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 Inkanyezi Suite (Suite 14).
The word Inkanyezi means the first or the evening star in Zulu, and this suite was christened in that calling by the Zulus who built it. Most of our Zulu staff come from rural environs, and almost all of them have grown up in rondavels built of mud. Yet those that were engaged in building Inkanyezi marvelled that people of European descent should be building with materials of mud, timber and thatch, while most of our African brethren these days have embraced the materials used by Europeans.
To them, this example of a rondavel resembled a shining star, hence their selection of the most prominent star to portray their emotions. Most of the materials used in the suite were sourced either off the greater Summerhill and Hartford estates, or from the immediate vicinity, with raw mud bricks forming the basis of the walls and a mud and straw rendering applied instead of plasterwork.
The intention in juxtaposing the original Hartford homestead with Ezulweni, is to provide travellers with an insight, when they are in the manor house, of our region’s colonial past, and then to transport them through an intimate glimpse of what’s possible with a touch of imagination from our Zulu staff, whose creative hands are strikingly apparent in the finishes to Inkanyezi
There are two especially interesting pieces in the suite, namely the 1820 convent linen press acquired from the old Orange Free State (as we used to know it), while the painting on the wall, depicting a North African market scene, is by an unknown but obviously talented African artist.
The main entrance door is from India, and was chosen by Cheryl Goss while she was busy remodeling what is now Lynton Hall, where the antique furnishings echoed that property’s colonial past and its association with indentured Indian labour. The verandah columns are of Rhajastani origin.