“Peaceful hilltop retreat, with simple yet stylish period cottages offering a fascinating insight into local wartime history”
Your lodgings at Three Trees will be in one of airy and spacious cottages. Authentically constructed based on the housing kits brought out from Britain in the 19th century, they come complete with tin roofs and wooden walls. Thankfully, some amendments were made to the original designs and modern extras include fans, heaters and running hot and cold water!
Inside, the cottages have a refined, elegant feel. Beds have hand-embroidered sheets and duvet covers with lovely aloe motifs (the symbol of the lodge), and historical touches such as period writing desks complete the stylish yet uncluttered décor. The ensuite bathrooms (all with bathtubs and showers) enjoy magnificent views and each is finished with simple tongue and groove panelling, a generous complement of large soft towels, and hand-made toiletries blended from olive oil and African plant extracts.
The Standard Cottages have 2 oversized single beds (these can be made up as a super-kingsize on request); there's also a Family Suite set away from the others, with a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a children's bedroom with a separate toilet, and a small kitchenette. All cottages have their own veranda with wonderful views of Spioenkop Nature Reserve. Equipped with a pair of binoculars, your morning coffee can be a rewarding game-spotting session, and larger game can easily be seen with a keen eye.
Since our visit, the Churchills cottage has been added to the portfolio. It has 2 ensuite bedrooms and shares all the aforementioned features of the other properties, as well as having a private pool and a fully equipped kitchen. Architecturally, it's slightly raised of the ground and, for safety reasons, it is not suitable for children under 8 years old.
Included in the rates are 3 full meals, plus morning and afternoon tea with delicious cakes and biscuits. It's varied, wholesome and mostly homemade fare, with an emphasis on healthy South African cooking.
Meals are served by a roaring fire in the main house's dining room or, weather permitting, on the cool, wide veranda. Breakfasts are more than enough to fuel the excursion to Spioenkop itself (kop or koppie is Afrikaans for ‘hill’) and consist of the South African staple ‘putu’ porridge, a varied cooked offering, and a range of cereals and fruits. Lunch is usually fairly simple (for example lasagne and salad).
Dinner is a 3-course affair, with soup, meat from the braai and a range of fresh vegetables. Guests eat together and a generous selection of Cape wines, followed by Port or Cognac under the stars, ensures the day’s events and stories are roundly discussed before bed.
Children of all ages are welcome, and will enjoy spotting wildlife, splashing around in the pool and meeting the lodge's horses and dogs. Baby cots are provided free of charge, extra beds are available for an additional cost, and babysitting can be arranged with prior notice.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The Family Suite is set away from the other cottages and has a second bedroom for children, as well as a kitchenette. It also has an outdoor play area with a shaded sand pit, and comes complete with toys and children's books. The Churchills also has 2 bedrooms, but it's unsuitable for children under 8 years. However the large terrace with private pool may earn brownie points with teenagers.
Babysitting is available by arrangement.