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Reviewed 27 July 2017

So very disappointing. No five roses tea? I asked in the main house for a cup of five roses tea on our arrival, I was shown to the tea house in the garden, only to walk there to be told that they only have perfumed tea from Singapore. No offer of service. Take it or leave it. Cob webs in a few places in our room and a huge cob web on the main window alongside the bed. A spider in the ruffled tissue box. The pattern of the unlined curtain facing the car park, with the seams and back of the unlined curtain facing the bed. (Curtain hung the incorrect way round). Stuffy, smelly room from the well-used fireplace. No air conditioner, no fan. Bamboo blinds on windows, which rattle in a slight breeze. Full clear window in the bathroom. A toilet with a view and a view of the toilet to all who pass by or park their cars, should one forget to close the bamboo blind. Taking 3 hours to serve a meal was not enjoyable. Wine pairing was questionable and would not recommend. A good effort at food presentation, which used strong smelling, white glue, to glue a round wooden varnished board with holes drilled into it, onto a soup plate. Dry ice was placed beneath the board. The board was glued onto each patrons plate with food served on top of the piece of wood, which looked stunning as the dry ice floated out of the holes in the board. One wonders how this adds up to health and safety regulations, with regards to food establishments. Is this actual varnish painted on the board and is it in fact, safe to serve food on and to eat off? Is the very strong smelling glue non-toxic? We were not offered an evaluation form to complete to share our opinion of our stay and neither were we asked whether we had enjoyed our stay. It is indeed a shame that such a grand, historical establishment has management and staff who just assume complacency.

Room Tip: Take a day drive and enjoy the grounds and have lunch.
  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank anne m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Duncan B, Manager at Hartford House, responded to this reviewResponded 28 July 2017

Dear Anne

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us and for your detailed concerns. I am deeply sad that your experience was not up to scratch and have to assure you that we are doing everything to rectify the issues listed in your review.

I will make contact with you soon to discuss further.

Warmest regards


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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2017

If you are traveling to Natal, please don't miss Hartford House, make it one of your must do's. This beautiful country house hotel is set in the rolling green foot hills of the Drakensberg, the setting is incredible, the gardens are the best you will see in South Africa, the scent of roses will fill your nostrils, and the scent from the kitchen will delight you! The hotel is beautifully run, and the Manager Duncan cannot do enough to ensure you are spoilt. The Chef is incredible, the meals we enjoyed on the veranda were sublime. Throw a line in the dams alive with Trout, and watch the beautiful horses trotting around the paddocks whilst you fish. Hartford is a must do!

Room Tip: The rooms overlooking the lake are gorgeous
  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank wayne020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Duncan B, General Manager at Hartford House, responded to this reviewResponded 25 July 2017

Dear Wayne

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us on your recent stay at Hartford. We are thrilled that you had a wonderful time here. We are so looking forward to your next visit.

As always warmest regards
Duncan

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Reviewed 21 May 2017

We stayed at Hartford House in December 2016, just before Christmas. As a Christmas treat, my wife and I brought my parents and my mother-in-law to the Midlands for a quick holiday and so we booked three rooms. We did however arrive in the middle of a heat wave. It was at least 35 degC and with the humidity, it felt like over 40 degC. So imagine our horror when we realized one of the rooms didn’t have air conditioning. To be fair, I think that the Midlands are more prone to cold weather than hot, nonetheless, in the heat that we experienced it felt impossible to stay in the room we had booked. Now – I should acknowledge that Hartford House has an excellent website where a description of each room is given, so I should’ve known that there was no air conditioning. I was just surprised that they didn’t have any portable units for use in exactly these situations. However, the staff were amazing, and they changed the non-air conditioned room into a lakeside suite which being next to the water was cooler and had huge windows which could be opened to get the temperature down. And now would be a good time to mention that each of Hartford House’s rooms are individually decorated with different amenities, making each one a unique experience.
The food was exceptional, with the menu changing each day according to the fresh and local ingredients available. We experienced breakfast, lunch and dinner at Hartford House, and each meal was completely faultless, with really interesting and exciting flavour combinations that make for a unique dining experience.
The surroundings are also amazing. Hartford House is located on a working horse farm, so there is the opportunity to see prize winning breeding stallions and their offspring. This also means that Hartford House is surrounded by rolling green hills, dotted with horses and cattle which make for a true country experience. Closer to the rooms are beautiful gardens, which in summer are a riot of colour with roses, hydrangeas and much, much more all in flower. All in all, we had a wonderful experience at Hartford House.

  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Nick57519
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Duncan B, General Manager at Hartford House, responded to this reviewResponded 22 June 2017

Dear Nick

Thank you so much for your note, we are thrilled that you took the time to write to us. We value your feedback on the cooling systems and we have since taken steps to ensure we have the appropriate equipment in place.

Thank you also for your wonderful feedback on the food and the estate surroundings.

We do hope you will visit us again soon as we look forward to welcoming you back to Hartford.

Warmest regards

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Reviewed 8 May 2017 via mobile

Hartford House is indeed almost a national treasure. The food, service and ambience is something to behold. However, that is only a part of the story. It is the old world charm and elegance that belies the opulence and stateliness of the grand house and its beautiful contents.
The dishes served will never leave the mind. They are one of a kind. As is the wine offering available.
All of this is complimented by the highest class of service in the land...trained, dedicated and understanding staff.
A place of rare quality and beauty...
Thank you to Duncan, Kevin & Sibonela for your contribution in making the visit and unforgettable one.

Stayed: May 2017, travelled with family
Thank PatSymcox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Duncan B, General Manager at Hartford House, responded to this reviewResponded 22 June 2017

Dear Pat

Thank you for taking the time to review your experience at Hartford. We are thrilled and our teams gain such inspiration from this.

We hope you are able to visit soon again.

As always warmest regards

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Reviewed 7 May 2017

We had stayed at Hartford House some years ago in a Verandah Suite and were enchanted by the place, service and food. We looked forward to our new stay.

We had booked about 7 months in advance requesting a cheaper Verandah Suite. We received a mail back saying 'Unfortunately all other rooms in the hotel are booked and we only have the lakeside suites available'. The Lakeside suites are considerably more expensive - in fact the most expensive in the hotel. I thought this strange so far in advance but having no choice went ahead with the booking. The booking clerk added 'We serve a set 5 course menu in the evening for dinner – the cost of dinner is currently R575.00pp' (this has increased in price). A set 5 course dinner was not what we wanted but we thought if thats the situation then so be it.

Imagine our surprise when we and our two friends arrived late on a Sunday afternoon to find the whole place empty! It transpired we were the only people at the hotel staying that night. So what was the story about all the hotel rooms all being booked?

Anyway, our room for one night on the lake was very pleasant albeit huge and expensive - R4460. One odd thing - the bathroom had a shower plus two baths! So later we arrive for dinner - just the four of us. A little unnerving with no atmosphere and lacking in ambiance. We were told about the 5 course meal by female staff who were not exactly friendly but after drinks off we go.

Later the chef came to chat and explain the courses. Obviously he had put alot of effort into dinner. The food was OK but quite honestly complicated food is not really our thing. But what really surprised us was his comment that if we had wanted he could have prepared a simple meal of steak & chips. This annoyed us as we got the impression that we were seduced into having a complicated expensive meal which we didn't really want. And no options were discussed prior to dinner or check in by the staff. Breakfast was good.

What with the expensive suite and meal, neither of which was first prize, we came away from our stay at Hartford House disappointed. Nothing like our first visit years ago.

  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank lynton1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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