RUTH COOPER finds the staff welcoming and friendly at Brahman Hills in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands
The bathroom at the Oribi self-catering cottage at Brahman Hills is an exhibitionist’s dream and a shrinking violet’s worst nightmare. No doors and wall-to-floor glass windows semi-encase the shower, bath and toilet! Thankfully, the windows all point away from the rest of the estate and the most likely pair of eyes to see you will belong to one of the many Brahman cows that wander the estate.
The views also make up for any self-consciousness – rolling hills, wandering wildlife and dramatic skies – and I wasted no time after checking in to run myself a bath with the complimentary rose geranium bath salts (that permeate the cottage with their heavenly scent) and settle down to some amazing nature viewing, refreshing G&T in hand.
Outside the cottage a deck with braai and jacuzzi offers picturesque game-watching opportunities of the cattle, eland, zebra and impala variety.
The recently refurbished cottages – the venue was formerly known as The Windmills – are slick and modern, with air-conditioning, fully equipped kitchen, DSTV and wifi, yet homely with pillowy beds, deep Victorian baths and stove fireplaces.
On the first night, we were treated to a three-course meal at the lodge’s 89 on Copper, situated in a cellar beneath the main hotel. A veritable Aladdin’s Cave of delights, unique wine-filled ‘portholes’ line the walls. You’re tempted to try them all. On the recommendation of our waiter ,we had the Rupert and Rothschild Classique, which paired excellently with a starter of silky carpaccio and tender Asian calamari, and a rich main course of herb-crusted lamb rack and melt-in-your-mouth lamb shank.
On the second night, we made use of the braai and ate in with the obliging staff popping in with salt, pepper and butter when requested. Housekeeping extends to the self-catering units and we were pleasantly surprised to return to a spotless cottage with restocked tea, coffee, milk and rusks after our breakfast.
Our stay was wonderfully relaxing and reviving, peppered with fine dining, long soaks in the jacuzzi beneath star-heavy skies, and leisurely strolls to the two dams on the property. If you don’t mind letting your inner exhibitionist out you can do no wrong with a stay at Brahman Hills.