Richard and his wife Mouse opened Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse in September 1998, building on their many years of experience in the hospitality industry and their reputation as originators of the Country House movement in the 1980s.
Set on the family farm in the shadow of Cleopatra Mountain and overlooked by the brooding majesty of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Mountains, the hotel is cosy and comfortable, described by Mouse as “a romantic intimate gourmet getaway”. Fires crackle in vast fireplaces, stairs lead to a wine cellar that boasts a diverse range of wines, a deck offers a lakeside view of trout that bubble up to view visitors.
The hotel is legendary for its sublime cuisine, slick yet subtle service and its exclusive atmosphere of relaxed peace and tranquility. There are only 11 bedrooms, each with their own distinct décor and theme. Richard continues to oversee all meals prepared for guests although he is able to escape thanks to his accomplished team in the kitchen. Mouse’s green fingers ensure a constant supply of freshly-picked vegetables and herbs from their extensive kitchen gardens, and their keen interest in wine (their daughter very astutely married a Cape wine-maker), ensures that the wine list is bursting with liquid treasures. Guests snuggle beneath soft mohair blankets and wake to the crisp mountain air, perhaps hearing the sound of rare crowned cranes honking overhead.