High on a hillside, on the outskirts of Pretoria is Castello di Monte. Hidden behind ochre walls is this beautiful guest house built in the style of a 16th century Tuscan villa, it's like stepping back in time.
As you arrive and enter through the gates, the first thing you see are the spectacular gardens surrounding the building. In keeping with the Tuscan theme, they are shrouded in lavender bushes together with olive and lemon trees and an ornate trellised rear garden. The terrace is a lovely place to spend a few reflective moments as you enjoy the views of Pretoria stretching out below you. Once inside, the dramatic spiral staircase catches the eye, with its granite steps and rusted copper rail. The decor is both luxurious and elegant and attention to detail is apparent in the furniture, soft furnishings and artworks adorning the walls, which are all in keeping with the style of the building. Here you will find the restaurant, the spacious yet cosy lounge with a roaring fire on chilly evenings, and the bar which leads outside where you will find a small pool, sunloungers and manicured lawns.
The nine rooms are spacious and elegant. They contain modern amenities in a 16th century setting, each room has air conditioning, underfloor heating, minibar, complimentary WiFi, a safe and telephone. Morning tea and coffee are also provided. Some of the rooms have a private balcony whilst the honeymoon suite boasts a jacuzzi and the presidential suite a separate bathroom and shower room.
Open: Castello di Monte is open all year apart from over Christmas the New Year.
Location: The guesthouse is in the upmarket hills of Pretoria.
Rooms: There are 9 rooms and suites divided into classic and terrace rooms, a honeymoon suite and a presidential suite. All have modern en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning and underfloor heating. Amenities include satellite TV, IDD phone, safe, tea and coffee, minibar, free Wi-Fi and toiletries. Some rooms have private balconies
Activities: You can go sightseeing and shopping in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Soweto. Staff are on hand to offer ideas on places to visit and things to see and can help arrange excursions.
Facilities: The formal lounge has a cosy gas fireplace and leads out to the patio. There is a bar area that opens on to the gardens and pool. There are 7 different intimate dining areas located throughout the hotel.
Dining: Breakfast is included and is served in various locations throughout the hotel. Light lunches and a la carte dinners are also available.
Children: Children aged 8 years and over are welcome.
Health: This is not a malarial area.
Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access and IDD phones in the rooms.
A 51-hour rail journey from Pretoria to Cape Town travelling on board the famous Rovos Rail service, known for its luxurious accommodation and fine service.
"Service was excellent. We arrived for breakfast and then arranged to go on a tour of Pretoria with a local guide. A very good idea as there was nothing else to do in the local vacinity - it was a very upmarket residential suburb. We ate at the hotel in the evening which was a very nice experience."