A Weekend At Brahman Hills
Confession time: I’ve never been to the KZN Midlands. Well, that’s not strictly true – as a kid, I was a big swimmer (suddenly my shoulders make sense to you, right?) so we’d head down to do the Midmar Mile every year, which is in the midlands. But, we’d mostly stay in Durban rather than the midlands themselves, and it was always for a quick weekend that consisted mostly of swimming and eating as many carbs as I possibly could (back when carbo-loading was a positive in my life, not just a death sentence.) So, when I was invited to spend the weekend at Brahman Hills, I didn’t really have any expectations. The photos on the website looked incredible, so I knew it was going to be something special, but it wasn’t until I started mentioning my impending trip to other people that I realised just how special the weekend would be. Every single person that I told about the trip would immediately gasp and say how jealous they were, how much they loved the midlands, and what an incredible time I was bound to have at Brahman Hills. So, by the time our Land Rover pulled into the parking lot on a Thursday afternoon, I was pretty darn excited.
Brahman Hills is about a 4-hour car journey from Joburg, so it’s really doable for a weekend away. I was lucky enough to be spending the weekend there with 5 other female travel bloggers and journalists, which was genuinely one of the loveliest (and most inspirational!) ways that I have ever spent a weekend. Along with these amazing women, I spent the weekend eating, hiking, eating, being pampered, eating, laughing my head off, and oh yeah, eating. It was spectacular.
Staying at Brahman Hills
Until quite recently, Brahman Hills traded under the name The Windmills (so called because of all the windmills dotted around the entrance and the property itself.) Having undergone an extensive renovation, Brahman Hills has managed to retain their old school farm charm while really upping their game to become an incredible luxury getaway. When it comes to accommodation, you’ve got two choices: you can either stay in one of the beautiful hotel rooms (each of which has its own little private garden and bathroom), or you can stay in one of the self-catering cottages which are on the property’s Blue Crane nature reserve.
We stayed in two three bedroom cottages, both of which were equipped with the most beautiful lounge, dining, and kitchen areas. Plus, each room has its own en-suite bathroom, so if you head out as a family or as friends, there will be minimal sharing. And the bedrooms are INCREDIBLE. Each room is individually decorated with plush midlands decor, but still maintains the overall charm of Brahman Hills. And the bed was absolutely amazing: large, comfortable, loads of pillows, and if the weather is cold the turn-down service includes the team turning on the heated blanket for you. I was in heaven.
The highlight of staying in the cottages, unsurprisingly, is the view. Each individual cottage has its own deck, complete with braai, jacuzzi, and breathtaking views over the nature reserve. Pour yourself a G&T (like we did!) and sit and watch the zebras go by from the comfort of your own hot tub. And if you don’t actually feel like cooking in your self-catering cottage (and once you hear about the food, you may not want to!) then you can get the team to come and prepare a braai right there on your deck, or you can just pop over to the main hotel and choose from the many delicious options for eating there.
Eating at Brahman Hills
Whenever you go on a media trip, the team will ask if you have any dietary requirements, and I generally say no, despite the fact that I have Type 1 diabetes. This isn’t because I don’t want them to know, but because most of the time when you tell a hotel or restaurant that you don’t eat sugar or carbohydrates, they freak out and give you a single piece of lettuce for every meal. (I exaggerate, but you get the point.) At Brahman Hills, the opposite was true. With both myself and another of the journalists on a very low sugar diet, the incredible chef, Stacy White, saw it as an opportunity to really push herself in the low-sugar area, and the food we ate all weekend was insane. If I could, I’d live in Stacy’s kitchen for my entire life – her food was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Book yourself in for a meal at Brahman Cafe, which serves as the hotel’s main dining space, or you can also book dinner at 89 on Copper, which is the beautiful basement restaurant with its own bar. The space is beautiful – but then it’s no surprise that exposed brick and copper would be right up my alley.
Exploring Brahman Hills
On our second day at Brahman Hills, we woke early and headed to The Agility Hub, yet another breathtaking spot on the property. A new build, it’s available for conferences or other functions, and has doors that completely fold out so that you can look over the reserve. Again, chef Stacy was there with her amazing skills, making me fall in love with her every damn day. After our meal, we set out to explore the reserve, which is home to a variety of game, and spent a couple of hours hiking the hills. If you’re someone who can stand a little light sweat (and honestly, even if you’re not) then do yourself a favour and set aside some time to go for a walk – and obviously take your camera with you.
Relaxing at Brahman Hills
Another highlight of our time with the Brahman Hills was our unforgettable experience at the Brahman Hills Spa – in fact, I loved it so much that I’ll be writing a whole post about the spa soon. Even if you don’t end up staying at Brahman Hills, I can’t recommend the spa highly enough – it was one of the best spa experiences I’ve ever had. Starting off with a full body exfoliation scrub, followed by a private bath soak, a full-body massage, and a manicure, I felt more pampered than I have in a long long time.
Weddings at Brahman Hills
It’s not surprising that Brahman Hills is a much sought-after wedding venue – just look at how beautiful their glass chapel is below. The team here are absolute pros at making sure your special day is everything that you’ve dreamed of, and over the weekend we got to experience a few of the treats usually reserved for the bridal party. For lunch on our spa day, we got to eat in the specially reserved bridal room at the spa, which has the most perfect lighting (great for getting ready) so the bridal party can get ready for the event together in the privacy of the spa. And when you’re ready to say I do, the chapel overlooks the lake and is backed by an incredible function room with high ceilings and plenty of room for dancing.
When our weekend came to an end, it felt far far far too soon. I only had to be in the midlands for 1 minute before I realised why everyone loved it so much, and I felt like we barely scratched the surface with exploring it. Over the next couple weeks, I’m amped to share a couple more posts with you about my newfound love for the Midlands, and I’m already making plans for my next trip back there.