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“EXPERIENCE REAL KAROO HOSPITALITY”

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The Retreat at Groenfontein
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 March 2012

Sometimes one chooses a place so one can explore the surrounding locality - but here is a delightful Victorian hotel which is really a destination in itself. There are extensive gardens from which are many miles of hiking trails. You can swim in the river or the dam or the hotel pool. Go outside after dark and lie on your back looking up. The sky is encrusted with millions of stars. It is awesome and humbling. And listen to the silence.
Marie and Grant are multi lingual and make one very welcome and of course are a fund of local knowledge. They encourage bird life in the gardens, so one can view many species from the veranda of the main house where breakfast and dinner are served. We loved the table d'hote dinner and the relaxed and friendly evenings spent together with the other hotel guests. We are already planning a return visit. .

Room Tip: The purpose built suites in the grounds of the hotel are extremely spacious and comfortable. Well...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank celiajm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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204 - 210 of 272 reviews

Reviewed 13 February 2012

We had read about the Retreat in a guide book and it sounded fabulous. We were not disappointed. We had decided to drive Route 62 rather than take the more conventional route to the Garden route. This meant we travelled through the Little Karoo. Fabulous scenery and when you get to Calitzdorp you turn left and drive for about 23 km down an untarmaced road to get to the Retreat but don't worry it is fine for any car - less pot holes than most roads in England. The setting for the Retreat is spectacular. We had booked a room in the main house (which looked delightful but did not have a view) but Marie our hostess showed us a room in one of the outbuildings in the grounds and the fabulous views of the hills and mountains persuaded us to up grade. We had 2 nights which meant one full day and we just chilled out by the pool and did a short walk and watched the birds, wild tortoises and other wildlife. Could easily have managed another night and done some more walking but if you are looking for anything else then this is not the place for you. Breakfast and dinner are served on the verandah of the main house overlooking the beautiful gardens and you sit with other guests and your hosts Grant and Marie who are very hospitable (if somewhat eccentric) but if you want to be on your own this is not the place for you. We enjoyed mixing in but obviously it is pot luck who might be staying there. After we left we drove across the Swartberg Pass which was spectacular. Didn't get to the Cango Caves this time but would definitely go back to the Retreat.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Martin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

If you are looking for fabulous walks in beautiful mountains, this is the place for you. The retreat center is beautifully set in a remote area, very quiet and peaceful. I and my husband, both in our late sixties, spent two days here enjoying early morning walks in the sunrise, swims in the dam, and delicious dinners in good company at night. Marie and Grant are wonderful hosts that make you feel at home. Our only problem was when the temperature turned 42 C and there was no air condition!

Room Tip: We very much enjoyed staying in room no 7, a suite in one of the annexes, with a terrace with a beau...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Haege
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2012

Good accommodation and quirky hosts. It is a long way from anywhere so be prepared for isolation, but also a wonderful opportunity to relax and stop travelling. We particularly enjoyed eating with all the other guests on the terrace. Wonderful view of the Milky Way at night as there is no light pollution.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Pepper808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2012

We were totally surprised what we have found! For people who are tired of city life, this is just what the doctor ordered! It is the most tranquil place where you can enjoy the unspoiled nature and do some hiking in the mountains, swim in real unpolluted, cool rock pools in the mountain stream when hot. Most comfortable accommodation, we had king size bed with pristine linen and everything else we needed. Marie spoil t us with the most delicious food, and we also enjoyed to made friends with other guests at the big dinner table. Most strongly recommended.

Room Tip: Stayed in cottage type accommodation outside main house. Beautiful views and very quiet.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jeanette K
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Reviewed 21 December 2011

A unique experience. Dow to earth people running it - with a continental touch. Marie, who make the most delicious food is Swedish. She and Grant are the most charming hosts. This is a place where you can recharge your batteries, chill out, think. A Retreat in every sense of the word.

Room Tip: The outside bungalows are a little more expensive, but well worth the extra for special privacy + an...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Jeean P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2011

This really is a place where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the views, birds and surrounding nature. Hikes are availible, but also just sitting on the verandah or near the pool is a treat. The lovely hosts really make you feel welcome and introduce you to other guests. The meals are excellent, the rooms clean and comfortable.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Nicolet R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Retreat at Groenfontein

Address: Groenfontein Valley, Calitzdorp 6660, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Calitzdorp
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 20 Speciality Lodging in Calitzdorp
Price Range: £45 - £123 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Retreat at Groenfontein 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This award winning destination, a nature reserve, 20kms from Calitzdorp, adjoining the Swartberg World heritage site, offers simple luxury, friendly service, and a relaxed ambience, with delicious, wholesome meals and caters for vegetarians and food intolerances. Evenings are spent in the company of fellow guests and friendly hosts. In this haven of tranquillity enjoy birding, walking trails, relaxing in the lovely gardens, at the dams, river or pool, or do day outings to attractions in the area, such as ostrich farms, Cango caves, Swartberg pass, and others. ... more   less 
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