The Rabbit Hole Hotel and Restaurant in Krugersdorp North is in the beautiful “old” part of Krugersdorp, where they still have wonderful old houses, most being built during the 1920’s and 30’s, but some dating back to the late 1800’s. As I’m sure you know (and if you don’t, I am going to tell you ) most of these stunning old houses still have the bay windows with their Oregan window frames and all the wood on the inside is Oregan Even the floors are Oregan wood and of course, they still have the gorgeous pressed ceilings. (Just love wooden floors and presses ceilings!!).
The Rabbit Hole is one of these old homes that has been lovingly restored into a guest house and restaurant. The owners, Esma, who has sadly passed away, and her daughter Rothea, are both artists and they have brought all their artistic talent and creativity into the restoration of this place. It truly is like going “down the rabbit hole” (From the Alice in Wonderland” story) So when you are driving down the oak tree-lined Viljoen street, you cannot miss The Rabbit Hole. It is the only place on the road which has a life size painted zebra on the outside, with big painted pillars and massive wooden gates, with the name of the establishment written in big letters. Sometimes there might be a black-board outside showing the opening times. As you drive in, your creative senses will be assaulted.
When I first saw the giant concrete books I was so curious I just HAD TO GO IN and see. (You see…I suffer from FOMO… as you know ) Esma and some of her staff made the concrete books years ago. An awesome idea to “block off” the front of the house from the back of the house where all the guest rooms are. From the moment you step out your car you’re like a 3-year-old child skitting around, trying to take in all that you see. Water features made out of old coins. A mosaic’d pathway leading to the reception area, little gardens and alcoves all over the place. Green bottle lined pathways. Man…it is so damn interesting! As you enter the reception area, it is really like entering an Alice in Wonderland story. Book shelves packed with old books, colours, huge Kelim rugs on the walls and floors, mosaic mirrors and instead of a ceiling they have used colourful umbrellas hung upside down. A feast for the creative eyes. And THAT just in the restaurant and lounge area. The restaurant at the guest house is so well known that people travel from afar just to have lunch or dinner at this quirky place. Beside the fact that every meal is an experience on its own, they also serve an array of well-known wines from around South Africa. In summer they have all the sides lifted to allow free flow of air and in winter it is not uncommon to see a roaring fire in the fire place. Just sensational! Now if you’re lucky enough, like I was, to be staying at The Rabbit Hole, you will be lead from the reception area, round the back, past the giant books and into a court yard where one again I can guarantee, you will HAVE TO stop and look around in awe. Thankfully now days we have photographs which will much better illustrate what I am talking about. Water features, little gardens, colours colours colours! Every room is different. Different décor, different furniture, different feel. I could not wait to get into my room just to “feel” it.
Every detail has been well thought out, tried and tested. I almost forgot to mention that Esma was quite the oil painter, so there is no shortage of original art on the walls of the rooms. The cool thing is, if one of the paintings take your fancy, you can purchase it. Every room has a little ‘stoep’ where the girls have placed heavy wrought iron furniture. (No one is going to carry this off easily…ha ha ha). So my friends and I were able to sit outside late into the night, looking at the exquisite starry sky, chatting and catching up. After a most peaceful sleep it was time for breakfast in the restaurant, which once again did not disappoint.
Full English breakfast PLUS all the extras, like the most delicious coffee and home-made porridge. I would have loved to have spent another day there, but it really was time to drag myself home. So I said my thank you’s and farewells and off I went. Thank you Esma and Rothea for hosting me. It truly was a memorable experience. (Most of the photos courtesy of The Rabbit Hole) www.therabbithole.co.za/ email@example.com