Brahman Hills offers the perfect staycation in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, with panoramic views of the Drakensberg mountains - it’s the ideal countryside getaway.
When I think back to my stay at Brahman Hills Hotel, two things come to mind - lush green surroundings with flourishing lavender bushes and a mouth-watering private dinner held in a cosy wine cellar.
Vast stretches of open land, clusters of trees and the occasional herd of zebra greet you upon entering the premises, offering a glimpse of KZN’s beautiful landscape. The lobby, comprised of wicker and wooden furniture, plump armchairs, in green hues accented by the addition of potted plants, was rather stylish.
I was comforted by my first impression, after all, receptions are the face of hotels and say a lot about the establishment and what may come of your stay.
Brahman Hills has 30 double rooms within walking distance of The Barn and The Glass House wedding venue, and with separate, secure parking, the hotel can accommodate up to 60 people. There are also 12 self-catering cottages a little further out from the main building.
The hotel rooms are simple, yet plush. Each has a king-size or twin beds, white percale linen, electric blankets, flat-screen TV, hair-dryer, heater, bar fridge and a quaint tea and coffee station.
A sliding door opens out onto a secure courtyard. I could just picture myself sitting on one of the chairs, having my morning cup of tea. Inside, personal touches here and there added to the homey-with-a-dash-of-luxury vibe. From the sprigs of lavender placed on fresh fluffy towels and atop the neatly folded V of the toilet roll to the Charlotte Rhys bathroom amenities, which, altogether, set the tone for a comfortable stay.
In the lobby building, a staircase leads down to the wine cellar where the restaurant 89 on Copper and bar are located. Exposed brick, natural wood and mellow lighting combine to transport you to another era, going further back in time with every step you descend.
In the bar area, barrels replace cocktail tables, and roaring cast iron fireplaces fill every room with warmth. Bringing the place to life, the addition of modern light features and brightly upholstered armchairs add contemporary elements to the rustic decor.
The Brahman Café (situated upstairs) a la carte menu is available, but the highlight is their Chef’s Selection menu. I indulged in three courses from the latter. The first being crispy panko crusted prawns served with a medley of tomatoes, onion, rocket and a drizzle of aioli. Light and crispy, it was a fusion of freshness meets good old fashioned deep fried deliciousness.
My favourite part of the meal was the main course, a golden fillet of Kingklip basted in a creamy herb and lemon sauce served with buttery new potatoes and asparagus. Presented artfully on the plate, the fish was firm, yet tender and easily demolished.
With the previous two dishes being of generous portions, the thought of a final course was difficult to digest, until it arrived. Subtle hints of honey and mint, home-made ice cream accompanied a rich and chewy chocolate brownie that ended dinner off on a sweet and decadent note.
Both in-house guests (hotel and cottages), as well as outside visitors, are welcome to attend dinner and make reservations. Seating a maximum of 26 people, the cellar can be booked for an exclusive function or dinner.
Returning to my room, I was enveloped by warmth and found that the curtains had been drawn close and the duvet folded at one corner, tempting me to crawl beneath it and melt into bed. Which is exactly what I did, one hot shower later. The Midlands is known for peace and tranquillity which was reflected by a night of uninterrupted rest and relaxation.
Breakfast at the café was a spread of infused honey in little jars, an array of mueslis, cereal, sliced fresh fruit, yoghurt and baked goods. The hot menu had a selection of 10 or so options ranging from toasted sandwiches to eggs benny or the more elaborate thick slices of French toast, perfectly golden and topped with crispy bacon and a drizzle of syrup. Hearty with an elegant flair, all meals were once again presented beautifully on the plate and served by attentive waitrons.
Just a one and a half hour drive from Durban, Brahman Hills is situated in the town of Nottingham Road, an area surrounded by rolling hills, grazing livestock and hidden treasures to explore. Your days could be filled with anything from wine tastings to craft shopping.
If you fancy a more restful activity, look no further than their on-site spa. It’s made up of eight treatment rooms, a dedicated manicure and pedicure room, a tranquillity lounge and champagne, coffee and chocolate bar with a team of therapists.The team works seven days a week, and outside guests are welcome at any time.