Walkersons is a charming country hotel, far enough from civilisation to get a good break, but packed with adventure and great food!
Dullstroom has been on my radar all year! My first visit involved a stop-in at Art of Food while investigating the myth of a truffle farmer named Cameron. This gorgeous little eatery is absolute perfection and my new favourite restaurant outside of Jozi. I’ve also written about Wild about Whiskey, the Anvil Ale Brewpub, and staying at Stonecutters outside of the town.
So just to add to the archive of places to see and things to do in Dullstroom, I’ve decided to write about my recent stay at Walkersons Hotel & Spa. This 5 star hotel just outside of the town centre has been around for over twenty years and while I have visited their spa in the past, I’d never had the chance to spend the night until now.
Reasons to love Walkersons
Walkersons is everything I love in a country hotel: great food, big spacious rooms, lazy lounging spots across the hotel’s terrace, and the tiny details that reveal its history. The really fantastic part of Walkersons for me however, was that it’s settled in a valley waiting to be explored on foot or by bicycle.
When we first arrived, we checked in, did a quick recce to see everything, and then laced up our walking shoes to climb 5km to the top of the mountain behind the hotel. I love being outdoors and absolutely doing something active when I travel so it was really awesome that the weekend away started this way. The walking route mostly follows a concrete path so it’s quite easy going and you don’t have to be particularly fit to get up the mountain. While we walked up pretty briskly to make it before sunset, it would be an ideal walk for a 90-minute escape just before breakfast if you’re so inclined.
Just some of the gorgeous flowers we saw on our way to the top.
At the top is a sweet little bench to take in the view (see top image), and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your way down the side of the mountain like a goat and pretend there’s a path (I know this because we accidentally-on-purpose did it). Alternatively, you can take the same path back down to the respite of Walkersons lovely patio for a sundowner (or pop into the spa for one of their signature massages).
Aforementioned lovely patio. The couches are as comfy as they look, I tested them ALL.
Oh… that food!
Another great highlight of Walkersons is the food. The kitchen staff are clearly all passionate about the food they plate each day and everything is presented to absolute perfection. Even if you’re not staying at Walkersons, I would recommend popping in to try their new terrace menu, or for a sumptuous Sunday lunch. The three-course wine pairing menu our group experienced was exceptional, three Steenberg wines complimented an incredible dinner that had originally been prepared for a group of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs chefs that has visited a few weeks before (so you basically know it was out of this world, right!).
All of the food is prepared under the expert eye of Executive Chef, Adri van Wieringen.
The ‘wow’ factor at Walkersons came in the guise of one of the most expertly-curated wine cellars I’ve ever been in. The lighting is totally designed to make this a very dramatic unveiling and guests can wander around and choose their own bottle. The selection of reds pairs excellently with the fireplaces, by the way (I tested this too).
The picture says it all.
Remember a little earlier I mentioned small details and history? Well Walkersons is packed with it all, from paintings acquired at auction over the years, to family photos of people long forgotten and my favourite, antique tea pots. I spent hours wandering around and just looking in every corner to find something special!
If you want to get out of Joburg, Dullstroom is pretty much one of the best bets for a great weekend with plenty to do, but if you have the time and the luxury of being able to visit during the week, I would suggest it too to avoid the crowds. For more info on Walkersons, or to book your stay, visit their website here. It’s just under a four-hour drive, the roads are (mostly) in good condition, and people are extremely friendly in town!
My stay at Walkersons Hotel and Spa was by invite, with all my posts though, editorial control remains with me. You can read more about the hotel here.