Fordoun, a KwaZulu Natal boutique hotel and spa in a dairy farm

Article by Elena del Valle and photos by Juan Cooper

Room 6 at Fordoun Hotel and Spa

The dining room

We liked the Fordoun Hotel and Spa, a family owned and managed boutique hotel and spa established in 2005 in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal area, for its intimate size, friendly staff, gourmet oriented restaurant, and diverse fitness and spa facilities and treatments including African themed options. The family friendly hotel, built within a working 275 hectare dairy farm, was named after a loch in Scotland.

During our overnight stay at Fordoun we had an opportunity to sample the cuisine at Skye, the hotel’s restaurant named for the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Breakfast was a combination of buffet and a la carte offerings. At lunch there were light dishes and hearty fare and we had a fun visit from a handsome peacock and peahen pair with full plumage on display. Our favorite meal was dinner. After we had our aperitifs in a nearby fire lit lounge and we moved to the dining room for a tasty meal. We remember the Wild Dagga smoked kudu with hummus and pita bread and reedbuck with cabbage and mashed potatoes courses most. We especially enjoyed the chance to chat with Richard Bates, general manager of the hotel and spa.

Herbs from the Fordoun herb garden were used in the Fordoun spa and Skye restaurant

Richard Bates

From him we learned of the owners’ environmental, cultural and social responsibility programs. One of these is the donation of 150 hectares of their land to the KwaZuluNatal Crane Foundation to serve as a breeding habitat for wattled crane and oribi Antelope, two highly endangered species, in what is now the Bill Barnes Crane and Oribi Sanctuary. Other noteworthy efforts are the support of the community school through donations and infrastructure improvements; the use of solar power for the hotel and spa facilities; the incorporation of Zulu healing methodologies in the spa menu as well as the development of a greenhouse and herbal garden where staff grow and research 130 indigenous healing plants for suitability as crops for teas, cosmetics, culinary or medicinal uses.

The five star hotel and spa were built within the original 1860s settler homestead and barns and the 1950s dairy, manager’s house, garages and cattle sheds; and designed in a contemporary style to retain some of the history of the estate. Our rooms, 6 and 10, were 96 and 98 square meters in size respectively, each with a distinctive decorative style.

The bathroom in Room 10 at Fordoun Hotel and Spa

Room 10 at Fordoun Hotel and Spa

Room 10, my room, was Africa themed with earth colors and a cow hide bench at the foot of the bed. African artwork and sand colored curtains hung on the walls. The floor was covered with wall to wall carpeting. A high white ceiling and stone walls added a sense of spaciousness of the room. A comfortable king bed framed by identical wood night tables with lamps occupied the center of the room which was also furnished with two striped armchairs, small air conditioning unit, two-seat sofa and corner cabinet with a Tedelez television at the top and a minibar with mini refrigerator and snacks on the lower level. The bathroom had a glass enclosed extra large shower and a separate bathtub. Our rooms were serviced twice daily.

The swimming pool was in the spa building

Fordoun Hotel & Spa (PO Box 17 Nottingham Road 3280, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, +27 033 266 6217 and + 27 033 266 6630, and Click here to read about our visit to the Fordoun Spa.