a home away from home at bloemfontein's the royal fischer hotel
It’s interesting when you come back to your hometown as a working professional and not as an original resident, having grown up and been schooled there.
Putting our Bloemfontein feature together for our October 2018 issue felt like it should have been an easy task. However, it was slightly more challenging than I'd anticipated, as I really wanted to explore the best of the best, as well as some undiscovered gems. So when it came to finding and and staying at The Royal Fischer Hotel, it was more than just a pleasure – it was a magnificent home-away-from-home experience. (Quite literally, in my case.)
This renovated five-star, five-suite boutique hotel was originally a homestead built by Abraham Fischer (the only prime minister of the Orange River Colony) for his family in the 1800s. Set in the beautiful Woodland Hills Wildlife Estate, on the northern outskirts of Bloemfontein, nature truly is on your doorstep, and you can expect to see a variety of game: kudu, giraffe, zebra, sable, roan antelope, nyala, waterbuck, impala, gemsbok, springbok, duiker, steenbok and rhebuck. Apart from this impressive collection, it’s also a bird lovers' utopia.
Our stay here was the epitome of old-fashioned Free State hospitality and luxury. From the minute we were welcomed by general manager Elsie Olen, who made us feel like long-lost family returning home, nothing was too much trouble. One of my favourite spots was the front stoep – perfect for a team chat and a G&T after a long day of shooting, before settling in to one of the chef's world-class, three-course dinners.
Nothing was more sublime, however, than our private suites. Each has its own charm and creature comforts, ranging from my secluded outdoor shower and Victorian tub on the deck overlooking the estate’s animal watering hole to your own plunge pool, and even a private massage in your suite. All suites come standard with twin bathrooms and features, heated towels, a butler, mini-bar, climate-controlled rooms, DSTV, laptop safe, free Wi-Fi and a full turn-down service.
If you've had enough of the pampering and luxuries (said no one, ever), the estate offers some amazing hiking and mountain-bike trails for those who want to get out and experience nature up close and (potentially) muddy.
As a born-and-raised Bloemfonteiner, I can vouch for The Royal Fischer Hotel as being the City of Roses’ most exclusive, luxe choice of accommodation, and it's worth treating yourself to something this special.
For more info, visit royalfischer.com
Be sure to get a copy of the October issue of House and Leisure to read more about the other attractions we found while exploring the capital of the Free State.