“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”.
“Yes we are,” my husband said, seemingly relieved.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t our toddler Rebecca who was doing the asking, but rather me, rested after having napped from Joburg to Magaliesberg, and excited. We had arrived at African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa, Autograph Collection home for the weekend, and our base for relaxation, pampering, indulging, and plenty cupcake decorating.
I was last at Mount Grace in 2013, before it joined the Autograph Collection of luxury hotels, within the Marriott International stable. At the time, it felt like it needed a bit of a breath of fresh air and a new lick of paint, and on this visit, I was relieved to see that all this had been done – and more.
For starters, Mount Grace is now a kid-friendly establishment, and yet they have the balance spot on. There are kids’ activities and happy children running around, but there’s still tranquillity and a sense of intimacy, which is why Mount Grace is also a favourite with couples, whether they’re celebrating anniversaries, engagements or birthdays, or just spending time away from the big smoke.
During the week, Mount Grace is popular as a conference venue, and how incredible that among the conference and meeting rooms are an award-winning spa, fantastic food, and beautiful views of Magaliesberg, and hectares and hectares of green space.
There are different types of rooms, including ones with little heated plunge pools, which are off limits if you have little kids (for safety reasons), but obviously incredible if you’re travelling without them. Our room was spacious, with a firm king-sized bed so comfortable that I’d go back just for a sleep on it. In fact, on our first night, I slept for nine hours, 15 minutes, which is probably my longest recorded sleep in about three years (thanks to my Fitbit for the stats!)
There were also all the room comforts one would expect in a luxe hotel – Nespresso machine, satellite TV, and a separate shower and bath.
You’ll be spoilt for choice at either of the two restaurants – there’s a slightly more formal Rambling Vine, and Twist. Breakfasts are awesome at both (the waffles are worth waiting for), and while Rambling Vine has an a la carte setup for dinner, Twist offers a buffet. At our buffet dinner, there was a standout salad station that begged for two return visits (I am a vegetarian, but that’s not the only reason for my salad stock-ups).
There’s also a restaurant at the spa, the site of relaxation. Here, stress turns into serenity, and with a wide range of treatments, it’s no wonder that people come here from Joburg just for a day of pampering. It’s an opportunity to spend time with your partner (there are some treatment rooms with two massage beds), relax solo, or as I saw, have a time-out with the gals, or celebrating a bachelorette’s. You can also order a picnic, and enjoy it outdoors.
While the spa, and the pool and restaurant there are off limits for kids, they are superbly catered for elsewhere. From a cupcake-decorating kit in your room on arrival, to a welcome treat and activity bag for young ones, your stay at Mount Grace will be as much of a win for your children as it is for you.
There’s a kiddie club for children three and upwards, equipped with age-appropriate play rooms. There’s a great jungle gym and enclosed outdoor space, and a club activity list informs you of the day’s activities.
If you’re keen on an excursion, there’s lots to do in the area if you want to – choose from birding (here’s an OpticsMag.com guide to help you out), ballooning, horseriding, hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the rest of Magaliesberg. I was content to stay at the lodge with all my comforts, room service, and an ice-cold G&T from the gin bar.
It was a special weekend for all of us and a brilliant country break. So good, that the next question is “When are we going back?”.
Brilliant deal alert!
There’s currently a Country Getaway deal for around R860pp sharing. For more info, click here. This deal is valid until 21 May 2020.