Text & Pix by Chris Marais
The Karoo Heartland – and the vital town of Graaff-Reinet in particular – has received a major shot in the arm with the re-opening of the great old Drostdy Hotel.
And for Karoo fans, it’s just great. Many of the features that made the Drostdy so special in the past have been retained and augmented.
The Bo-Kaap style of Stretch’s Court is still delightfully evident. However, during the re-model, rooms were opened and expanded into stylish apartments with all the conveniences your upmarket modern-day traveller needs.
You’re walking down a 19th Century cobbled road with Victorian street lamps, flanked by pastel-coloured doorways and it feels like you arrived on the old Zeederburg horse carriage.
And then you step inside your lodgings, and you could be in a smart hotel in New York City. CNN at the flick of a remote on the large flat screen, wi-fi, cappuccino on call, heated towel racks for the cold Karoo winter nights, essential air-con, mini-bar and fluffy after-shower dressing gown that makes you feel like Jack Nicholson on vacation.
The other accommodation areas, Ferreira precinct and Kromm’s Court, also have their own pool areas and particular style.
The Church Street entrance to the hotel is now closed. That section has been upgraded into a classic cigar lounge where you can escape into the Old Karoo with some carefully-curated local literature and a cognac.
There is a bar, a gym, the Africology spa, the all-meal Camdeboo Restaurant, an art gallery, a boardroom, a wine shop and a wine cellar – all beautifully laid-out and finished.
The staff, many of whom are trainees from the local Tourism College and hail from all corners of southern Africa, are getting the work experience of their lives at The Drostdy. And, judging by their friendly smiles, they seem to enjoy working at this brand-new old establishment.
It’s worth noting that although the dishes served at the Camdeboo Restaurant are world-class, their prices are actually quite reasonable. Local Graaff-Reinetters have been popping in to see the revamp and sample the wares produced by executive chef Justin Pillay and his team – and they seem to have been delighted by the results.
For bookings and enquiries, call 049 892 2161 or have a look at their website http://www.drostdy.co.za.