Maretha Langenhoven was appointed the new general manager of Hartford House. She chats to Clinton Moodley.
How did you enter this profession?
Two very special and exceptional hoteliers believed in me and gave me my first opportunity as a manager of a small industrial laundry in Hazyview, Mpumalanga. It served the greater Kruger lodging and Mpumalanga hotel market and gave me a first glimpse of the hotel and hospitality industry.
What are some of your plans for Hartford House?
I hope to fine-tune guest experiences and ensure that we continue to deliver high expectations. There are plans to implement a curated calendar of events to enhance Hartford as a must-visit destination.
What are the things people can do at Hartford House?
Travellers to Hartford House won't get bored. There's horse riding, Summerhill Stud tours, trout and bass fishing, hiking and trail running and mountain biking. The property is also the home of the country's finest cuisine and team of chefs, so we recommend having a meal when you visit.
Describe a typical day for you?
I get up before sunrise and start the day with a morning meeting at 6:45am where the team discusses the day ahead. I then proceed to the morning meeting at the Summerhill stud farm. The rest of the morning is spent checking on guests at breakfast and admin duties like the arrivals for the day, special requests, conference and functions.
The days are usually long, but there’s never a dull moment here. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I sometimes like to host guests at dinner and ensure that they feel at home.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
It will have to be Kruger National Park or any game reserve. I love the smell of the bush, the excitement of morning game drives and sitting next to a bush fire in the evenings.
The one thing you cannot live without while on holiday?
A bottle of Amarula.
How do you unwind after a long day?
You will find me with either a glass of wine, my feet up by our fireplace or watching the sunset from our veranda. Spending quality time with my daughter also warms my heart.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as a successful and established leader of a group of hoteliers. I would like to ensure Hartford House is performing on the global hospitality stage with several awards under their belt.
What is your advice for people who want to enter the tourism industry?
You need to make sure that this is what you are passionate about and that you like people. Always be fair and honest with your staff and interact with guests with sincerity and warmth.