Have some grown-up fun
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Pretoria - The satirical Private Eye magazine in Britain has cut to the chase with a brilliant, seriously funny poster: “Woman has baby”. At the bottom of the page, “Inside: Some other stuff”.
Call me a cynic, but while monarchists in Britain (and the rest of the English-speaking world) have gone bonkers about the royal birth, my agenda is purely selfish: I checked myself into an adult hotel, leaving the toddler behind. And having done so, I wonder why parents of young children don’t do it more often.
Child-friendly venues are so pedestrian – most restaurants allow kids, no matter how poorly they behave, while the ones which declare their openness to children have food as an after-thought.
So a property which does not allow any children under the age of 14 makes sense. Honestly – even if you have young children, it’s occasionally best to leave them at home so you can have adult fun.
In our youth-obsessed society, it’s important to bear in mind that not everything should have to be mediated through a child’s eyes.
Kievits Kroon does not need the kiddies; doing conference and spa business means that adults must feel at home. The Cape Dutch-style country hotel’s grounds are extensive – 14 hectares – offering two restaurants, picnic facilities, a bar and spa. We checked in for the night for spa treatments, the Christmas dinner, breakfast and lunch.
It’s possibly one of the busiest spas I have ever encountered, but you don’t feel rushed or crowded. With Jacuzzis, saunas, heated pools, Swiss pressure showers and steam rooms – one for women only and the other a unisex area – you could while away time between treatments. Or grab a magazine and take it easy in their relaxation lounge. Hotel guests have access to the “winelands” spa facilities from 7.30 to 8am, and from 6pm to 7.30pm.
Their VinoSpa products, which were specifically formulated for the Winelands Spa, are said to be extra nourishing and packed with antioxidants.
Three treatment packages are offered – a Chocolate Indulgence, with full-body exfoliation, a full-body wrap and chocolate deep tissue massage; a Cinnamon Revival, with a cinnamon hot-stone massage, scalp massage and pressure point face massage and the Ginger Delight, which is what we opted for, a slow, intense back massage, and hydrating facial and leg treatments.
The facilities are superb, the therapists warm and professional, and they sure know how to massage away Joburg stress.
A suggestion though: more towels please. One is never enough.
Kingsley’s dinners are very popular so it makes sense that Saturday night’s generous Christmas in July dinner was a buffet. Glühwein and Cap Classique were served as pre-dinner drinks in the upstairs bar. This year was their first stab at Christmas in July and judging by the turnout, it won’t be their last. Dinner included turkey, beef roast with Yorkshire puddings, puddings, bloody Mary oyster shooters and more, though I felt some dishes need to be tweaked, but the dishes were freshly prepared, and flavoursome.
Sunday breakfast was served with fresh juice, good coffee, Pongrácz bubbly, pastries, and a super range of hot and cold dishes. You’d struggle to find as good at any city hotel. Kingsley’s is open to hotel guests and the public, with breakfast at R180 and dinner R300.
The last time I ate at Granita was soon after its launch in 2005 and, besides a different chef, not much seems to have changed. They have, however, won a prestigious Diamond award from Diner’s for their wine list every year since 2009. Executive chef Sammy Mashile has been in charge since 2010. The menu’s seasonal, with à la carte and set options.
Adding some feel-good value, Kievits is serious about recycling: everything from paper, glass and organic matter is recycled and they grow their own produce for both kitchens. Micro herbs, giant vegetables and some fruits are harvested in their gardens – while meat is sourced from nearby producers in the area.
Our Sunday lunch menu began with a spinach-stuffed mushroom amuse-bouche, followed by honey-glazed duck breast with a sweet carrot purée and a roasted beetroot reduction.
There’s an optional wine pairing with each dish (in this case it would have been paired with a Kanonkop pinotage rosé), but our lunch companion was the house bubbly from Simonsig (labelled for the estate).
The chicken zephyr with a spicy hot pot was a spicy southeast Asian-inspired chicken consommé with a minced chicken dumpling or zephyr, cellophane noodles and coriander micro herbs.
With this, the recommended pairing was the Kievits Kroon sauvignon blanc, which is blended for the estate by boutique producers Bizoe and Glen Erskine.
The micro herbs added an intense punch of coriander flavour to the broth – the flavours were clean and bright.
No meal at Granita is served without a granita as a palate cleanser. This was a strawberry ice, which was lovely but unseasonal. Strawberries are one of the many fruits that you can find any time of year – by way of example, the berries at Woolies are imported from Zim and Spain, which does not say positive things about carbon footprints.
Next up was an espresso cup filled with an excellent creamy cauliflower soup topped with a zippy chilli oil.
The main event was a fillet mignon, topped with sautéed mushrooms, a side of pea purée and potato bake.
The beef was glorious – grilled rare as can be, bleu – but was warm to the centre while retaining the succulence and colour. For fillet, the meat had excellent flavour too. Their wine pairing was a 2009 Brampton cabernet sauvignon.
A sticky toffee pudding rounded the meal, though the sauce failed so the chef topped it with custard. A pity as this pudding really demands the buttery toffee sauce though the sponge pudding was tasty, the berry “salad” accompanying the pud was a super way to offset the flavours and the egg custard comfort food deluxe.
With this, Oupa se Wyn from Weltevrede – an accessible dessert wine from Robertson.
We didn’t stay for coffee and friandises, but at a cost of R185 a person (or R325 with wine pairing) it’s good value for a fine diner.
Georgina Crouth was a guest of Kievits Kroon Country Estate
If You Go...
Plot 41, Reier Road, Kameeldrift-East, Pretoria
Tel: 0860 543 848 - Saturday Star
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