“Small luxurious country hotel with exquisite rooms, swimming pools, polo stables and spa - fabulous for families”
Kurland captured our hearts as a very special country hotel that succeeds in keeping a sense of family residence. This is no sprawling resort: with only 12 sumptuous rooms you still get oodles of space, but on a scale that allows an intimacy and attention to detail that we love. Everywhere you'll find fragrant fresh roses picked daily from the gardens. You can relax in elegant drawing rooms with crackling fires, sip cocktails on the sun-warmed veranda, or watch the children splash in the pool: better still, have someone else watch them while you get a massage in the spa. If you want colonial style, fine food and gracious living within reach of the Garden Route’s main draws, or if you fancy spoiling yourselves and the children for a few nights, then you'll love it here. Boutique hotels don't get much better than this.
- The best hotel on the Garden Route and the best small hotel for families we've found anywhere
- Large and lovely grounds, with polo fields, swimming pools (unheated), a tennis court, rose gardens and lawns
- Fabulous big bedrooms with antique furniture, special loft rooms for children and plunge pools
- Bags of charm and the feeling of a private house, albeit with lots of facilities, including a spa
- Loads to do in the area, from whale- and dolphin-watching boat trips, zip-lining and visits to nearby wildlife sanctuaries to beach picnics, horse riding and vineyard visits
- If you want to leave the estate you'll need to drive - it's 15 minutes to both the beach (Nature's Valley or Keurboomstrand, both sandy and unspoilt) and Plett's town centre - but it thereby avoids the midsummer crowds
- It's lush countryside so don't be surprised if you get the occasional rainy day
- WiFI in the rooms can be slow
- There's a slight sound of distant traffic from the N2 but this is nit-picking: Kurland is one of our all-time favourites and it's hard to fault
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar
- All ages very welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Tennis Court
- Pool Table
- Bicycles Available
- Horse riding
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.
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Plunge pool
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
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.
- Children's meals
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Explore the 700-hectare estate on foot, by mountain bike or by quad bike, enjoying views up to the Outeniqua Mountains and across the horse paddocks
- Play tennis on the estate's own court (racquets and balled available) or book a beauty treatment or massage in the spa - the prices are reasonable and the masseur excellent. There's also a sauna, steam room and fitness room (though don't expect the latest equipment)
- Horse riding and polo tuition are available on the estate. Shetland pony rides for children aged 1-6 are free. Watch a polo match in season (mid-December - April)
- Head to the beach: swim or surf at lovely Keurboomstrand (10 min drive), or take a 3-hour cruise up the Keurbooms river. Discover the lagoon, river and long windswept sandy beach at Nature’s Valley (20 min scenic drive)
- Take a boat trip from Plettenberg to observe seals, dolphins, sharks, penguins, cormorants, terns and (in season) whales
- Explore the nature reserve on Robberg Peninsula (20 min drive) - seals, oystercatchers, sandy beaches, hiking trails, and barely another soul in sight
- Within 15 minutes' drive you can visit a host wildlife parks and sanctuaries. Observe primates at Monkeyland (a sanctuary for captive-bred species), walk with elephants at the nearby orphanage, learn about big cats at Jukani or the Tenikwa Wild Cat and Wildlife Centre. Don't miss the ecellent Birds of Eden, the world's largest free-flight exotic aviary.
- For the more adventurous we recommend the zip-lining tree top canopy tours in the Tsitsikamma Nature Park
- Visit famous Storms River Mouth, with its swing bridge and river-gorge
- River-rafting, canoeing, climbing, bungy-jumping, kloofing (canyoning), mountain bike trails, bass- and fly-fishing, diving and snorkelling can all be booked through local operators
- Play golf; there are 4 courses within an hour's drive
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Horse riding
- Mountain biking
- Pool table
- Well being
- Whale watching
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.
Family friendly accommodation:
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.
- Complimentary cots
- Toddler seats for bikes
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.
Kids Activities on site:
- Unheated pool, plus a kids' pool (a little chilly for us)
- Playroom with pool table, table tennis, TV, DVD, toys, computer games and a host of buckets and spades
- Sandpit and climbing frame
- Free rides on Shetland ponies for those aged 1-6
- Boating, cycling, tennis and (for older kids) quad-biking
Kids Activities nearby:
- Wildlife sanctuaries: Tenikwa Wildcat Park (10 minutes), Birds of Eden (10 minutes), Reptile Park (5 minutes), Monkeyland (15 minutes), Elephant Sanctuary (25 minutes) and the Robberg Peninsula (15 minutes)
- Whale- and dolphin-watching by boat in season
- Ziplining forest canopy tours, abseiling and bungy juming in the Tsitsikamma Nature Park for older children
- Beach picnics - there's a huge sandy beach and a lagoon for paddling a 15 minute drive away
Families Should Know:
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.
- Airport: 1.5 hours (George, internal flights), 6.5 hours (Cape Town, international flights)
- Hospital: 30 minutes
- Shop: 5 minutes on foot