As we pull up to De Hoek Country Hotel and take in the gorgeous lush greenery surrounding us, I already feel free of the rat race. Even though only a one-hour drive from Johannesburg, I feel as if I am literally in another world.
De Hoek, a five star hotel nestling in the gloriously pretty Magaliesberg valley, offers an everything you could possibly wish for for a weekend getaway. It’s easy to understand why it’s one of the best-loved destinations in the country. From the sun-dappled, tree-lined pool to the luxurious rooms, superb cuisine, lush gardens and abundant birdlife, it’s relaxing for city slickers.
The Conservatory Restaurant offers the kind of gourmet dining that De Hoek is famed for, courtesy of celebrated chef, Michael Holenstein. The restaurant is a regular among top 100 restaurant lists in South Africa and has won many accolades. Each menu offers a selection of five courses.
Only the best ingredients and freshest seasonal produce are used. The presentation is almost too pretty to eat. Creative flavours are combined with new food trends in unusual interpretations of classic French and Mediterranean dishes. The desserts are too delicious to pass up (as full as one might be). Breakfast is a delicious cornucopia – a harvest table consisting of everything from freshly baked pastries, salmon and fruit, to the most divine Bircher muesli I’ve ever tasted. High tea too, is an occasion not to be passed up and includes delectable cupcakes, muffins and sandwiches.
The original house was built 22 years ago and designed for Johann and Andre Redelinghuys, whose grandfather was one of the original settlers in the Magaliesburg valley. Michael and Michelle Holenstein established the business of De Hoek 20 years ago alongside Emma and Johann.
The beautiful sandstone architecture and elegant, classical interiors are traditionally designed using the H plan of old Cape homesteads with tin roofs and stone walls collected from old Karoo and Free State homes. Think warm and inviting Oregon pine beams, leaded glass doors, steel windows and doors, and marble and granite. Our serene room lies close to the river, where I hear only hear birdsong and water.
Massages can be arranged and nothing is too much trouble for the staff. My favourite place was reclining by the peaceful pool with a book.
De Hoek will undoubtedly lure you back time and time again.
by Nikki Temkin