I started a project recently called the #JoziWeekendWishlist in an effort to discover the gems that exist within easy reach of Johannesburg. The Cape is spoilt for choice when it comes to weekend breaks, but I think Johannesburg does have them, it’s just about discovering them. I put my appeal out to Twitter a few weeks back and some firm favourites emerged, all of which I’ll hopefully get the opportunity to experience over the coming months. First up is Kievits Kroon outside of Pretoria, just a short 55 minute drive from Johannesburg.
Kievits Kroon feels like it’s a million miles from Johannesburg and you’ll keep having to remind yourself that you’re not, in fact, in Franschhoek. Never-ending avenues of trees, Cape Dutch buildings and gables in bucket-loads with immaculately kept rose gardens and hedges. It really is a pretty property and seems to sprawl for miles. Kievits Kroon is a popular conference destination and can host large groups both large and small. We were there on a weekend which I imagine is less busy with conference-goers.
The accommodation is diverse and varied, from stand-alone Cape Dutch-style cottages to corporate executive suites and Zulu huts; all thatched. We spent a night in a cottage but moved to the executive suites for our second night as there was a WiFi issue in our block and J and I had work do. Both options were lovely, spacious and had everything you need, including a bath which is a non-negotiable for me. Big rooms, comfy beds and a little welcome basket full of snacks and a bottle of wine.
While Kievits Kroon lends itself to all seasons, really, I think it’ll be good fun in the summertime. There’s a big swimming pool, jacuuzi and deck with an entertainment space in the middle of the manicured lawns and I think this area will be amazing when the sun’s out. For this reason we’ve booked our annual book-club girls’ night away here in December so the 11 of us can wallow in the water and margaritas; cannot wait. The spa facilities are excellent too and I’m just sorry we didn’t come prepared with our cozzies this time. There’s an indoor pool, a few jacuzzis and an area guests can access for a few hours each day, morning and night. We treated ourselves to a massage which was excellent; foot and leg for me, as always.
Dinner on the first night was served in the main restaurant, buffet style. Breakfast is served here in the mornings too. I thought the buffets were excellent and I love this style of eating because you don’t have to wait for your food and you can sample a little bit of everything. Lunch on Saturday was a picnic on the lawns which I absolutely loved! Fortunately winter up north is warm with blue skies so the weather was ideal for a picnic. On Saturday night we had the 6-course wine pairing menu in the Manor House with a roaring fire beside us; heaven. The food overall was really good but the service is what stood out for me. Throughout our stay we were greeted by friendly, happy staff and nothing was too much for anyone we encountered. We both remarked at the end of the stay how blown-away we were by the service here. It’s a small thing but it makes a massive difference.
There’s quite a lot to do if you’re spending a couple nights at Kievits Kroon: lawn croquette, giant chess, picnicking on the lawn, swimming (indoors and out), spa and there’s also a big lounge called The Library with a roaring fireplace and book-filled shelves. The hotel is situated on a farm road, so take your sneakers if you want to go for a run in like we did.
I’m glad to have discovered this little gem, and I’m sure there are more like it out there. Please do let me know if you have any recommendations to add to the #JoziWeekendWishlist, or if you’re the owner/operator of an establishment that fits the project brief, I’d love to chat.