A journey through the suites at Hartford House recently included among the Top Boutique hotels in South Africa.

This week’s choice of suite is the Alyssum Suite (Suite 9).


Originally known as the Garden suite, and with its neighbour, were the first attempt by our previously unskilled Zulus at building with bricks and mortar. A fine effort, we’re sure you’ll concede.

Now named Alyssum, for the flower of course, the name also remembers one of the greatest of all Hartford racehorses. Alyssum (the horse,) excelled against the best of his generation at distances ranging from five furlongs (the human equivalent of a 100 metres sprint at the Olympics) to ten furlongs (the equivalent of the mile to humans), which exemplified not only his versatility, but also his abiding class.

Alyssum was one of the mainstays of the famous Ellis’ string of the 1950’s, when the Hartford colours swept all before them on the racetracks of South Africa. Indeed, in owner-breeder terms, the Ellises have no parallels in South African racing history, and it was the great thoroughbred author, Sir Mordaunt Milner, who described their achievements in the same breath as those of Lord Derby, the Aga Khan and the Sheikhs Maktoum in the United Kingdom, the great European breeders, Boussac and Tesio, and the famous American stables of Phipps and the Hancocks.

There was a time when their supremacy was such that if there was a horse in the green and black silks on its way to the post, it was as good as money in the bank!

The furnishings in these suites are drawn from such diverse places as India and Morocco, while the teak flooring was part of the original dining room in the fabled Edward Hotel on Durban’s Golden Mile.

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