THE INN CROWD

Sunday Times - - Travel - © Nick Yell

LO­CA­TION

At 17 Reitz Street (op­po­site an old, stone church) in the quiet idyll of Fouries­burg — land of cherry wine and sculpted sand­stone moun­tains in the high­lands of the Eastern Free State.

ROOMS

There are 35 rooms un­der the inn’s man­age­ment, 31 in the ho­tel’s grounds (six are in a sep­a­rate sand­stone house within the precinct) and an ad­di­tional four at “Craig’s Cor­ner” across the street. The rooms vary in spa­cious­ness and com­fort (lux­ury, stan­dard, sin­gle and fam­ily rooms avail­able) but all are taste­fully dec­o­rated in a clas­sic style and have their own out­side ve­ran­dahs, which look out onto the well-kept gar­dens.

STYLE

Own­ers Gilly and René Scheepers took over a few years ago and have been steadily up­grad­ing the décor and fa­cil­i­ties. Its style is au­then­tic and ele­gant, while the quan­tity and qual­ity of orig­i­nal art­works, mostly lo­cal, on dis­play are im­pres­sive.

FA­CIL­I­TIES

There is safe, off-street park­ing, a 70-seater dining-room, a for­mal lounge and a com­fort­able TV lounge in the must-visit “Ladies Bar” (it’s cov­ered in old rail­way mem­o­ra­bilia), plus a well-stocked wine cel­lar. The long stoep in front of the ho­tel is a good place to en­joy a cup of cof­fee and watch the slow pace of small-town life trickle by.

SER­VICE

In a word: ex­cel­lent. We couldn’t have asked for bet­ter.

EAT­ING

Our party had din­ner and break­fast at the ho­tel and we found the se­lec­tion of good coun­try fare var­ied, the por­tions size­able and the food tasty. Break­fast is in­cluded in the overnight rate, while din­ner and lunch are pro­vided from an à la carte menu.

THE ‘DO’ LIST

With Le­sotho only 10km away, Fouries­burg is a good launch-pad for a visit to Katse Dam or a tran­sit through the king­dom.

But there’s much to do lo­cally as well: the re­gion and neigh­bour­ing towns boast gal­leries and nu­mer­ous craft shops, while there’s also cherry wine and a num­ber of re­gional craft beers to taste, not to men­tion many restau­rants and cof­fee shops to choose from. Should you be in­ter­ested in hik­ing, horse-rid­ing, white-wa­ter raft­ing, hot-air bal­loon­ing or vis­it­ing San rock-art sites, the inn’s staff will point you in the right di­rec­tion.

BEST TIME TO GO

March to Novem­ber for the best weather, as well as spe­cial events, in­clud­ing “Stars of Sand­stone”, in April, and the an­nual Cherry Fes­ti­val in nearby Ficks­burg in Novem­ber.

RATES

R665-R765 pps/pn; R665-R915 sin­gles, de­pen­dent on type of room cho­sen. Chil­dren un­der 11 pay half price while un­der-5s stay free.

BOOK­ING

fouries­burgcoun­tryinn.co.za.

L

Pic­ture: Nick Yell NICK YELL

FOURIES­BURG COUN­TRY INN, FREE STATE WHAT THE WALLS MIGHT SAY The Fouries­burg Coun­try Inn is a 125-year-old busi­ness.

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