If first impressions are what count the most, then the winding roads leading into Walkersons Private Country Estate surrounded by breathtaking mountain views make a good introduction of Walkersons Hotel & Spa. On the way to check-in at the hotel’s reception after a warm welcome at the gate, one can’t help but already feel at home at this lush hotel.
The reception area with its elegant and classic décor creates that Scottish country manor feel that is described so well on the website. The deep and warm rustic colours add to that homey feel to increase your comfort.
‘Countryside tranquility personified’
Walkersons Hotel & Spa is the ideal winter getaway spot. It is a great escape from the city rush located just 300km outside Johannesburg. It is a dive into relaxation in the province of Mpumalanga. Walkersons Hotel & Spa is found in the 800 hectares of Walkersons private estate and boasts breathtaking views of the hills and dams as part of its immediate surrounding.
The scenery at Walkersons captures an ethereal winter beauty that only a special eye can see. Its five-star accommodation offers a choice between the Grand Country Hotel – consisting of 24 bedroom suites and one honeymoon suite – and four fully furnished self-catering cottages. Although the hotel rates may not be easy on the pocket, the option of the self-catering cottages makes a great budget-friendly alternative.
The Hotel suites are equally breathtaking and comfortable with their modern décor and warm touch. The fireplace and underfloor heating also come in handy on cold winter days. The self-catering cottages are great for family holidays and group getaways.
With a number of dams surrounding the hotel, one of Walkersons’ main activities is flyfishing. It’s no surprise that fly fishing is a main attraction at the hotel as Dullstroom is a fly fishing capital. Other activities include light walks around the estate’s walking trails, hiking and mountain biking. Also on location is a gym for fitness fanatics who may wish to keep their gym routine intact. However, the great outdoor activities offered at the hotel would convince any gym enthusiast to ditch the gym for an outdoor workout.
One of the hotel’s other highlights is its spa, Amani Spa. Amani offers a variety of treatments for guests to indulge in. It matches its tranquil surroundings with its calming feel and professional therapists whose relaxing touch adds to the tranquility.
It’s wine o’clock
Local flavour: Walkersons stocks South African wines from local boutique vineyards
Just a few steps away from the hotel’s main reception is the hotel’s wine cellar. The wine cellar is a feast for the eyes for wine lovers and carries some of the best wine in the country. The cellar has been at the hotel since its inception with the wine selection changing from one year to another.
Walkerson’s Hotel & Spa General Manager Katie Christie says that the hotel changes its wine selection each year to keep up with the different trends in the industry and to introduce new wines to their wide-range selection.
Speaking about the hotel’s accolades and its impressive wine selection, Christie boasts of their Diners Club Winelist Award by saying that: “We’ve just been awarded our Diners Club Diamond Award. For many years we were Platinum, which is one level down from the top, and three years ago we were awarded our Diamond for the first time and have managed to maintain that standard for three years running.”
The Diners Club Winelist Awards seek out restaurants that have innovative wine lists that are compatible with their food menus. Walkersons’ is one of two restaurants in the province of Mpumalanga to have received the prestigious award.
Small as it may be, the hotel’s wine cellar carries a wine selection that caters to any wine lover’s palate. The selection ranges from entry level wines to some top high-end brands that can only be bought on request. Their selection consists of more red wines than white, as the style and feel of the hotel lends itself to a red wine environment.
“We have something for everybody. From your entry level wines for the people who just want a nice glass of wine up to the top high-end wine that you cannot buy off the shelf in a bottle store. We try to do a nice mix of the well-known wines as well as those that people have never heard of before”, Christie says.
Keeping to their proudly South African spirit, Walkersons stocks South African wines from local boutique vineyards and their wine list consists of local wines from different regions of the country. Some of the top high-end wines include the red blend Kanonkop Paul Sauer and the Cabernet Sauvignon Rustenburg Peter Barlow.
Guests can delight themselves with a bottle of wine from this enticing walk-in wine cellar.
Meet Chef Adri
A Walkersons experience is not complete without its delectable food. Head chef Adri Wieringen and his team prepare the most delectable and delightful food you can imagine. Chef Adri keeps hotel guests on their toes by presenting a flavourful five-course menu that changes every night.
For instance, a typical fine dining experience at the hotel would include a starter of trio trout with horseradish cream, sliced green apple and crispy Parma ham nested on micro green salad and drizzled with dill vinaigrette. A main course of crispy duck nested on potato croquettes accompanied by vegetables and glazed with black cherry sauce. To conclude the meal would be a dessert of raspberry and lemon ravioli with black pepper and balsamic berries accompanied by lemon sorbet and home-made sherbert. Mouthwatering, isn’t it?
The five-course meal can be paired with the selection of wines available from the hotel’s walk-in wine cellar to complement Chef Adri’s culinary creations. Dinner is served in the elegant dining room, with the fires lit if the evening is turning chilly.
Chef Adri, who has been with the hotel for 10 years, belongs to the elite Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and the South African Chefs’ association and aims to please with every meal he prepares. He says his variety and international touch to his dishes make the food at Walkersons special.
“The variety of my dishes and the international feel to the way I do them is what makes the food stand out. I had a 25-year career flying with SAA and, in my last five years of flying, I did quite a few international domesticated cooking courses in different cities such as Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Sydney. All those years of eating those international foods trained my palate and that has inspired the type of meals I prepare at Walkersons,” he says.
Breakfast and lunch are other treats that hotel restaurant offers. The breakfast menu features modern meal options and puts a twist on traditional breakfast meals such as the eggs benedict and the English breakfast. Lunch offers an equally tantalising experience. The Terrace Menu presents a selection of full meals and some lighter options. The Terrace Menu is the less formal menu for day visitors and guests who are staying at the self-catering cottages on the estate.
Chef Adri continually shares his passion for cooking and says that, to him, cooking is about making others happy and sharing knowledge with them.