The Drostdy has always been one of the select few grand old hotels of the Karoo.
As the prime accommodation in Graaff-Reinet, it began its “hotel life” as Kromm’s Drostdy Hotel back in 1876.
The Drostdy had many re-models and facelifts over the century to come, the latest being an intensive upgrade that has taken more than 24 months to complete.
Always eager to see what our neighbours across the Wapads Berg are up to, Julie and I traipsed over the mountain across to Graaff-Reinet from our home town of Cradock this week.
Because our prime job is to promote the Karoo, we were very keen to see what had happened to The Drostdy.
First impressions were gathered from the wide and warm smiles of the hotel staff, many of whom are recently-graduated trainees at the local Tourism College. They were as chuffed to welcome us as we were to be there, and it showed. In fact, we were probably among the very first hotel guests they had ever welcomed to a “real establishment”.
We were staying in an upstairs executive suite at Stretch’s Court, one of three accommodation layouts at The Drostdy. It’s a street of up-down apartments painted in white-and-pastel, reminiscent of the buildings of Bo-Kaap down south in Cape Town.
I liked the classy functionality of the suite, especially the wi-fi, the big flat screen, the very cool Nespresso coffee machine, the working desk and the huge bed. And although we quickly trashed the room with laptop computers, research books, all manner of camera equipment and clobber, it did look quite elegant just before we walked in.
GM Kurt Peter, tasked with the job of running a world-class establishment with a core team of top professionals and a high percentage of trainees, has just the right temperament to handle a classy Karoo hotel. Everything is done with a sense of purpose – and a wry sense of humour.
His Executive Chef Justin Pillay relishes the role of presenting Karoo cuisine in innovative ways. He also loves the friendly vibe of the Graaff-Reinet people, the way they greet you on the street and the adventure of rootling around to source local ingredients to bring back to his kitchen.
We tried out some excellent red wines and I was tempted to blow the budget and hunker down in the midst of an excellent Karoo rainstorm in the elegant Cigar Lounge with a Cuban and a single malt.
Instead, I just photographed the place and was delighted to find our books, Karoo Keepsakes I and II, lurking in the Karoo Literature section of the library.
Remgro’s Johann Rupert, prime mover behind The Drostdy and all its upgrades, has shown great faith in his home town and the Karoo in general with this massive investment.
So next time you come bustling through the Karoo, slow down and stop over. You might even be tempted to give in to the charms of that Cigar Lounge…
- For bookings and enquiries, call 049 892 2161 or have a look at their website drostdy.co.za.