Luxurious, romantic getaway

Miarestate Boutique Hotel and Game Reserve has earned its five stars in that it has all the ingredients needed for a relaxing weekend away, writes Kathryn Kimberley

START off with a romantic setting, add a culinary genius as a chef and top it off with an exclusive spa – who can say no to that?

The luxurious Miarestate Boutique Hotel and Game Reserve engulfs 740 hectares of wildlife estate in Haga Haga, a well worth it four-hour drive from Port Elizabeth.

Having only officially opened its doors on July 1, my husband Michael and I were in for a real treat when we were given a little taste of heaven before it was even open for business.

The hotel’s elevated position gives guests a 360-degree view of the wildlife, which includes giraffe, blesbuck, impala, grey duiker, zebra, bush buck and blue wildebeest, against the contrasting view of the sea.

For a romantic weekend away, this is the perfect setting.

The hotel boasts a total of nine double rooms, including three deluxe rooms, four superior rooms – with the added luxury of an adjoining garden and outdoor shower – and two executive rooms – each with a private plunge pool.

All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, minibar, DStv, climate control and my favourite – butler service.

Hubby and I were put up in a superior room.

Having spent the first portion of our weekend away at a self-catering unit in Haga Haga, Miarestate was in great contrast, but a welcome change.

On arrival at the exclusive hotel – where we were to be treated like celebrities for the next 24-hours – we were greeted by the lovely manageress, Lauren Steyn. While our car was unpacked, Lauren showed us around. We were careful not to spill our delicious martinis, handed to us as welcoming drinks.

The bedrooms are exquisite with king-size beds, a luxurious bath and a romantic turn-down service. I would definitely recommend Miarestate as a honeymoon getaway.

While Michael and I settled in, a fire was lit in the lounge area, where we were to enjoy some cocktails before dinner.

Before arriving at Miarestate, we were already aware of the accolades of their in-house chef, Hajierah Hamit, formerly of Kichaka Game Lodge.

The restaurant area was dolled up with candles and soft music, and we were excited to tuck into our five-course meal, cooked by the five-star chef. The hotel also boasts a well thought out wine list.

After some freshly baked bread rolls and butter, Michael and I each enjoyed a creamy cauliflower and blue cheese soup topped with croutons. While I am not a fan of blue cheese, the combination of the pungent cheese with a vegetable was the perfect duo and made for great texture.

The soup was very rich so I was unfortunately not able to finish mine, but I knew I had to leave room for what was to come.

After cleansing our pallets with a vodka and peach sorbet, beautifully presented in a martini glass with caramelised toffee, we were delighted to receive our main course.

Michael chose the lamb shank served on roasted veggies and biltong mashed potatoes, while I opted for the mini seafood platter, which included bread-crusted mussels, grilled prawns and the catch of the day, served with a lemon and garlic butter sauce and rice.

My generously sized prawns were cooked to perfection.

Michael, meanwhile, boasted that his melt-off- the-bone lamb shank was the best he had ever tasted, and insisted that I try to make the biltong mash at home.

For dessert I had the most delicious slice of baked cheesecake topped with fresh gooseberries.

Coffee and an array of biscuits and cheeses were served before we called it a night.

Back at our room, we were pleasantly surprised with a turn-down service of candles, champagne, chocolate truffles and petals. After a late sleep, breakfast was prepared for us on the deck, overlooking the game farm. The view was breathtaking.

Once again, breakfast was five-star.

Apart from the freshly squeezed orange juice, Michael enjoyed some muesli and yoghurt, while I tucked into a spread of cheeses, freshly baked breads, figs, olives and salami.

Next was a warm meal of fried bread, eggs, crispy bacon, fried tomato and beef sausage.

Before hitting the road back to Port Elizabeth, I received a one-hour full-body massage in the beautiful spa area. This was by far the best part of my trip.

All in all, hubby and I could not have wished for a more romantic getaway.

And despite one or two teething problems such as a burst water pipe in the spa area, the hotel is destined to become one of the greatest attractions in the Eastern Cape.

Mark my words.

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