Wednesday, August 8, 2012

High times at Highgrove

The elegant line of Jacaranda trees leading to Highgrove House. 















Article By: Gillian Mclaren

Click to view published article: http://travel.iafrica.com/accommodation/681284.html

Two rows of tall jacaranda trees, which meet in a high arch, flank the driveway leading to Highgrove House. The effect is dramatic, like entering some grand cathedral, and it created a sense of eager anticipation as I approached this country hotel.

Situated between White River and Hazyview, an easy drive from Johannesburg, it seemed the perfect spot to break our journey to the Kruger Park. Although I had heard that Highgrove House has repeatedly won the AA Award for Best Small Luxury Hotel, I was not prepared for quite how lovely it is and how outstanding the cuisine.

We strolled through manicured gardens to our suite, which was charming and comfortable. As it is poised on a rise, and sited on a working farm, we had a marvellous view of orchards of avocado and macadamia nut trees sweeping down to a valley. I opened the double doors leading onto the veranda, and sat there taking in the beauty from the suite’s elevated position.
The bedroom was cosy and immaculately clean, with quality linen on the beds.

After a luxurious shower, my son James sat in the bay window, sipping earl grey tea, wearing a fluffy white gown provided for guests. We were struck by the restful silence, punctuated only by the liquid note of a Black headed Oriole.

Dinner was an elegant affair in a formal dining room, at a rosewood table with white cotton placemats. The fare would have delighted any gourmet. I asked to meet the chef and discovered that she is a small, shy lady who clearly loves her work.

When we returned to our suite, we were delighted to find a fire burning in the open fireplace in our lounge. James had selected a pile of books from the library in the main lounge and was soon incommunicado.

As there are marked walking trails on the farm, I was able to have an easy and enjoyable stroll in the early morning. Breakfast was a feast served under a gazebo, which had a splendid view of the gardens. Most of the food is homemade from scratch, and is fresh and delicious.

I noticed in the guest book, that a couple from the UK had stayed at Highgrove House for week. After a mere night in the country hotel I felt so rested and refreshed, I could only begin to wonder how well that couple must have felt as they drove away, down the driveway strewn with Jacaranda blossoms.

Book online now at http://iafrica.safarinow.com/go/highgroveHouseCountryLodge

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Gillian Mclaren Travel and Science Writer

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