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MATJIESFONTEIN VILLAGE: The Lord Milner  Other accommodation


n the fringe of the Great Karoo, the Lord Milner Hotel appears as if out of a conjurers hat – an authentic tribute to Victoriana, and the heart of Matjiesfontein Village. The Collection by Liz McGrath is now very directly involved in all we do here, with Johan Dippenaar the new General manager – Johan has worked with Mrs. McGrath in many of her Cape Hotels over the last 8 years. The recent renovations overseen directly by Liz McGrath, and Johan’s personable and engaging style, his energy and enthusiasm can be fully enjoyed during a visit to Matjiesfontein.

Considered a must stop on the N1 national highway linking the Cape and Johannesburg. Matjiesfontein offers 54 guest rooms. The Lord Milner, a graded three star heritage site hotel, after Lord Alfred Milner governor of the Cape during the Boer War, offers 16 superior classically furnished suites. A variety of other accommodation options include ‘Olive Schreiner’s’ historic cottage, comfortable garden and riverbank rooms, and a luxury swimming pool suite.

During the Anglo-Boer war (1899-1902), the building became headquarters for the Cape Command with it’s central turret serving as lookout and machine gun post. At the rear are the opulent residents’ lounges, a music room and library overlooking shady courtyards and fountains.

he esprit de corps of the courteous staff, the clean crisp air (‘like dry champagne’) and the warmth and atmosphere of the Hotel and historic Village, makes for a unique, relaxing and revitalising stay. Duck ponds, fountains and reservoirs, the residents’ only swimming pool, an often dry riverbed and beautiful lush gardens encompass the hotel and guest rooms. The surrounding 3000ha farm is accessible to hotel residents for veld walks, trails and mountain biking. Along with the Karoo’s blood-red sunsets, remarkable fauna and flora and its age-old traditions, Matjiesfontein and the Lord Milner Hotel gives itself over to the ultimate tranquil escape.

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he Royal Lounge
The extravagant Royal Lounge portrays the life of James Douglas Logan and other famous Victorian personalities who occupied or visited the Village centuries ago. Grandeur stretches back to a heyday when Matjiesfontein, a fashionable spa, attracted visitors worldwide including: Lord Randolph Churchill, Cecil John Rhodes, Rudyard Kipling and of course resident Olive Schreiner. Original furniture and antiques feature in four vast inter-leading rooms. Amongst the timeless treasures is a harp, aged 150 years, a handmade jewelry case dating back to the 18th century and a portrait of the author and feminist activist, Olive Schreiner

The lounge is open to all visitors – resident guests can relax and enjoy after dinner liqueurs, coffee and our traditional candied peel.




he Dining Room
Located off the main entrance of the Hotel, the dining room boasts the same historic ambiance found throughout Matjiesfontein. Again a Victorian setting filled with period antiques, such as the antique clock - one of just three in the world. The unique wooden ceiling is supported centrally by an ornate cast iron pillar, a twin said only to be found at Buckingham Palace.

Immerse yourself in the tradition – the dining room has been serving guests, including many famous names of the day, for the last 120 years! Let the 'red jacket' porters welcome you and offer our selection of fine wines from across the Cape. Head Chef Tronette Dippenaar, prepares her unique and contemporary take on many of South Africa’s nationally renown dishes, including Karoo Springbok and Lamb sourced from the local district. The dress code for dinner is smart casual (… but this is merely a suggestion).Back to Top



here the former main National road between Cape Town, Kimberley and the Reef passed directly in front of the hotel. In front of Matjiesfontein’s Railway Station, the large open space (now parking area) served as parade ground during the Anglo Boer war – at this time over 10,000 infantry and 20,000 horses were camped in the surrounding veld. Many esteemed military leaders, including General Haig, and similarly revered regiments were stationed here including The 17th Lancers, the Coldstream Guards, the Highland Brigade and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Rifles. The Lord Milner served as Cape Command headquarters and as a field hospital.

The Union Jack is still raised daily on the central turret of The Lord Milner Hotel and on a hill as you enter the Village off the National Road (N1). Back to Top


istory of the Lord Milner

his 120-year-old establishment, with its fine dining, the Laird's Arms Pub, an eclectic mix of bygones & museums, and the renowned

Coffee House, cater to the taste of the modern day explorer and history enthusiast alike.

Matjiesfontein’s Water Works were officially opened in November 1889 in a grand manner. The guests were leading politicians and personages who had reached the Village by train from Cape Town. During the 1890s, a steady stream of celebrated figures visited Matjiesfontein, such as Randolph Churchill (father of Winston), the Duke of Hamilton and the Sultan of Zanzibar, amongst others.

The double-storeyed Milner Hotel was built in 1899 by James Logan, in the early stages of the Anglo-Boer War. The hotel was used as a military hospital during the conflict by the British forces and the hotel turret was then used as a lookout post. Some 10 000 troops were camped around the Village. James Logan, founder of Matjiesfontein, died in 1920 and is buried in a little cemetery 10 kilometres from Matjiesfontein, where his tomb is located next to the grave of George Lohmann, one of the greatest English cricketers, who spent the last years of his life in the superb climatic environment of the Karoo.

In 1968, David Rawdon hotelier par excellence, whose claim to fame includes establishing Rawdon’s Hotel at Nottingham Road, the well-known Lanzerac Hotel set in the Stellenbosch vineyards, the Marine Hotel Hermanus, and The Drostdy Graaf Reinet, purchased Matjiesfontein Village. After performing extensive renovations and utilising the wealth of antiques gathered during his world travels, David re-opened the hotel in 1970 renaming it The Lord Milner Hotel.

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