It has it all.
Visual impact, luxury of years gone by, activities to entertain everyone, and enough food to feed the pre-slimmed down Royal Family 🙂 We were even blessed with the beautiful Drakensberg “mist” that added to the charm of our stay, giving it an ethereal feel.
Champagne Castle Hotel is pretty close to being an ultimate experience. There is no better hotel positioned with more dramatic and immediate views of the Drakensberg than this one, you are literally in the heart and center. We arrived when it was misty which actually made it even more magical. As the mist lifted you just saw more and more incredible mountains and peaks around you.
As this is a family blog I’m going to focus from a family point of view first, though if you are looking for a hotel that boasts it all for the more discerning guests, then you have certainly found it here as well. If you are looking to book for a family, you have two options. The deluxe family rooms which are 6 double-storey family rooms, with each having a patio and balcony.
You can also choose the self catering house, which we did, as we went with a bunch of friends and it allowed us more space to “take over”. The family rooms have a upstairs and downstairs bedrooms each with an en-suite bathroom off the room. Whilst the self catering houses have up to 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, dining room and a lounge with a fireplace. I’m pretty sure they were bigger then my own house and had a fully equipped kitchen, complete with high chairs for the little ones. They were heavenly and from what I understand, a bit more “modern” then some of the hotel rooms. The hotel itself is old but the self catering chalets were added on afterwards, so they have newer finishes to them.
If you stay in the hotel then breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus morning and afternoon tea are all included in your stay, except of course, for the self-catering chalets. So if eating and drinking is your thing, then you have scored big time. There is always something on offer, so best to make use of those walking trails to burn all the excess calories off.
Breakfasts include cereals, fruits, and yoghurts to cooked options and continental ones, without forgetting the ever popular pastries, waffles, and pancakes.
The hotel also has two lounges, one casual and one a bit more formal which is an adults only lounge. No shorts are allowed in the dining room after 6 pm. I have to say, this may annoy some people, but for me personally, with 3 young kids I can fully appreciate this. “Old school” rules are actually sometimes nice and people appreciate them. It adds a bit of elegance.
There is no shortage of selection in terms of food, with options from soups and breads, cooked meats, vegetarian, pasta, fish, roasted veggies, accompanied by a whole host of divine desserts and cheeses. We stayed self catering so didn’t personally dine there but from what I have heard the staff in the dining room are exceptional.
This is what I rank a “family” resort on. The availability of activities to do, not only for the kids, but for mum and dad too. It doesn’t have to be purely within the hotel boundaries, but near enough to enjoy. Champagne castle has an incredible animal farm for children to explore. Chickens, rabbits, ducks, goats and ducks; petting farms are always a winner with younger kids. They also have stables on site and you can choose from a walk around the paddock for your kids to more advanced rides through the mountain trails. This applies for residents and day visitors to the hotel as well.
They also have an aviary towards the back of reception. I’ll be honest though, this needed a bit of work and seems to have been a bit neglected. Though we did spot a tortoise and some colourful birds, but it didn’t overwhelm us at all.
Growing up I remember always running to check out a resorts “playroom” and I still get excited when I see hotels that advertise them. I think it’s a charm of years gone by and I love that the boys are at the age now where they really enjoy a game of pool or table tennis. The hotel has a playroom, although again, its in desperate need of a bit of an update. There’s table tennis, a pool table and a lounge area for board games to keep up the entertainment if the weather outside is miserable. There is no shortage of outdoor activities either, the pool, tennis and badminton courts, volleyball, lawn bowls, giant chess, a jungle gym and well as a dam to fish. It really does cater to everyone’s needs. Let’s not forget that the majority of guests do come to do a little hiking in the pristine countryside.
The hotel offers guided walks at 09.15 every morning, with a return promised before lunch. Maps and routes are also available from reception should you wish to do a self guided walk, though I’m not sure if I trust my sense of direction.
Sadly I didn’t get a chance to check out the spa facilities, but fully intend on maximizing on this for our next stay. (Yes, I would return in a heartbeat).
The surrounding area has no shortage of activities either;
- The Drakensberg Canopy Tour is a fun adventure for the whole family.
- Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Center is right next door to the hotel.
- There is no shortage of golf courses in the area, both a 9 hole as well as an 18.
- Champagne castle Adventure Centre is within about 5 minutes of the hotel and offers team activities such as archery, abseiling, paintball, river rafting, zip-lining and quad-biking as well as a younger kids area (3-7).
- Explore some of the beautiful home industry bakeries
My focus for the last 2 years has been on finding local places for our family to travel, finding locations across South Africa that are affordable, and family friendly with activities and amenities for the whole family to enjoy in comfort. If you are looking for a great weekend away, then Champagne Castle Hotel ticks all of these boxes and then some.
If you are looking for a truly magical weekend away, less than 4 hours from Johannesburg, Champagne Castle Hotel is magical. There are other hotels nearby that may cater more for children, but for us, and our children, Champagne Castle Hotel was perfect. It was particularly misty when we were there, which just added to the magical charm. With the horses grazing in the paddocks, overlooked by the giant mountain peaks, I felt like I was walking through a storybook.