Travel: South African Farmhouse Style

It was a rough few days with flight cancellations but I finally made it to Johannesburg, the first leg of my three and a half week trip to Africa. When I landed in Joburg (nickname for South Africa’s busiest city) I wanted to kiss the ground, burn my travel weary clothes and take in all the sights. What I did instead was chill out and marvel at every inch of the interior in the French meets South African styled hotel – Morrells Boutique Estate.


This South African farmhouse, whose bones date back to the 1800’s, oozes charm. Every room is decorated with antiques and brightened up with simple, yet elegant fresh flowers arranged in vessels of all shapes, sizes, ages, and materials. Many are housed in repurposed vases fashioned from silver tea pots, porcelain water jugs and tea cups.  Hoteliers Mike and Bernice Morrell have created a home away from home for visitors who detest cookie cutter, mod and impersonal hotel chains.

Many boutique hotels can go astray when it comes to vintage decor, but Bernice clearly knows where and how to edit herself. The hotel is not decorated with your grandmother’s attic pieces, rather each item was carefully sourced and purchased for exact aesthetics. A striped zebra rug lays on the original plank hardwood floors, subtly reminding you, you are indeed in Africa and not in a French countryside. The vintage stove with its original knobs is the highlight of the open kitchen off the breakfast room. Is it wrong to have stove envy?


Morrells Hotel, South Africa 4


The outbuildings and multiple terraces combine bistro-like table seating with natural woods and exposed brick and stone fireplaces are indigenous to South Africa. Combining old and new, exposed wooden beams, crystal chandeliers and canopied beds ensure warmth amid updated bathrooms and walk-in closets. Practical meets frivolity – wonderful.

Maybe I convinced you to stay here because of the design, but you will come back because of the wonderful food and hospitality. Everyone is so friendly from our driver Iassic who picked us at the airport to the chef and cheerful housekeeper who was as adorable as she is hardworking.

Tomorrow night I will be in the Manor House…I can only imagine how crazy cool it will be. Stay tuned and follow me @PriscillaPilon for additional photos of this lovely property and the rest of my trip. I will be covering food, wine, safaris, tented camps and more.


Thank you to Morrells for the complimentary relaxing and inspirational stay. This Francophile is in heaven, but not because my stay was gratis. It is because I appreciate that it is uniquely – chic, upscale and relaxed all at the same time.