house. The current restaurant is built in and around the farm manager’s house, which was erected using corrugated tin and tongue-andgroove planking, imported in kitform from Britain. Some of these materials have been retained and can be seen at the back of the restaurant and veranda. Sir George and Lady Nora built the house for their first manager, Mr Punt, whose daughter Anna was current owner Jon Bates’ first major love when he was just five years old. Dick Bates, the father of current owner Jon, had been left
Fordoun go back a long way in the history of this place. Concierge Vincent Zuma started as a young assistant and driver. Lazarus Gabuza, also a concierge, was a butler to Lady Nora and later the main tractor driver for Jon Bates. Sylvia Pillay, in housekeeping, worked all her life in the dairy. A Jersey cow fanatic, she had the honour of leading supreme champions around the show ring on many occasions. All at Fourdoun are part of the substance and family of the place. KwaNdlovu, meaning “the place
spa. We existed like this for some months and then something amazing happened. We noticed that from time to time therapists were becoming drained, depressed, and exhausted, for no obvious reason. We had read an article about Brenda Mcfee and were intrigued by the concept of 'Positive Energy.' Brenda was asked to provide our therapists with the basics of Bio Energy Balancing. This enabled them to avoid being affected by negative energy and to impart on our guests a sense of positivity. It changed our whole philosophy.”
Fordoun by Sir George and Lady Nora in their will. Dick, however, passed away prior to Lady Nora and the farm went to Jon on Lady Nora’s death in 1994. In 2000, Jon and his family ceased dairy farming and turned the farmyards into Fordoun Hotel and Spa. The major challenge in this development was how to tastefully retain the old ambiance and features while creating a world-class facility; a challenge they not only met but surpassed, too. The spa, for example, is built in the old dairy. What was a barn where cows were milked by a bucket system now houses the main heated pool. Grain for feed was stored in the silo, which now hosts the saline floatation pool. And the Jersey stud bulls and calf pens were located where the gym, sauna and steam rooms are now situated. The conference centre was originally a tractor shed built by Sir George and Lady Nora, while the two offices alongside the conference centre were used for housing orphan lambs. Many of the staff members at
of Ndlovu,” is Fordoun’s Zulu spiritual area. Here, under the guidance of Traditional Doctor Elliott Ndlovu, over 130 varieties of traditional healing plants are grown, serving as the inspiration for Fordoun’s exclusive Ndlovu range of products and treatments. The area houses Dr Ndlovu’s consultation room and two therapy rooms – the Labola and the Senga rooms. This is where the vision of a world-class hotel and spa, based on the spirit of “ubuntu,” is completed. Fordoun was built to give a sense of history, quality and oneness with nature, and wherever one walks at Fordoun there is water. African spiritual and plant healing is integrated into the Fordoun Spa as a natural (and not contrived) feature. From international brand Elemis, Fordoun benefits not only from a premium range of products but also from the value of professional therapist training. Says Jon Bates, “When we opened our Spa, we thought of a spa as being a tranquil and beautiful environment where guests would be pampered and treated as they would at any leading
Since opening in March 2005, Fordoun has won several awards that testify to the success of this philosophy. The most recent of these are the “SA Leading Hotel/Spa” Award, from the World Travel Awards – Africa (2009); “Best 100 Retreats in Africa” Award, where they won the category of “Culture and Heritage” (2008); and “SA Best Boutique Hotel and Spa,” from Les Nouvelles Esthethiques (2008). The Hotel’s Skye Restaurant also received two accolades in recent years. At Fordoun the belief is that health begins with the mind and spirit. Life ought to be enjoyed, and the experience of staying here should leave the guest feeling light-hearted, de-stressed and energised. Guests are encouraged, therefore, to indulge in organic meals and to enjoy a glass of wine or two. Detoxing via massage and the wide range of treatments is quite enough for the Fordoun guest. If one can detox the mind and uplift the spirit, consider the Fordoun philosophy rewarded. Visit www.fordoun.com or contact +27 33 266 6217.
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Published on Mar 8, 2010