Around two hours’ drive west along the N2 highway is another jewel of the Garden Route in the form of the Kurland Hotel, a five-star property and proud member of the Relais & Chateaux Association which sits near to Nature Valley Beach and around 20 km from Plettenberg Bay.
Opened twelve years ago by Founder Peter Behr, the family-orientated Kurland Hotel, which is famous for its roses and abundance of fragrant flowers, sits on a 700 hectare (1,700 acre) private estate. Twelve luxurious suites within standalone colonial style buildings form the accommodation, which are set against a backdrop of stunning grounds and sweeping hills, therefore pampering its guests with a truly magical setting. The interior décor has largely been sourced from heirlooms and objets d’art discovered at international fairs such as the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in the Italian city of Milan, and therefore each suite takes on a distinct feel.
We stayed in one of the two exclusive 75m2 Superior Paddock Suites which are located away from the beautifully manicured gardens meaning that you can enjoy a more quiet and private experience. The Paddock Suites are at the top end of the Kurland’s offering (expect to pay around 3,200 Rand (£235) per person sharing bed and breakfast in high season) and includes a separate loft area accessible via an internal staircase which hosts a further bedroom and second en-suite bathroom suitable for children or an au-pair.
The main and very spacious bedroom is filled with a plethora of floral-themed furnishings which creates a sanctuary of comfort. These are namely a chaise longue complete with down-filled cushions, a king size bed made up of crisp white sheets, a sofa and writing desk, as well as an LCD TV. The cosy ambiance of the Paddock Suite is further reinforced with an open fireplace making it very easy to simply drift off to sleep accompanied by the crackling of the flames and the peacefulness of the environment. Large wooden terrace doors open up on to a small private swimming pool and secluded seating area which gives the perfect platform for guests to absorb the magnificence of the surrounding landscape.
When staying at the Kurland, there are two eateries within the grounds. The first is the à la carte restaurant which is an outstanding example of the very best of South African food. This is prepared by the property’s celebrated Executive Chef Leon Coetzee who uses the finest organic herbs and vegetables grown on-site. We tried the creamy baby marrow and basil soup followed by a herb linguine with aubergine, pine nuts and confit tomato. The other can be found in a 100-year old building by the name of Katarina’s, an 80-cover bistro restaurant which provides a more informal ambiance where the terrace lies adjacent to one of the estate’s four polo fields.
Come the morning, and breakfast on the veranda looks out on to the stunning central garden and pool area and guests can choose from a small buffet of cereals, fresh fruit, and juices and may also make a selection from the hot menu which features dishes such as pancakes, omelettes and pan-fried French toast.
However, the real highlight of the Kurland Hotel’s stunning grounds is without doubt the flagship five-bedroom ‘Villa’ which encompasses three lounges, as well as its own pool, steam room, and sauna, and looks out on to an extensive and neatly-manicured lawn area. A further three rooms are available in a smaller adjoining property. In December, expect to pay 35,000 Rand (around £2,500) per night bed and breakfast for the Villa in high season, and around 15,000 Rand (£1,100) during the remainder of the year.
Recreational activities for guests on the Kurland estate include horse riding, tennis, swimming, and nature walks, amongst others.