Travellers in the UK and 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 homes are very grand but yet always convey a feeling of wellbeing, 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 complemented 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 farmhouse 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 breathtaking views of the distant mountains. Over these acres, you can ride, mountain bike, quad bike, 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 Review
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