After only two years in business, the Robertson Small Hotel walked away with the title of Best Luxury Country Hotel in South Africa at the recent World Luxury Hotel Awards evening in Croatia. Needless to say, we were quite keen to hit the road and find out what all the fuss is about. Even with expectations set sky-high, we were impressed by the thoughtfulness and energy of the people who created this stylish country getaway.
First, I would credit the architect, Rick Stander, and interior designer, Nica Maree. They created indoor living spaces that are constantly inviting you to step outside or draw nature into your suite. The four poolside suites are right on the water’s edge, with fold-away shutters that open onto the brilliant blue of the pool. The bathroom shutters give you the option of turning the entire suite, from bathroom to poolside patio, into open plan. Double-volume ceilings with several skylights frame old oak tree branches during the day and starry skies at night.
Even if you’re not staying in one of the pool suites, but opt for a room in the century-old, but chic and contemporary manor house, you can still lounge by the pool and enjoy pre-dinner drinks and complimentary canapés on the L-shaped veranda facing the fragrant garden with its old fruit trees.
Riaan and Stefané Kruger, the experienced general managers (previously at Royal Madikwe), ensure that all the finishing touches are in place in terms of service. The lavender and olive oil bathroom products are specially created for The Robertson Small Hotel. The beds are king size and extra length, and you can pick from a pillow menu exactly how high you want to rest your head. Also, every room has an iPod docking station, fresh flowers, original art, plunger coffee, velvety hot chocolate and speciality teas. The laundry service effortlessly passed Jack’s “Could I have this shirt pressed within 45 minutes?” test. And our vehicle had a good de-mudding while we were not watching.
With Reuben Riffel as the concept chef at The Robertson Small Hotel, everything that appears on your plate is guaranteed to be a feast. But there is nothing small about the portions. We ambitiously aimed for the 3-course dinner, but had to raise the white napkin flag after mains. So, that was a well-deserved early Sunday night for the new executive chef, Gerhard, and his assistants – after firing up the entire kitchen for just the two of us. The next morning, Tatenda, our waiter with the sunny disposition, was on duty again. Breakfast was anything but ordinary: eggs Benedict, vanilla and saffron poached fruit, shiraz and pinotage grape juice, and only the very best from the baker and cheese maker.
If you are staying for the weekend, and looking for a special place to lunch, we loved Fraai Uitzicht 1798 on the Klaasvoogds Meander, less than a 30-minute drive from Robertson in the direction of Ashton. On a warm day, the lavender is intoxicating and the vineyards form a perfect backdrop for enjoying the fine cuisine and full-bodied regional wines. Ask the friendly German owners about their glasses and how their shapes affect the taste of the wine. This was our first ‘glass tasting’. Oenophiles will have a particularly good time in the Robertson Valley. Springfield with its iconic Life from Stone and old-style, minimal-handling Méthode Ancienne wines, is a must for any wine tour. Graham Beck and Bon Courage are well known for their Cap Classique. Van Loveren’s trees, planted on special days in the history of the family and the country, will tell you many stories while you settle beneath them for a tasting.
We recommend The Robertson Small Hotel for couples looking for a relaxing and romantic getaway, or for anybody who wants to escape the crowds during any of the four very popular festivals currently set in Robertson. They are the Hands-on Harvest (February), the Wacky Wine Weekend (June), the Robertson Slow (August) and the Robertson Wine on the River (October).
– Independent review by Klein Companion, Lizelle Steyn
Need more information? Visit Robertson Small Hotel on Klein Collection’s website to view more property details, images and rates.
- Robbie Robertson Featured on Canadian Stamp (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)