The reason we document our travels, is that we really actually owe it to our loyal Travelers to capture every Life Changing Holiday experience that we have, so that you can see we stay true to our motto that we ‘invented the extra mile!” …We as a family or a couple go the extra distance physically, so we can find the best of the best that suits your very specific needs. We like to think of ourselves as ‘pro’s” in finding what will work for you! So in short, we go the extra mile, to find the perfect spot for you, so you don’t have too!
But today’s post is actually a bit of history of Life Changing Holidays and was where the dream was birthed in my heart! Therefore particularly dear to me, and there are a ‘couple’ of reasons for. I put couple in inverted commas for a specific reason. You see this post is really about a ‘couple’ in a very specific sense….but let me tell you the story!
It was an extremely cold July in 2009 that we visited De Oude Kraal Country Estate and Spa, 35 km out of Bloemfontein. This Free State guest house is based on the “Kraal” concept, in that the guests get a real natural experience of tranquility, security and serenity. At the time we went, my husband and I were only dating and visiting his family in Bloemfontein. We decided to take the family out for a dinner at De Oude Kraal and my husband, (then boyfriend) and I stayed the night, to get the full experience De Oude Kraal Country Estate and Spa offered.
The typical farm house is stylishly decorated and were cosy with fireplaces crackling in every room. We were welcomed with the news that we were upgraded to the top 2 suites! Always a great welcome, and then we were checked into our Suites 11 and 12. Now this, my dear travelling friends, were by far the most creative and stylish rooms I have ever seen! The owners Gerhard and Marie Lombard’s daughters, Marie-Louise and Carmen-Ann (an architect) did the interior of the rooms. In my previous blog I mentioned that we, sometimes, get spoiled by all the beautiful places that we get to see, and I must admit, De Oude Kraal suites number 11 and 12 did kind of spoil any other experiences for me! No other room that I have ever seen came close to this in creativity and beauty. It was actually occupied by a celebrity the night before our stay and I could totally understand why! I’ve never felt as much like royalty as that night. My suite was decorated to the tea with French style beauty and elegance! The under floor heating, fireplace, sherry and attention to detail, made the room so warm, inviting and friendly. What we absolutely loved about De Oude Kraal is that they were graded as a 4star but the experience is over and abundant four stars!
Suite 12, where my (then) boyfriend stayed, has a Chinese theme. The room is decorated with bonsai trees, and an actual tree hanging over the bed entwined with fairy lights! It was totally extraordinary done.
Marie Lombaard, the owner and main Chef, was born and raised on this 4th generation farm, and has trained a dedicated team of local farm workers, in cooking her special home cooked meals with a French Flair!
We were blessed to experience Marie’s passion and philosophy about food in the 6 course meal. My future family-in-law’s (keen foodies), were completely mesmerized! One after the other course was prepared with such perfection and creativity. Marie’s passion and approach “was to take existing recipes a few steps further and present it in an innovative way”. And in this, she totally succeeded! It was really hard to control one self, having to keep in mind that there were 6 courses! The food was absolutely amazing, and even if that was all that De Oude Kraal was exceptional in, it would have been enough for us to recommend De Oude Kraal with great confidence! But wait, there was in fact even more!
I started off by saying that there was a little bit of “LifeChanging Holidays” that was birthed in my heart, this very night at De Oude Kraal. After dinner, when the future family-in-law left, it was next to a warm crackling fire, with a sweet sherry that my husband shared his dream of LifeChanging-Holidays, and what he wanted to do with it. It was also in that specific evening, over that specific sherry that we looked deep into each other’s eyes and we realized that this is a dream that we wanted to share, and we wanted to be more than a ‘couple’. It was here that we knew that this was not just a dream to be pursued but a life together to be pursued…. and with a very full satisfied tummy, I climbed that night into my crisp white linen, in my princess perfect bed and knew I am going to marry a prince …
The next morning we again experience top cuisine and service over our delightful breakfast and I knew before we left there was one more thing that had to happen! Among other career paths, I am a beautician that owned my own salon for 5 years and has worked for various 5 star hotels and spa’s. I therefore could not let the opportunity pass to try the “De Oude Kraal Spa”.
The Spa Decor is very unique. The Merino sheep as the main theme throughout the spa is evident in all aspects of the spa decor, spa treatment rooms, spa treatments names, textures and color schemes.
The highly skilled and trained staff ensured that it is a holistic and relaxing experience.
What I loved about the spa was that I could use the sauna, steam and other facilities as long as I liked for the day. The hot-stone massage was absolutely ideal for the freezing cold weather and the use of the spa can be highly recommended as an activity for such a cold day!
De Oude Kraal also offers a variety of different activities such as Bird Watching, Hiking Trials, Swimming Pool, Sun downer Drive, Tennis Court, Horse Riding, Picnic in the Garden, Target Shooting, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Eco 4 X 4 Trail, Hot-Air Ballooning, Star Gazing & a Mountain Bike Route…
It might be that I was on a love drug when I experienced De Oude Kraal, but I know that if you visit De Oude Kraal Estate and Spa, you will also be love-infused! This was truly a LifeChanging-Experience! De Oude kraal has passed all our criteria for a LifeChanging Experience and can be highly recommended!