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Hotel Highlights

  • Perfectly situated on the Garden Route in a vast private estate between beaches and mountains
  • Utterly spoiling – attention to detail is second to none
  • Huge range of activities, from spa treatments, swingball and beach days to polo lessons, hiking and quad biking

Overview

A fairytale family home on a vast and beautiful private estate, complete with its own polo club, Kurland hotel is the stuff of holiday fantasies. This luxury boutique stay, within reach of beaches and mountains, has buckets of character, a never-be-bored menu of things to do and staff who know the true meaning of the word ‘hospitality’.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Kurland with us:

A horse-riding trip for two

Facilities

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Kurland - Garden Route - South Africa

Need To Know

Rooms

12 suites.

Check–out

11am; check-in 2pm. Times are flexible, subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $258.60 (ZAR2,719), excluding tax at 14 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast and soft drinks.

Also

Everywhere you go, there are gorgeous vintage vases full to the brim with velvety antique roses; just one example of the attention to detail that makes Kurland so special.

At the hotel

Extensive grounds, mature gardens, spa with Decléor treatments, steam room, gym, tennis courts, polo club, stables, quad bikes, free WiFi. In rooms: TV, CD/DVD player, minibar, iPod dock, underfloor heating, premium toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

There’s no shortage of space here, so all rooms are large, with open fireplaces, oversized bathrooms, sitting areas and king-sized beds. Elegant Rooms overlook the pool and have two double beds and private terraces; we like the blue-and-white Mediterranean decor of Greek. The six Luxury Suites (two in the Rose Gardens with private patios and lofts, four overlooking the pool area with plunge pools and lofts) are our first love: Paddock IV has a Victorian canopy bed and free-standing roll-top bath. Superior Suites, all with private porches, plunge pools and lofts, are magnificently spacious: we like Paddock VI, with its Oriental silk wall panels; Rose Garden III and IV are pure country romance.

Poolside

Sunloungers discreetly peek over the edges of an attractive outdoor swimming pool. There’s also a dedicated children’s pool so that adults can relax undisturbed.

Packing tips

Pick your favourite activities and pack accordingly: riding gear, gym kit, tennis whites, hiking boots, swimsuit, reading glasses, cycling shorts, wine-tasting guides, binoculars, ornithology books…

Also

Rates are based on two adults sharing; they also include complimentary wine on arrival, and use of the sauna, gym and steam room, among other facilities.

Children

Superbly family-friendly, Kurland has adorable children’s rooms and facilities galore. Children under five stay free in parents’ suites; five- to 12-year-olds, R540–R990; 13- to 16-year-olds, R1,020–R1,210 per night.

Read more

Food & Drink

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Kurland - Garden Route - South Africa

Hotel Restaurant

The intimate, darkly panelled dining room is very romantic. You’ll be served an excellent contemporary menu with South African wines amid countless twinkling candles.

Hotel Bar

The well-stocked honesty bar includes beers, wine, spirits and all manner of liquid refreshment.

Last orders

Around 10pm for dinner.

Room service

None. Breakfast is served on the terrace under a cascade of plants tumbling over wrought iron; there’s afternoon tea with homemade cakes on the verandah; and your minibar will take care of the rest.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Relaxed as you like, although you’ll feel an urge to wear crisp linen and floaty chiffon (when you’re not in your jodhpurs, that is).

Top table

Sit beside the fire in the dining room. Otherwise, Kurland will set up a private dining table anywhere you like; the library is cosy, or dine alfresco on a balmy summer’s night.

Local Guide

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Kurland - Garden Route - South Africa
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

At Kurland, to trot out that well-worn cliché, you are spoiled for choice – staff can arrange pretty much anything imaginable. Whilst there’s nothing more pleasant than hunkering down barefoot in one of the sitting rooms with a good book, there are quad bikes, bicycles and horses to ride around the estate, and tuition in tennis, polo, yoga, Pilates and many other activities can be arranged. The spa has a very good therapist, who gives Decléor treatments and soothing massages.

During the polo season, there are games almost every day on the estate at the Kurland Polo Pavilion and grounds, including what is probably one of the world's top 10 polo fixtures, so you can settle down and watch a few chukkas without having to make any effort at all. Kurland is on the edge of Tsitsikamma National Park (www.sanparks.org), home to huge areas of indigenous forest, deep river gorges and waterfalls, where you can hike, climb, boat and nature-watch, either under your own steam or with a guide.


The beaches of Plettenberg Bay (www.plettenbergbay.co.za) and Keurbooms are less than 20 minutes’ drive away; ask Kurland and it can arrange for you to watch whales, kayak with dolphins or snorkel with seals. This part of the Garden Route is also renowned for its world-class golf courses, including Pezula Championship Course (+27 (0)44 302 5300; www.pezula.com) and Plettenberg Bay Country Club (+27 (0)533 2132; www.plettgolf.co.za).

Local restaurants

The Kurland Polo Pavilion (+27 (0)44 534 8082) has its own bar and restaurant. After a scenic drive through Nature’s Valley and over the Blaauwkrans pass, have a lunch of deliciously matured dairy treats, salamis and salad at the Fynboshoek Cheese Farm (+27 (0)42 280 3879), on the N2 in the Tsitsikamma Forest.

+ Enlarge
Nature’s Valley – says it all

Kurland

N2, The Crags 6602, Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route & Winelands, 6602

Planes

The nearest domestic airport is in George, an hour and 40 minutes away from the hotel by car. Daily flights from both Johannesburg and Cape Town land here.

Automobiles

From the airport, take the N2 toward Plettenberg Bay, and the hotel is 19km to the east. From Port Elizabeth, the journey will take just under three hours; take the N2 toward George. The hotel is on the right, 200m after the Nature’s Valley R102 exit. Plettenberg Bay is a 20-minute drive away. There’s a carpark at the hotel.

Reviews

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Kurland - Garden Route - South Africa

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

I am a minimalist. I love clean lines and taupe. I have more John Pawson books on minimalist living than ones by Jamie Oliver on how to cook the perfect chicken (I am not a good wife). So it is with fear and in trepidation that my husband and I travel to Kurland on South Africa's Garden Route after checking out its website. My South African friends haven’t helped either – we’re t…
Read more

Kurland

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

I am a minimalist. I love clean lines and taupe. I have more John Pawson books on minimalist living than ones by Jamie Oliver on how to cook the perfect chicken (I am not a good wife). So it is with fear and in trepidation that my husband and I travel to Kurland on South Africa's Garden Route after checking out its website. My South African friends haven’t helped either – we’re told it’s all a bit ‘larney’; ie, bling.

Fortunately, they seem to have been to a different Kurland. The one we arrive at in the mid-afternoon couldn’t be further from bling. This place oozes charm and English country chic, as well as the odour of expensive perfumes and antique roses. It’s gorgeous. We drive down its long drive, and stare open-mouthed at the polo fields and stables to our right. We’re slightly worried that the few clothes we’ve packed aren’t going to be anything like smart enough for mixing with all the old-school polo money inside, but our fears are soon allayed. Kurland couldn’t be more laid-back. Upon entry, I wander through the rose-infused hallway onto a big, beautiful veranda, where I just want to curl up and eat a big slice of the cake that’s sitting invitingly on an old-fashioned stand.

Set in 700 hectares of private estate land, Kurland was originally an old 1940s Cape Dutch family homestead. Nowadays, it’s an intimate, 12-room hotel and polo club surrounded by peaceful mature gardens. After checking in, Mr Smith and I are taken to our accommodation, crossing the lawn and passing the central pool area. The latter offers glorious views of the gardens and the surrounding Tsitsikamma mountains, and we’re still reeling from all the beauty when we walk into our room – where we reel all over again. It’s stunning. The wallpaper and furnishings may be floral, but they’re far too tasteful to be chintzy. Huge armchairs, complete with ottomans, cushions and cashmere throws – and a minibar within easy reach – suggest lazy evenings and delicious comfort, and there are four vases of antique roses in the bedroom alone.  

After collapsing on the luxurious, all-white bed for a few minutes – we have just completed a seven-hour drive – we rouse ourselves to check out the rest of the room. Mr Smith is delighted to discover that the television has satellite channels, which means he’ll be able to watch the cricket, while I’m overjoyed to find a whole array of gorgeous products in the bathroom, as well as towels that are big enough to drag on the floor – even when you’re wrapped in them.

Tempting as it is to stay in our room, the house and its surroundings are so beautiful that we can’t really justify a filthy weekend of pottering in our dressing gowns from bed to armchair to sun lounger to bubble bath. So we spend the day watching polo players train, swimming lengths in the pool, then being massaged and having saunas in the sumptuous spa – mercifully just seconds from our room. Afterwards, we head back to that veranda and flop out on big wicker sofas, where we indulge in tea and cake. And then more tea and cake.

Dinner, later, is in the main house. We enjoy cocktails and nibbles in the large antique sitting room, before sitting down to eat in a cosy little room in which a fire roars, scented candles sparkle and vases of roses fill every available nook. It all feels very special and charming. The food is homely yet sophisticated, the local wines absolutely delicious, and Mr Smith, who has had slightly too many large G&Ts and a lot of red wine, is bumbling and bluffing like an elderly English country gent. After digestifs, we tumble into bed and sleep like babies, where we dream of roses and polo balls being thwacked.

The next day brings great adventure. We walk and mountain-bike through the lush Tsitsikamma National Park to Nature’s Valley – just over the hills from Kurland. En route, we stop to eat our packed lunch on a huge, deserted beach. I find it strange that we’re the only people there, but Mr Smith assures me there are many more like it on this section of the South African coast. My faith in the planet is momentarily restored.

That evening, we decide to venture away from the hotel, and toast the sunset with candlelit cocktails at Hemingway’s, beside the Bitou River on Plettenberg Bay. We follow this with a fabulous dinner at the Emily Moon River Lodge, a sweet local restaurant overlooking the wetlands. The food is excellent. South African cuisine done well, while simple, is mighty good: ingredients are sourced in the country, so all meat and seafood is supremely tasty.

As we drive back to Kurland, we can’t keep our eyes off the moon, sitting just over the Tsitsikamma mountains, so we decide to go for a moonlit walk along Keurboomstand Beach. We giggle and shiver our way along the sands, and get very excited when we think we spot dolphins and seals out at sea – more likely to be patches of seaweed, we’re later told. By the time we get back to Kurland, I am exhausted, though I have to drag Mr Smith away from the quad bikes that have been left outside the hotel before I can get anywhere near bed.

Our stay comes to an end all too quickly. After an overly indulgent breakfast on the kitchen terrace, we pack our bags and leave Kurland feeling relaxed and rested. We have enjoyed our stay a trillion times more than we expected and we, a British couple living in Cape Town, would return to this very English corner of South Africa in a heartbeat.

Back at home, I realise I’ve undergone a radical and extreme about-turn. Kurland may go against all of my minimalist principles, but it is effortlessly comfortable, chic, relaxed and utterly beautiful. My house is now full of scented candles, my flower of choice is a big floppy English antique rose, and I’m even thinking of going to Colefax & Fowler next time I’m back in London. Pigs occasionally do fly…

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Kurland's Guestbook below.

 

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