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“Big changes make this a very disappointing experience!” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hunter's Country House

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Hunter's Country House
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Harkerville
Certificate of Excellence
Kent, England
Level Contributor
34 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Big changes make this a very disappointing experience!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 March 2012

We booked The Country House based on staying at the fantastic Hunter's Gorah Elephant Park, which is truly outstanding and a 5 star experience in every way. We were recommended to what was originally called Hunter's Country House where the web site shows a superb picture of dining in the grounds, and states: "An old world ambiance permeates the thatched Manor House with its antique furnished lounges, candle lit dining rooms and sun drenched conservatory". Excuse me, but there is no longer dining in the Manor House, but instead you walk 5-10 minutes on a poorly signposted walk way to Zinzis, the nearby restaurant, which in our experience was very variable. Although the grounds are attractive, there are no views and some road noise in the early morning.

We suspected something had changed when looking out for the signpost to the hotel from the busy N2, it read "Hunters" and "Tzala Lodge" but no mention of "The Country House". So we drove past and then turned back and went in to find that Hunter's Country House had become The Country House, Tzala Lodge was close by to the right and Zinzis was a new restaurant built between the two Hunter's venues which now served them both as well as being open to the public.

What you have here are thatched cottages in the grounds of an old, very attractive Manor House. The cottages are very attractive, beautifully furnished in a traditional style, and ours had a plunge pool and welcoming plate of cheese and cold meets. The thatch had recently been replaced and there was a strong chemical smell, however, this was not a big issue. The bathroom was spacious and beautifully equiped.Then we found out at the registration about the changes, no dining in the Manor House and an honesty bar. This is such a shame as the lounges are beautiful but nobody uses them. In our experience the cottage in the grounds style of hotel only works if the mother ship is friendly and welcoming. Here you are unlikely to meet other guests as there are no no pre-dinner drinks, or after dinner coffee. Instead guests walk to Zinzis and go back to their cottage. Just not a very sociable or friendly experience.The Manor House has become a Marie Celeste.

The dining experience is variable. Breakfast is taken in a very large rather impersonal conservatory, which when we were there lacked atmosphere due to very few guests. The food was average. Zinzis was very disappointing on the first night, sole being replaced by ordinary yellow fin line fish, and the Persian chicken being tough and dry. The second night the food was excellent. Mussels in cream and steaks being a highlight. Overall, the staff try a bit too hard to please, but this is probably a settling in process, but it fails to find that special relaxed ambiance.

What I am sure used to be a very special hotel has really become a boutque B&B, and an expensive one at that. Similar accomodation was in our experience about half the price we paid at The Country House and just so disappointing as we know from our Gorah experience that this hotel group know how to get it absolutely right. Staff were generally helpful but seemed dispirited as several returning guests had reported the same problems. Probably as a result the hotel planned to shut in the winter, so hopefully things can change again by next summer?

Room Tip: All cottages are well equipped, check the value of each type. The swimming pool is good, so you may...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank doubletriggerracing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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231 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    5
    1
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37
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (53)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Glasgow, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 March 2012

We stayed at Hunters for two nights and loved it. Our suite was in a thatched cottage in the gardens with its own private terrace which was wonderful. The gardens are stunning and the buildings and accommodation have a very English country feel due to the thatched roofs. The position of the buildings encourages you to wander through the beautiful gardens. The restaurant where dinner is served (Zinzi's)is located a short stroll away from the main house and has a great ambience and outlook. The food was great and not overly expensive but remember to book because it is not just for hotel guests. The staff were extremely helpful and were very happy to take time to speak to you and make you feel welcome. We felt as if we made friends here !! We would certainly stay here again and look forward to returning in the future.!

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank David N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brugg, Switzerland
Level Contributor
34 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2012

Entering on a short gravel road from the busy N2 lets you calm down. After passing the gate into the premisses of Hunters, Tsala and Zinzi you feel like entering into a botanical garden. Lots of green, flowers, bushes, trees in a perfect setting. Wish my garden at home looked just a little bit like this. On arrival we were greeted heartly.
Our cottage was a premium cottage with a thached roof - old english style. Secluded between trees an bushes, absolute private. For american readers - reminded us of a Kincade painting.
A huge room, 60m2, with nice interior. A very cosy king size bed with fresh smelling linen, a small wooking area, a sofa in front of the TV and fireplace. Latter ready to use on cold days (which we had experienced in Plettenberg previous visits). I think there is also a floor heating. A fridge, coffee/tea making, safe and a modern aircon. No internet in the cottage (2012), you have to go to the main building to keep in touch with the world. A laptop for guest use has been installed shortly. The bathroom in victorian style, large with fluffy towels. We didn't use the bathtub, but the shower was of good size and with perfect water pressure. Housekeeping provides a perfect service with turn down while you're out for dinner and the room made up when you return from breakfast.
The terrace is divine, so private. We even saw a Lorie (bird) in the near tree.
There's also a kids play area near the large swimming pool. The pool in a nice setting with lots of shaded space to relax. We liked the open tent which was used for dining in the past, now it's a nice place to relax. The Country House has closed its kitchen. They will book your table at ZINZI - and don't miss dinner there! The food is divine, the setting so elegant, the prices very reasonable, and the service attentive.
Do some star gazing, there's no light pollution. We've never seen the milky way so clearly. We just sat on the terrace till midnight, sipping a drink and gazing at the stars. Saw some shooting stars.
There are also some reviews for this property in the file "Hunters Country House, Plettenberg" as restaurant. But, the restaurant at Hunters is closed.
Cons: depending on wind you may hear little noise from the N2.
When entering the room you may notice an odor - from spraying the thatched roof?? We gave the room an airing and enjoyed our stay.

Room Tip: Rooms are all nice. The garden Cottages are smaller - 45m2 than the suites - 60m2 and up.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank kookie7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glasgow, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 February 2012

A nice property in a very quiet location in a forested area. Cottages have an old fashioned style, with heavy curtains and dark furnitur. Although they are spacious and comfortable the furnishings do make the rooms seem a little dark. However the gardens and pool area are lovely and there is a candle lit outside seating area for those inclined to have a drink outdoors in the evening. The hotel's best features are the very friendly and efficient staff and the great breakfast!

The on-site restaurant Zinzi involves a short walk on a poorly lit gravel path, but the darkness and the isolated location make for fantastic star gazing opportunities. Zinzi has a good atmosphere, excellent service and fine food.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank szq_49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tadworth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
113 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 384 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 January 2012

This was a relais et chateaux hotel with a well rated restaurant when we booked it. By the time we arrived, they had given up?? relais et chateaux membership and shut their restaurant. They said they had refreshed the property during a lengthy closure period, but it felt unrefreshed, dated, and empty to us, with very few other guests. A pity, as the location and gardens are lovely, and it is a very peaceful spot. Apparently they are no longer intending to operate year round, but only during the summer months.

Our first cottage had a terrible smell (we were told this was new thatch, but it smelt like a chemical treatment), and seemed dark, dull and unwelcoming, although furnishings were OK. We were moved to another less well appointed but larger family cottage which smelt less strong as only a small amount of thatch had been replaced. We did not appreciate the dated styling of the rooms - Calitzdorp Country House, where we stayed later was nicely furnished with antiques, while the furnishings in this property were more old and dated than antique. In fairness the bed,towels and linens were fine, and the extras items in the room were appropriate to a quality hotel, but the room, which was clean, just didn't work for us and the bathroom needed a refit.

Breakfast in the almost empty and dated conservatory was a lonely experience - with the air con switched off in 40c temperatures - and we worried about fruit and buffet food left out in such hot conditions uncovered and unchilled. At afternoon tea which we were led to believe was complimentary, but which was charged, we were offered gateaux, but then told it was not available as it had melted in the heat!

Staff were universally pleasant, but not always efficient or present - the property seemed to be operating on a shoestring. I did feel for them, as they were trying hard in what I think were difficult circumstances.

Bearing in mind all the previous reviews we can only conclude that much has changed over the last year since the closure.

There was one shining light, which was the super ambiance and food at Zinzi, now the only restaurant option at the adjacent Tsala Treetops Lodge. Excellent, and very good value - but make sure you book in advance as Hunters has no pull to get you in there when you want unless you book ahead. I guess they give priority to Tsala and pre-booked external guests.

We stayed at four different properties during our trip and this was the only one which did not live up to expectations.

Room Tip: Ask for a cottage which gets a little more natural daylight and get confirmation that the thatch pro...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Gaspari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
60 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 January 2012

Although situated just off the main N2 road between Plettenberg and Knysna, the location is beautifully quiet. We stayed three nights in one of the cottages on the estate. One of the factors that influenced our decision to stay here was the fact that there were three restaurants on site according to our information; one at Hunter’s, one at Tsala (the other accommodation on the same estate, and Zinzi’s – a restaurant situated between Hunter’s and Tsala. However, it became clear that our information was out of date, for there is now only one restaurant – Zinzi’s – but I have to say it was absolutely superb. We really enjoyed dining there – and we thought the prices were very reasonable. Breakfasts, which were also very good, were served in the conservatory in Hunter’s.

The cottage itself was quite a pleasant place to stay in the midst of very well maintained grounds. It was marred only by a strange smell – a cross between incense and mothballs. The lighting could have been a bit better, but this didn’t detract from our enjoyment. Although we were warned to keep the windows closed when we went out because of a potential threat of monkeys entering, it was in fact a baboon that wandered in when we were actually in the place. He helped himself to the fruit bowl, and wandered back out again! One slightly surprising aspect was the provision of an old fashioned CRT TV – but we don’t normally sit and watch TV in hotels unless to catch up on news. The bathroom was nicely fitted out with quality fittings and very spacious.

The terrace outside the patio doors was a very pleasant environment to enjoy a drink. We seldom used the bar in the main building – it was eerily quiet – it felt as if we were the only people staying; we never saw any other guests in the place except at breakfast.

We found the staff to be attentive and helpful, although there were some minor failings in restocking consumables in our cottage (eg tea bags). The swimming pool area was really nice.

The rooms themselves do not have wifi – you have to go to the main building to receive it – and even then it had only a very limited range and strength, something I found a bit frustrating. No separate terminal is available to guests, an omission I found surprising in a hotel at this level.

Overall we enjoyed our stay very much, but next time we would look at Tsala’s; we had a quick look at it and it too seemed a very pleasant place to stay.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Honest-Jim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 2012

we stayed here for a couple of nights.
the place is very well run, very friendly staff. And represents excellent value.
rooms are private, spacious well decorated and furnished beautifully, with comfort and taste. Its a very comfortable, homely, cosy atmosphere perfect for relaxing all day. The pool is a good size, and the grounds are well kept and private.
The food is excellent, and again - the staff could not have been more welcoming and efficient.
I would certainly recommend Hunters, and look forward to returning.

Room Tip: we had a suite, which had a private garden area.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bentimbobdin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hunter's Country House

Property: Hunter's Country House
Address: Off N2 | 10 Km's west of Plettenberg Bay, Harkerville, Plettenberg Bay 6600, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Plettenberg Bay > Harkerville
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Harkerville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Hunter's Country House 5*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fragrant and colorful, Hunter's luxuriant gardens create an idyllic setting for this opulent retreat in the heart of the Garden Route. Hunter's Country House combines gracious elegance with sheer comfort and impeccable service with warm hospitality. Far from the madding crowd, yet conveniently close to a wide variety of leisure activities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hunter`s Country House Hotel Harkerville
Hunters Country Hotel
Hunter's Country House South Africa/Harkerville

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