“Small luxurious country hotel with exquisite rooms, swimming pools, polo stables and spa - fabulous for families”
Dotted around the manicured gardens are 12 large suites, each set in a charming Cape Dutch-style cottage. All are beautifully decorated, mostly in an English-country-house style with sumptuous fabrics, fine antiques, inviting sofas and freshly cut roses. Beds are big and comfy, with stacks of plump pillows and immaculate embroidered bed linen; bathrooms are huge and luxurious with deep bathtubs (some claw-footed), separate showers, lots of fluffy towels and proper-sized toiletries. All have a living area and a terrace (some with private plunge pools) with views of the garden, fields and mountains.
Ten of the rooms are double-storied with a master bedroom downstairs and an additional loft bedroom specially designed for children. Utterly adorable, these are simpler and more playful, with low slanting ceilings, bright woollen blankets, baskets of toys and an extra bathroom complete with mini dressing gowns. There are 2 categories of suites with lofts: Luxury Suites, which can sleep 2 children upstairs, and the slightly more expensive but huge Superior Suites, which come with a plunge pool and space for 3-4 children. Our favourites are Superior Paddock VI, with its pretty oriental wall panels, and Luxury Rose Garden I, with its four-poster bed and library, but we'd be happy staying in any of them. However, do note that some rooms have external staircases connecting to the loft room, making them more suitable for families with older children or couples not wishing to use the additional bedroom.
The 2 single-storey Elegant Suites are slightly smaller and darker with twin or double beds, but are good value and still beautifully decorated - one has pretty pink Toile de Jouey wallpaper and curtains and a separate dressing room, while the other is more Greek-Mediterranean in style, decked out in blue and white. The partition wall between the 2 suites is rather thin, but the bathrooms are no less civilised.
Ceiling fans ensure that guests are kept cool in summer, and large fireplaces and underfloor heating in the bathrooms keep you cosy in winter.
Dinner is served in a small elegant room in the main house, with half a dozen round tables laid with roses, candles and crystal or for something more private, in the library. In winter there's a roaring log fire, while on balmy evenings guests can dine outside on the verandah. The food is fresh and unfussy, and we look forward to dining in every night. The menu changes daily with a choice of 3 or 4 starters, mains and desserts. There's a good mix of fish, meat and vegetarian options and Leon, the chef, is happy to step up to any special requests. Recent favourites have included chilled gazpacho followed by tender filet of Springbok, and homemade cannelloni with butternut squash, followed by saddle of lamb with sweetbreads. The hot chocolate fondant is always a winner. There's a reasonable selection of South African wines and coffee and brandy on the veranda seal our indulgent evenings.
Breakfast is a decent buffet, with all manner of fresh fruit, cereals, muffins, croissants, jams, spreads and toast. But leave room for the cooked breakfast - perfect poached eggs, bacon, pancakes, whatever you fancy. If you feel peckish during the day, help yourself to homemade cake on the veranda or sink into one of the wicker chairs and they'll bring you a pot of tea or coffee (included in the room rate). Lunch is also served and picnics can be arranged. Nearby, we love a pizza lunch at Enrico's overlooking Kerbooms beach, and the delicious wine and sharing platters at Newstead vineyard.
Children are well catered for too; our fussy young daughter loves the kitchen suppers with the chef cooking whatever she desires, from spaghetti bolognese to mini steaks. Room service is also available.
i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2013
Winner: Kids Sleeping Quarters category
Kurland is one of our all-time favourite family-friendly hotels. Not only do they have plenty on tap, but they've thought through everything so there are feeding solutions for fussy eaters, wonderful loft rooms for kids to make their own, and babysitters on hand so you can relax at the spa.
In peak season (Christmas, New Year and Easter) there are lots of organised activities (from art classes to treasure hunts) and a creche. Our 2-year-old loved it and we enjoyed chatting with other parents over a cup of tea. Nearby there's a fabulous stretch of windswept sandy beach and a host of wildlife sanctuaries.
Children under 5 stay for free.
Ten of the 12 rooms have wonderful loft rooms for children, decked out with bright cushions and rugs, buckets of toys, teddies and mini-bathrobes. The Luxury Suites' loft rooms sleep up to 2 children, while the Superior Suites have loft rooms for up to 4 children and plunge pools. Some suites interconnect for larger family groups.
Babysitters and trained nannies are available at an extra cost.
Baby monitors can be provided. They don't work between the bedroom and dining room, but babysitters and trained nannies can be arranged.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There is a creche and a kids' club in peak season (Christmas, New Year and Easter).
Kid's suppers are served in the children's conservatory or at the chef's table in the kitchen. There's a different menu each day (the likes of spag bol or homemade fish fingers with veg and mash or chips), but the chef is happy to cater for the fussiest eaters. Milk can be warmed and there are minibars in the rooms for storing small snacks.
The lake isn't fenced. Some rooms have external stairs to the upstairs bedroom so if you have younger children request one with an internal staircase.