A night in the country

Looking for the perfect place (in close proximity to Johannesburg) to spend a quiet weekend or anniversary? Well, it’s only an hour away.

Call us basic but for some reason we feel as if we’ve exhausted all options in the greater Johannesburg area for a sneaky weekend away. While we love game farms, sometimes one doesn’t feel like a 5 am wake-up on a Saturday (not to mention we would have to take a Friday half-day from work as most reserves are quite the drive!). While the Palace at Sun City is the only place in the resort we recommend, that too has become overdone (and inundated with children).

Our favourite country resort that has you feeling close to home yet far away? De Hoek.  The De Hoek Country Hotel, an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, set on the banks of the tranquil Magalies river, Magaliesburg, is known and loved for its exceptional cuisine and personalised service (and the only truly 5 star hotel we recommend in the area).

As you drive into the hotel and the gravel crunches under your tyres, the stress of the week dissipates while the fresh country air grazes your face through the open window. Arriving just in time for a late afternoon drink, we checked in and enjoyed a G&T on the grass outside the main stone hotel while playing lawn games like croquet and oversized dominos. After this it was time to head back to our deluxe suite (overlooking the hills of Magaliesberg) to freshen up before dining in the hotel’s cosy wood fired conservatory.  Headed by Chef Jacques Swart , the hotel’s restaurant is dedicated to producing world-class cuisine, using only the finest seasonal produce that can be sourced in the local community area. (The hotel also has the most gorgeous veggie patch on the property). Offering a culinary experience and varied 3 course dinner every evening, meal-time takes one back to an age-old time where dining was a luxury. The Conservatory is a beautiful dining room with glass doors looking out onto the pond area and lovely gardens, with a warm, cosy ambiance.

In addition to fabulous hotel amenities, De Hoek has been in the top 100 restaurants in South Africa for many years and has won many food accolades including American Express Fine Dining.

Once we you’ve had a delicious dinner and an even more delicious sleep in your large Egyptian cotton bed, the next morning calls for many outdoor activities including mountain and river walks, hot air ballooning, off-site gliding, horse riding and game drives. If you’re like us who enjoy taking full advantage of doing nothing, a good book by the pool in summer (or fire in winter) is the only activity we’re interested in on our weekend away.

De Hoek boasts a variety of conference and function rooms and spaces for companies, private individuals and bridal couples looking for an exclusive country venue. They also offer themed events and special occasion celebrations. With an attentive staff and brilliant service, we can’t think of a better place to spend away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.