As much as we love gawking at Joburg’s ultra-modern boutique hotels and dazzling luxury properties, sometimes we just want to escape the concrete jungle for a minute and stay in a storied residence with a historic restaurant to match. After a weekend stay at Kurland Hotel in Plettenberg Bay, we can safely say that this unhurried, unassuming jewel is just the place. If the walls of this homestead that dates back 1885 could talk, you’d never get to sleep – you’d be too enthralled by the rich history and old-world opulence that surrounds you.
While there are many amazing things to do and see in the City of Gold, sometimes our flooded metropolis can be overwhelming, leaving us feeling restless and in need of a city break. Can you relate? We thought so! That’s why we’re excited to share our discovery of a luxe hotel that turns out to be a crowned gem along the Garden Route with you. But before we get started, allow us to clear something up…
Of all the places along the Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay has a reputation as the land reserved for the rich and pretentious – but this doesn’t mean that the ritzy town is all about popped-collars and fancy cars. Otherwise Plett, as its widely known, wouldn’t also be home to Kurland Hotel, a five-star property that marries old-school elegance with modern sophistication. Offering the best of both worlds – the tranquil countryside and breath-taking beaches – it’s the perfect place for an exclusive hideaway.
We arrived at Kurland Hotel on a Friday afternoon after a short two-hour flight from Johannesburg to Geroge followed by a one-and-a-half-hour drive (the drive is so scenic that it flies by – you’ll actually wish it was longer!) to the hotel. The warm and welcoming general manager, Diana, was waiting outside for us and quickly organised for the concierge to take our luggage from the car to our suite, nestled on the property’s fragrant rose garden.
Upon stepping into the elegant and expansive two-bedroom, two-bathroom, suite, we were instantly taken aback. While each one of the 12 suites on the 700-hectare private estate have been individually appointed and tastefully decorated, the Rose Garden 1 abode is a showstopper of note. Dressed in neutral colour palettes and immaculate upholstery, it boasts vaulted ceilings, a wooden bookshelf chockfull of old books, an open wood-burning fireplace and chandeliers dripping with lamps.
The old-school influence is reflected in the Egyptian cotton bedspreads and well-worn vintage furniture like velvet club chairs, which is complemented by modern palate-pleasing pieces of furniture and contemporary art. The lavish vibe extends to the sumptuous main bathroom, which has an extra-long bathtub, fluffy bathrobes and is generously stocked with bath products. Other features of the suite include a mini bar, ceiling fans, heated towel rails, a flat-screen TV and free WiFi.
From the private patio, you can take in mesmerising views of the surrounding mountains – all while being afforded utter privacy. You’ll completely forget that you’re just a short drive away from the busy beach resorts of Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley.
After unpacking our bags, we headed to the sunny patio that overlooks the sparkling swimming pool at the hotel’s restaurant to enjoy a welcome drink. Whatever your drink of choice is – a refreshing gin and tonic, a whiskey on the rocks or a glass of bubbly – the fully-stocked bar has got you. Just before sunset, we took a stroll around the property to explore the flora and fauna on the estate and were quite amazed by all of the indigenous plants, shrubs and trees that are found in the area. Then back to the restaurant, it was to tuck into a three-course dinner.
The award-winning Kurland Restaurant serves candlelit seclusion and a straightforward yet decadent menu at dinnertime – think dishes like a twice-baked cheese soufflé, mint green pea and lamb risotto, and baked dark chocolate fondant. Each plate reflects an emphasis on fresh, organic herbs and vegetables grown on the property. The wine list is just as impressive, offering a wide variety of local and imported bottles. What’s more, the service was simply faultless – highly attentive without being obtrusive. After wining and dining at Kurland Restaurant, it was easy to understand why it routinely makes lists of the most romantic restaurants not only on the Garden Route but in the country.
After a good night’s sleep, we were ready for a full day of R&R. In-between a dreamy champagne brunch and cosy afternoon tea at Kurland Restaurant, we enjoyed the estate at our leisure. There’s so much to do, from activities like horse riding and quad biking to pampering yourself in the recently renovated spa that has a steam room, sauna, therapy rooms and a gym.
If you’re really looking to unwind, feel free to just spend your time soaking up some sun at the pool or curled up with a good book in front of the fire in the lounge instead. It’s all up to you – and the staff won’t judge. In fact, the best thing about Kurland Hotel is that time is of no consequence, so guests set their own pace and the staff make sure that they’re comfortable and relaxed from check-in to check-out. Our Saturday ended with another top-notch dinner at Kurland Restaurant.
Before checking out on Sunday morning, we decided to indulge in one last meal – but this time from the comfort of our room. At Kurland Hotel, you can choose to have any meal of the day delivered by the restaurant right to your doorstep if you don’t feel like dressing up and going out for dinner. We figured there’d be no better way to end the weekend than with a breakfast of foamy cappuccinos, freshly baked croissants and the most moreish eggs benedict ever in bed – and, boy, were we right. What a treat!
N2, Kurland, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay
044 534 8082