founded his renowned racehorse breeding enterprise in the 1930’s.

Attractions

  • We are in close proximity to the world-renowned Drakensberg Boys' Choir (advance booking advised).     
  • Easy access to Anglo-Zulu and Boer War battlefields, and the capture sites of Nelson Mandela and Sir Winston Churchill
  • Mountain game and nature reserves
  • Excellent Bushman paintings and artifacts
  • Midland’s Meander : Assortment of arts and crafts, pubs and restaurants
  • Golf and squash : Boschhoek and Mooi River Country Club
  • Enchanting birding and fishing country
  • Picturesque Drakensberg drives and picnicking
  • Close proximity to major schools and colleges: Hilton, Michaelhouse, Treverton, Clifton, Kings, St Annes, Cowan House, Weston etc…
  • Hot air ballooning (by arrangement)
  • Karkloof Canopy Tours (by arrangement)
  • Helicopter flights (by arrangement)
  • Clay pigeon shooting (by arrangement)
  • Day trips to Clarens, the artists' capital of South Africa, and the Golden Gate National Park
  • Easy access from major cities and airports (just four hours from OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg and 90 minutes from Durban International Airport)

Wellness Centre

DEAD SEA MUD WRAP

A treasure trove of natural ingredients formulated in the ancient mineral-rich basin of the Dead Sea, renowned for its curative powers. The mud and the waters of the Dead Sea contain the highest concentration of minerals in the world. These elements ensure the maintenance of a healthy system and do wonders for the skin. Includes foot and scalp massage.

45 min



FACIAL: ESSE 100% ORGANIC

Deeply nourishing facial contains no synthetic compounds or preservatives.
An extensive range of indigenous medicinal plants have been used in the Esse Range.

45 min



RE-ENERGISING AROMA TONIC : BODY EXFOLIATION*

Frankincense: Has for thousands of years been believed to elevate the mind to the threshold of the spiritual world . Ginger: Known in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for its warming, revitalising properties.
Sandalwood: Sacred in India and Tibet, said to embody the radiance of the gods , this deeply relaxing oil soothes stress by acting as a tonic which decongests the circulatory system.
Patchouli: Believed to bring about a meditative state of relaxation. Well known for its special skin healing properties.
*Followed by an oil application blended with the above essentials

45 min



ENERG Y MEDICINE

Reiki: This is a Japanese technique that promotes healing on a mental, physical and emotional level. Hand placements on the body or around the parameters (perimeters?) of the energy fields promotes the flow of vital energies.

1 hr



BIO ENERGY REBALANCING

This is a holistic treatment which considers mind / body / spirit to be an integrated whole. It works to rebalance any disharmony between body and mind by restoring the balance within the human energy field.

1 hr



ENERGY BALANCING CHAKRA LAYOUT

Crystals are placed on the major energy centres of the body. These crystal hold very specific energetic frequencies which correspond to the bodies centre / organ. Blocked / compromised energy is released and the vital energy flows through attunement to the individual frequencies of the crystals. A pressure point food massage is included.

45 min



AROMATHERAPY

This massage uses essential oils from plants to heal, alleviate pain and regulate the mood. Light pressure optional.

1 hr



SWEDISH

A firm pressured massage improves circulation, eases muscle aches and tension; it improves flexibility and is deeply relaxing. Includes warming aroma oils.

 1 hr



LYMPH DRAINAGE MASSAGE

This massage uses rhythmic, light strokes along the lymphatic vessels and surrounding tissues to . a very good detoxing massage.

1 hr



ZONE THERAPY / REFLEXOLOGY

The practice of massaging and applying pressure to specific points on the feet. This modality encourages a beneficial effect on other parts of the body to improve general health.

45 min



CHAMPISSAGE / INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE

An alternative medicine massage therapy in which the head, neck and face are massaged with the purpose of manipulating energy channels. The treatment clears blockages in these channels, relieving stress, aches and pains, as well as hair loss.

30 mins



DEEP TISSUE / SPORTS MASSAGE

Drains away fatigue, relieves swelling, reduces muscle tension and promotes flexibility.

1 hr



HOT STONE MASSAGE

Healed Basalt Stones are placed on key energy centers / organs to liberate the flow of energy within these systems. The body is massaged with the stones.

1 hr



AROMA HOT CLAY MASSAGE

Hot clay infused with essential oils of your choice. This soothing massage also has a warming, re-mineralising and detoxing effect on the body.

1 hr



BACK CLEANSE MASSAGE

Cleanse, steam, exfoliate, mask and back massage. The feet are massaged while masking.

45 min

Directions

Whether approaching from the Johannesburg or Durban directions, follow the N3 highway to Mooi River. Take the Mooi River off-ramp from the N3. Follow the Giant?s Castle / Hartford House / Summerhill Stud signs through the village to the west in the direction of the Drakensberg. Approximately 2kms from the outskirts of the village, turn left onto the Hlatikulu Road. Travel 5km passing both entrances to Summerhill Stud before the right turn to Hartford House. Follow the Hotel signs for 1,2km to Hartford House.

Location

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