Fordoun : A tranquil sanctuary in the Midlands
Last July on a media trip to the Midlands, I was lucky enough to go for a walk through the grounds of Fordoun Hotel and Spa.As it was the middle of winter everything was in 50 shades of brown but nonetheless utterly beautiful.Driving down the long driveway lined with beautiful trees that welcome you one does feel like they are entering a secret place.
Just before the Easter Holidays ,I was fortunate enough to stay at this sanctuary for two days of utter bliss.This time Fordoun looked very different and was 50 shades of green rather than brown.With ample parking there was no need to battle to find a shaded spot.As soon as we stepped out the car ,the sound of water running caught my attention.Checking in was fairly easy and not a problem even though we were earlier than the stipulated check- in time.We were early as I had pre- booked us spa treatments,it is important to book in advance as the spa is pretty busy with not only guests staying at the hotel.As we were staying for two days here ,we decided to take out everything from the car.The lovely Emmanuel who had only recently started working there loaded up our bags and us onto a golf cart to get us to our own.Our room was literally a two minute walk from reception so we had a lil giggle about our drive.From the outside the pristine white buildings were eye catching and I could not wait to see what our room looked like.Having read up on Fordoun before our trip ,I knew that each room was unique with a different theme.
Accomodation at Fordoun
There is a mixture of hotel rooms and self catering cottages.There are family rooms which are superior suites or luxurious suites.It is also a wedding venue and can accommodate 200 guests while the conference venue can host 100 delegates.
Our room was a luxurious suite which was called the Nguni room named after the Nguni cows.A quick walk through the room and I was blown away by just how spacious the room was and the bathroom was just something else with a large jacuzzi styled bath tub and a shower not forgetting the excellent lighting and mirrors perfect for putting your make up on.Seperating the bathroom and the bedroom was a large dressing area with cupboards,iron ,hairdryer and a vanity table.A king size bed that looked so inviting that I had to tear myself away from the room as we were getting late for our Spa appointments.
When I initially made the booking a month prior to the visit I was very impressed with the treatments on offer as well as the fact they used Dermologica products for their facials.Once my booking was confirmed ,I was sent a spa etiquette list ,now this I found very useful as I knew what to expect prior to us arriving.Bathing costumes are a must for and arriving 30 minutes prior to your treatments is very important as there is a lot tp do before your pampering starts.Before we got to the spa we grabbed our costumes, sandals and a hairband for me.On entering the Spa one could feel a sense of calm and serenity and it is was if we were entering another world. We were warmly welcomed by Lara who showed us around the spa before showing us the changing rooms. Soft music echoed in the corridors with candles giving a romantic feel to the area, the juice bar / waiting room in between treatments was large , airy and bright.
We headed off quickly to get ready for some pampering.The change rooms had lockable lockers for your clothing and other items and yes phones must be on silent.A shower and bathroom was inside with a hair dryer and hair straightner.We slipped into the comfy towelling gowns and slippers provided and headed off to the juice bar to had some refreshments and fill in our forms.After all that it was time for the pampering to start the first part was the floatation pool not having done this before I was a lil scared.When we got into the room we were told to shower first before getting into the floatation pool which had salt crystals in the water.After showering the lights were dimmed and it was time to step into the silo stairs led down into the pool ,without glasses and a lil afraid I needed some help down the stairs into what I soon discovered was a shallow pool.I floated around listening to the soothing music and after what felt like ages but in reality only 15 minutes it was time to shower ,hydrate and get ready next for the next round of pampering.It is very important during and after a spa treatment to drink loads of water.
For part two we lead into a beautiful mosaic room and given disposable undies to put on.We were told to use the huge bowl of clay and rub it all over our bodies.After loads of laughter from slipping into our very sexy not ! underwear it was time to be a kid again and play in the mud.Steam jets followed but water jets to help the mud set then wash off.It was a lot of fun but boy oh boy was there mud everywhere and it did take a good scrub to get all the mud of.Tip of the day remove all jewellery prior to treatment you will thank me later.Feeling all squeaky clean it was time for much needed massages.
Feeling totally relaxed and a mode of tranquility surrounding off we realised it would soon be sunset and we defo want to catch the African sunset against the Drakensberg Mountain.Grabbing our cameras,phones and a bottle of chilled Da Luca Prosecco (in other news this is now one of my most favourites) we headed for a walk along the tranquil property and we came across some rather beautiful cows just chilling in the field.The sun literally set rather quickly within minutes and the crisp fresh mountain air and all that pampering we had actually skipped lunch and was rather ravenous.
I had read several reviews on the food at Fordoun.Every review raved on about the amazing dishes that the chef creates daily.The menu is seasonal with locally sourced ingredients and a whole lot of and passion goes into every meal that leaves the kitchen.On our way back to our room we met Chef and Julz(literally the powerhouse that looks after everything ) who were out with the cutest lil dog called Donald Trump ,and had a chat about the menu.I am always keen to learn about the vegetarian options even though I do eat meat.Julz did say that we should order dessert to be delivered to our room as we would be too exhausted after all our pampering to make it the end.We laughed it off but TIP 2 listen to Julz she knows what she is talking about.
Food at Fordoun
After quick showers we were ready for dinner.The dining room is based with the main hotel reception and has a beautiful lounge area ,bar and an old fashioned cigar lounge.The dining room also serves breakfast and lunch.The menu is large enough with something for all tastebuds.We ordered starters and main meals but were way to stuffed and sleepy to have dessert.Portion sizes were very generous and beautifully plated not forgetting packed with flavour.The wine selection has a good variety of South African wine but what impressed me the most was the craft beer menu from the local Nottingham Brewery and the locally brewed Rawdons Gin.
After dinner ,we literally rolled ourselves out from the main reception into the crisp still evening.And what awaited us was utterly beautiful ,the night sky was filled with hundreds of sparkling stars with the silence only broken by the sounds of Mother Nature this was a perfect end to a perfect day.In our rpom our bed was turned down,curtains drawn,heating turned on ,nougat on the pillow and a bed time story written by Mr Bates left on your pillow.Within fifteen minutes the land of nod called rather quickly.
Feeling refreshed but a lil bit tender from the massages from the day before,we slept in for a bit before heading to breakfast.If dinner was anything to go by I knew dinner was going by I knew breakfast was going to be a feast.Breakfast included a cold buffet of fruit,yoghurts,cheese,cold meats,pastries and cereals followed by a hot cooked breakfast menu and the most amazing fruit smoothies I have ever had.Tummys filled we were ready to explore the Midlands.
The choice of staying two days at Fordoun was the best decision I made for several reasons :
1.We got to sample more of the delicious menu and as a person who appreciates good food this was a food heaven.
2.We actually got to relax with no distractions from the outside world and that included not even switching on the TV.
3.We got to experience the various amenities available at Fordoun.
4.We got to spend quality time together ,talking ,going for a stroll and discovering the Midlands.
5.We got to feed our bodies ,minds and soul with all sorts of goodness with the pollution of the world.
Fordoun Hotel and Spa is owned by the Bates family since the late 1940’s.European settlers to Kwa Zulu Natal set up home in the area and there is evidence in the names and building styles.There were an influx of Scottish settlers and it is no wonder that Fordoun is named after a lake in Scotland and the Skye Bisto which is the on site restaurant is named after the Isle of Skye.This beautiful hotel was once a dairy and a grain silo has been converted into a floatation pool with stars on the ceiling.
Fordoun contact details
Call : +27 (0) 332666 217
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Web : www.fordoun.com
I will defo be returning here in the winter to experience the roaring fireplace and the romance that comes with winter.
Be Inspired !
Ps I was a hosted guest of Fordoun but as always my views are my own.