Nick’s Place, Brand St, Smithfield
Nick’s Place offers great accommodation for the weary traveller. Located in the village of Smithfield, Nick’s Place is both halfway between East London and Gauteng and between Port Elizabeth and Gauteng.
For people travelling from the Western Cape to Durban, this is also a perfect stopover.
The Southern Free State has excellent roads with very little traffic and is a very good alternative route between major cities. Most of these intercity travels involve journeys of over eight hours and a midway layover makes perfect sense. So, look no further than Nick’s Place.
Owned and managed by Nick and Fabrice, it’s perfectly situated, extremely comfortable and is the only B&B in the area that has a licensed pub and a restaurant.
On a recent long distance trip, I spent the night in this delightful guesthouse and enjoyed every minute of my stay.
I particularly enjoyed sitting on the veranda on a sultry evening chatting with the owners and the other guests. This is a guesthouse that has been lovingly created as a haven for weary travellers.
Nick says; “I opened the guest house ten years ago after I left the craziness of the corporate world.”
Well, Smithfield is about as far away from the rush of the urban jungle that you can get. Nick has certainly created a place of tranquillity and happiness.
Accommodation at Nick’s Place
The guesthouse offers both B&B and self-catering accommodation.
There is a single self-catering chalet that is pet-friendly and set apart from the main house in a fully-fenced, private garden.
The cottage, which can accommodate a family of four, has its own fully-equipped kitchen with a fridge, microwave, electric stove and oven. Its veranda is very welcoming and is ideal for guests wanting to use the outside braai.
There is a single bedroom with a double bed and the rest of the open plan cottage has all you need for a comfortable overnight stay including a double couch that can sleep two children.
The focal point of the cottage is the cast iron stove because Smithfield can get rather chilly in winter. This stove acts mainly as a heater for the room, but can be used to cook too.
Within the main building are three en-suite bedrooms – The Executive Suite, the White Room and the Brown Room. These three rooms have a few things in common – they are cosy, warm and neatly decorated.
“The décor is mostly Victorian with a lovely mix of brass, iron, oak, maple and pine furniture. The wooden floors and high ceilings recall a turn-of-the-century look and feel,” describes Nick.
The Executive Suite sports a four-poster, King-size bed and a fireplace. If romance is in the air, then this is the room for you!
The White Room is located at the end of the passage – furthest away from the entrance, bar and restaurant. This room is all about luxury, privacy and comfort.
Nick adds, “The White Room is so called because of the constant light entering the room through its large bay windows – the White Room personifies tranquillity. Persian carpets and rustic furniture solidifies its lived-in feel and you will find yourself kicking off your shoes before setting down your luggage.”
The Brown Room has two single beds and is named for its earthy overtones. It was in the Brown Room that I spent a very comfortable night. The bathroom has a shower.
Each room comes with extra blankets, an electric blanket and a heater for the cold winter evenings. The rooms also have a TV and a tea and coffee station as well as air-conditioning.
There is also a small plunge pool in the garden, which can come in very handy in summer.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the guesthouse as is a laundry service.
Facilities at Nick’s Place
The veranda, bar or dining room, depending on the weather, are the focal points of Nick’s Place. On warm summer evenings, the veranda is perfect; on chilly evenings, you can enjoy your pre-dinner drink in the cosy bar before entering the dining room for a delectable dinner.
The veranda is north-facing and home to the guesthouse’s pets. Here, I spent a most pleasant evening chatting to the owners, locals who had popped in for dinner as well as a couple of weary travellers.
Despite being active members of the conversation, Nick and Fabrice ensured that drinks were refilled and dinner served.
Dinner was fantastic. The menu is short, but has something for every taste. My daughter, who travelled with me, loved the shrimp cocktail and my mushroom and bacon burger was superb. The chips were fresh cut, crisp and delicious.
Breakfast was served in the dining room and consisted of a fresh Bodum coffee, yoghurt, cereal, fruit and a cooked English breakfast.
I remarked on the incredible collection of silverware in the dining room. Fabrice said that it was a lifetime collection.
I’ll be sure to use Nick’s Place again.
Top reasons for visiting staying at Nick’s Place
- Great restaurant and pub
- Very comfortable
- Excellent hosts
- Quiet & restful
- Ideal stop off point on a long journey
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