It’s not every night you get to stay over in the home of the last prime minister of the Colony of Natal. Hartford House, a five-star boutique hotel situated in Mooi River in KZN, is one destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The moment you drive up the tree-lined pebbled driveway and through the heavy stone-pillared gate, you feel like you’re entering a beautiful, peaceful place of serenity.

Hartford House is spectacular in look and offering and there is a genuine feeling of coming home when you walk into the main house where you check in. With the attention that is lavished on you, you feel like a long-long family member returning.

No detail has gone unnoticed in the marvelously decorated guest house; all needs and wants are taken care of. Renowned for its 13 incomparably styled luxury suites, Hartford House has decorated each one differently with a fusion of colour, style and texture, and it was fascinating to see how each suite is put together.

Dominique Wolf spends an evening in the Colonial-styled jewel that is Hartford House boutique hotel

Our guesthouse was an eggshell blue, which was calming and cool. The bed had many pillows, giving you the feeling of floating in a sea of duck feathers. Amenities went over and above the complimentary tea and coffee with fruit, biscuits, nougat, nuts, real coffee, real milk and complimentary sherry made available in the sitting area. It was absolute decadence! There is something amazing about feeling like you are genuinely away and far removed from reality - and Hartford House has this down to a fine art.


Sipping dirty martinis on a private patio, it was impossible not to be awestruck by the height of the blue gum trees that surround the property. They looked like they’re touching the sky. The gardens are immaculately kept and the picturesque view goes on for miles. It’s a transfixing experience. With the evenings getting rather chilly we moved into the lounge of the cottages and lay on the warm heated rugs in front of the fire. It was hard not to drift off into blissful sleep – but it was too close to dinner time and that was something we were definitely not going to miss out on!

After a glorious bath in an old-fashioned footed tub, we made our way to the lounge area where we were treated to a glass of French Champagne and browsed through beautiful coffee table books and admired gorgeous artworks.

The head chef at Hartford House, Jackie Cameron, is a legend who has made her name as one of the top celebrity chefs in South Africa. We were about to find out why. Our meal consisted of five courses, which transcended any taste sensations or flavour combinations we have ever experienced. A genius at creating intricate dishes which are all so originally and intricately presented, Jackie’s sophisticated fare delighted the tastebuds. As each course is served, Jackie comes out of the kitchen and to explain her thinking behind each dish. Her passion and creativity can be tasted in her work.

Each course was masterfully paired with beautiful wine. We learned that Hartford House has one of only ten five-star wine lists in South Africa. I can’t sing Jackie Cameron’s praises enough; she really takes fine dining to another level. Needless to say, we fell into our beds shortly after dinner. What an experience.

With not much time to spare before heading home in the morning, we still managed to enjoy a gorgeous three-course breakfast - the menu also craftily engineered by Jackie. We left feeling amazing but I can safely say that our stay at Hartford House was too short.