Travellers in the UK and in Europe are very familiar with the country house hotel. Old family manor houses or estates which have either been sold or still managed by their original families and converted into luxury hotels. Some of these houses are very grand but yet still convey a feeling of wellbeing, of permanence and intimacy. In South Africa, this type of accommodation is rare indeed. So it was with some anticipation that my daughters and I visited the Kurland Hotel just outside Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route.
Owned for several generations by the Behr family, this old farm estate has an international reputation. Twelve large but cosy rooms flank the original farmstead in a horseshoe shape. The style is English manor house mixed with African elements interspersed with original family portraits and photographs. It is a happy mix which works well and is complimented by attentive and considerate staff.
You will not go hungry at Kurland. My eldest daughter Olivia thought it the best food she has eaten in South Africa and a sixteen year old, well-travelled teenager is not the easiest customer. You have a choice of two restaurants, one in the original farm house and a more relaxed venue, Katarina’s, in a converted barn. Both are excellent and offer well-made but unpretentious dishes.
The farmstead is at the heart of a large estate. It contains an international centre of some standing for polo with breath taking views of the distant mountains. Over these acres, you can ride, mountain bike, quadbike, jog or do very little indeed in a most relaxed way. I would recommend staying at least three days with your lover or your family. Neither would complain.
Kurland Hotel on Uyaphi; http://www.uyaphi.com/south-africa/lodges/kurland.htm
Kurland Hotel Review by Nicolas Edwards