Referred to as ‘The Villa’ this home has only had two owners – the Oates from 1933 until 1989, after whom most of the rooms are named, and the current hoteliers who opened the supposedly haunted home to guests in 2002. During my stay in the Pearl Oates suite nothing went bump in the night, but I did hear footsteps on the stairs made by guests next door.
This hotel has had spooky sightings of Paul Kruger and a woman with a small boy used to frequent the balcony that overhangs the front door, but those in the know say she’s now left Foxwood House.
Almost a century old, the ivy-covered Foxwood House is a ten-suite boutique hotel boasting a Sir Herbert Baker nametag, but was actually built by his more daring partner Frank Fleming under the business name. One room is available in the original house with the other suites and cottages sprinkled across the gardens. The outer cottages are more private with garden views, but all rooms feature quaint antique furnishings so you won’t sacrifice the vibe for solitude.
Filled with antiques, dusty books, the Oates’ enormous gramophone, hundreds of black and white photographs and kitsch Paul Kruger memorabilia the house is a fascinating museum-like stay. It’s also old. The worn wooden floors creak and it feels a little like gran’s house, but its clean and well kept.
There’s a set dinner menu, which varies night to night – I enjoyed a starter of butternut soup with venison pie mains and trusty malva pudding to round it all off (about R165). Breakfast is a simple affair of yoghurt, cereals and fruit followed by eggs and bacon. Ask to take your breakfast outside at one of the charming wrought iron tables in the garden.
Swans, ducks and peacocks wander around the lush gardens and the labyrinthine pathways are a pleasure to walk through. You’re paying for ambiance here and are treated as family (the owners live in the house too and are always available, but never overbearing). Plus, if you’re lucky you may even get to meet some of the much older relatives who supposedly still roam around this historic home…
Costs: R1 825 a room a night including breakfast