The Lord Milner
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
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
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.
to view Accommodation
options or to Reserve
THE LORD MILNER
HOTEL – BUILT 1899
LOUNGE – MUSIC ROOM
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
The lounge is open to all visitors – resident guests can
relax and enjoy after dinner liqueurs, coffee
and our traditional candied peel.
– RARE CLOCK AND UNIQUE CENTRAL PILLAR
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).
& FORMER BOER WAR PARADE GROUND INFRONT OF THE LORD MILNER
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).
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.
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.
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.