De Hoek Country Hotel
Who doesn’t love a weekend away? That’s right, no one, because weekends away are the damn BEST. My only problem is that, living in Joburg, sometimes deciding to take a little break from the city sometimes means you’ve got to travel for ages, and when you only have 2 nights to spare, it’s a pity to waste time on the road. So I was so amped to discover De Hoek Country Hotel toward the end of last year, which is just an hour outside of Joburg and make’s for a perfect weekend away destination.
The first thing that struck me about De Hoek is how beautifully quiet it is, despite how close it is to Joburg. Somehow you feel like you’re a million miles away. While the lands around De Hoek are vast, the property itself doesn’t actually have that many rooms, which means that they manage to keep it feeling intimate and still despite being a hotel.
If you’re staying over, the hotel has a beautiful library (if you need something to read), TVs in every room (if you need something to watch), lawn games (if you need something to play), and my personal favourite, a beautiful pool (if you need somewhere to swim.) Surrounded by tall trees, the pool is something really special – it feels like you’re taking a dip in a mountain pool. We ended up spending a good portion of the warm November weekend with a beer in hand laughing next to the pool.
The food at De Hoek is a little hard to accurately write about – it was incredible. There’s a very good reason why De Hoek’s restaurant, The Conservatory, has been continuously rated in the top 100 restaurants in the country for the last few years. During our time here, we got to indulge in gourmet breakfasts, fresh and unusual lunches, and delicious dinners – one of which included a trio of three different creme brulees. Be still my beating heart. Plus, the service at The Conservatory was unwaveringly good, with all of the waiters being extremely attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable. Even if you can’t make it out to De Hoek for the weekend, I’d recommend treating yourself to a meal there – they’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though obviously booking is essential.
We got a deluxe suite for the weekend, which was in the newer part of the hotel. The room was beautiful – giant bed (my BEST), incredible bathroom with a large bath and shower, and our own little patio onto the garden. The deluxe suites aren’t in the main hotel, but are a short walk away, adding to their lovely quiet nature. Getting to wake up to an uninterrupted view of the mountains and fields of the Magaliesburg made my heart sing in a way that only the South African countryside can.
One of the other things that I absolute loved about De Hoek was being able to explore the incredible land surrounding the hotel. During our weekend away, we took a couple of walks along the stream that runs next to the hotel, discovering beautiful fishing spots and mulberry trees heavy with the perfectly ripe black berries. Being outdoors is always my absolute favourite thing, and it felt like an especially wonderful treat to be able to experience 5-star luxury while still being able to get outdoors a little bit.
Our final morning at De Hoek was a Monday, and I’d totally forgotten to turn off my weekday alarm. When it woke me I was initially so frustrated with myself, until I heard a noise outside, and stuck my head out the window just in time to see a hot air balloon taking off in the field in front of our suite, backed by the beautiful sunrise. It was breathtaking.
If you’re looking for a luxury little getaway, De Hoek is a really fantastic option – we’re already planning our next trip back. If you’re a busy person, I wouldn’t recommend going for longer than a weekend as there isn’t loads to do, but if you pack some books and gear yourself up for some genuine relaxation, you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic time.