It’s not often you get to be one of the very first families to experience a brand new lodge and hotel. Imagine our excitement when the newly built Dragonview Lodge, in Winterton right here on our doorstep in the KZN Central Drakensberg got in touch with us to invite us to experience authentic off the grid luxury at the Drakensberg’s only environmentally sustainable boutique hotel. Having just opened their doors in September last year, lets just say we could quite literally still smell the concrete drying during our visit to this four star mountain retreat!
It’s the first of its kind in the central Drakensberg, Dragonview lodge is a completely off the grid, environmentally sustainable boutique hotel. With only eight suites, Dragonview Lodge provides exclusive and intimate Drakensberg accommodation with all the bells and whistles that you’d expect from a four star hotel. The lodge offers an on-site bar and restaurant overlooking the Champagne Castle and Cathkin Peak mountain ranges. The rim-flow rock pool is a sight for sore eyes and the Dragonland playscape area is jaw dropping entertainment for kids. With two lounges, a games room, a children’s playroom, an indoor heated pool and gym – there is something for the whole family.
We were invited at the end of February to experience a two night stay at the hotel as a family of four and it was just what we needed to relax, unwind and enjoy quality time away together as a family while being entertained, made comfortable with every need and desire met, wined and dined beautifully and experience off the grid luxury at its best!
With just eight rooms in this boutique hotel, the building centres around a common area being; the reception, the dining area, upstairs lounges and games area as well as a large patio balcony. On either side are four double story rooms which make up the hotel.
We were hosted in one of Dragonview Lodge‘s six contemporary family suites (the other two rooms are executive suites)which is uniquely decorated with a king sized bed downstairs and twin single beds and couch upstairs. All suites lead onto a private deck with uninterrupted views of the Drakensberg Mountains. The family suites can comfortably accommodate a family of four or two couples holidaying together. The room
Amenities include; fully air conditioned, a bar fridge, a desk / dressing table with a hairdryer, a room safe, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities, a shower (no bath) and free WIFI.
All the furniture and decor is brand spanking new, are quality pieces and absolutely out of this world beautiful! It truly was an experience to have stayed knowing that everything is so newly built and installed!
Aside from our very spacious and comfortable family suite, we were able to utalise and enjoy the various on-site facilities to maximise our relaxed and fun-filled family holiday in the central Drakensberg! And there was something for us all!
The on-site facilities included:
The fully stocked and easily accessible bar allowed us to enjoy sundowners on the deck, a craft beer while watching the big game on the flat screen TV and a bottle of our favourite red wine at dinner. Their state-of-the-art coffee machine was also a hit at breakfast! Oh and the milkshakes deserve a mention too!
Indoor Children’s Playroom
This was a stand out for us! We were truly able to relax and enjoy ourselves at dinner at Dragonview Bistro as a couple while Maddie kept herself busy in the near by (literally a stones throw away) children’s playroom where she was kept entertained with a movie, arts and crafts, puzzles and games. The room is incredible well stocked with an assortment of toys for all ages – even Charlie’s age!
Although there wasn’t a child minder as such, Maddie was safe and sound and we knew that she were in a small enough space to know she wouldn’t be in any danger being alone in the room or out of our sight. It was also nice that she met other kids around the same age as her during our stay, so at every meal they played together in the play area and would pop their heads out to come eat when their food was ready.
Something for the older kids or big boys (like our husbands) the upstairs games room has a pool table, foosball, TV and PlayStation 4 console with a super comfortable couch.
Indoor Heated Pool
Probably one of our favourite things about our stay… the indoor heated pool! The day we arrived it was pouring with rain but we were still able to get into our cozzies and enjoy the pool thanks to the warmth of the indoor heated pool… and don’t even get me started on the scenic views from the pool when the sliding doors are opened to reveal the mountain!
Located under the main deck, Dragonview Lodge‘s gym is equipped with a cable machine, stationary bike, rowing machine and stretching area. Perfect for those who want to stay active while on holiday.
Hands down one of the most beautiful pools I have ever swam in… Dragonview Lodge‘s rock pool is built into the natural rock below the lodge and features a custom designed rim-flow boasting spectacular, scenic views to unwind, relax and take it all in. There is also a smaller rock pool – perfect for the kids to play in and the smaller water fall like features are a hit with kids. My only concern was the slippery rocks so Maddie was supervised at all times.
Adventure awaits within this truly OUT OF THIS WORLD beautifully designed children’s playground! It kept Maddie entertained for hours and encouraged her imagination to run wild! Even Brett enjoyed a few of the areas! Dragonview playscape sets traditional playground equipment into an engaging and stimulating natural environment. Absolutely brilliantly designed and unlike anything I have seen before!
We’re big foodies and experiencing the kitchen is always a highlight for us when visiting any hotel or lodge. Having had a look at the menu online before our visit, we had a good idea of the types of dishes we could expect out of Dragonview Bistro’s kitchen. Serving modern cafe food prepared using the best locally sourced ingredients, we loved that we could dine on the deck to enjoy nature, the scenic views and the warmth of the sun, or in the contemporary dining room with a spectacular view of the Drakensberg mountains.
The menu includes a variety of starters and mains as well as sandwiches, toasties, salads, pizza and pastas. A few homestyle traditional favourites included; rump or fillet steak, lamb shank, pork ribs, hake and pot pie. A few stand out dishes for us were the chicken curry served on a bed of yellow rice with sambles, coconut and naan bread, eisbein served with mashed potatoes and roast vegetables and as well as the starter calamari tubes. We didn’t have any bad meals and throughly enjoyed each dish off the menu. The prices also weren’t bad at all, with mains ranging from R70 to R250. The portions were also very generous. For example Brett and I shared the eisbein as a main one of the evenings. Dessert was also a hit with so many yummy options to choose from including; a tripple chocolate brownie with seasonal berry garnish and vanilla ice cream, Brett enjoyed the affogato – two scoops of vanilla ice cream with a freshly pulled espresso and a shot of Amarula. The kids menu was a hit with Maddie too with perfectly sized portions. Options included; spaghetti, mac and cheese, ribs, fish fingers and fries, crumbed chicken strips and fries, pizza and a burger and fries. An absolute hit with Maddie (and every other kid who visited) was the creative ice-cream for dessert. What kid doesn’t love an assortment of fun toppings like Smarties, jelly beans, chocolate sauce and gums over their ice-cream?
Whether it’s breakfast on the deck, pizza by the pool or a hearty dinner by the fire, Chef Daniel prepared an assortment of meals to perfection for us during our stay and Dragonview Bistro’s a la carte menu had us wanting to try more!
Breakfast was served from 7am each morning in the Bistro cafe and is included in the room rate. The breakfast menu included an assortment of plated dishes to choose from including; your traditional farm house breakfast, omelettes, french toast and smoothie bowls – something for everyone’s tastes!
Overall we had the most incredible time at Dragonview Lodge! We loved that it was a short two-and-a-half-hour drive from Durban, was in close proximity to all our favourite family Winterton spots and how super modern, contemporary and luxurious the lodge felt. I think especially during the Covid pandemic and following protocols – visiting a small boutique hotel where you know there are only eight families at most visiting the hotel, puts your mind at ease as you know the hotel won’t be crowded and you can maintain social distancing etc during your stay.
The staff were absolutely incredible and accommodating during our stay! I loved that our room was so close to the dining area and kids play area. We even used the changing station in the play area for all of Charlie’s nappy changes. Our room was super comfortable – the beds were like a cloud, we loved that our room had a TV and the hotel catered so beautifully for kids. My only concern was the various stair cases around the hotel – there are a lot, they are steep and the are high so smaller kids would need constant supervision or a good warning but there is a child proof door on the outdoor patio which would prevent any small child venturing down to the pools alone. Other than that – I would highly recommend the lodge as a great family destination!