What a surprise … the most wonderful venue for live music … charming hotel … surely the audience was the greatest treat … A real gem! … Highlight of our romantic breakaway … chic and funky; country elegance and flair … Quirky, comfortable home-away-from-home hotel … Exceeded our expectations … After three nights we felt like we were part of the local community. Highly recommended … an olde worlde jewel … The homely atmosphere, friendly service, attention to detail and tasty food made for an unforgettable weekend.

Guest Review: Mr Colin Barlin

The eccentricity and character of the building. I loved how all the rooms are differently themed and uniquely beautiful. I also was blown away by the restaurant service. The head chef, Derek, fully understood my being vegan and was exceptionally versatile. He went out of his way to make a vegan meal for me at every meal, and the food was excellent every time.

There was honestly nothing that I did not enjoy.

December 2017
Mr Colin Barlin

Guest Review: Michael & Esbé

Ons wil net weereens baie dankie sê vir ‘n wonderlike naweek daar by julle. Ons het die beste tyd van ons lewe gehad. Julle het werklik uit julle pad gegaan om Michael se verjaarsdag die beste een ooit te maak. Julle personeel was ongelooflik vriendelik, behulpsaam en goed georganiseerd en is werklik ‘n groot aanwins vir die hotel. Die aandete was onverbeterlik en die ontbyt was eenvoudig fantasties. Die kamers was pragtig en baie netjies. Die pragtige décor en kunswerke het al ons gaste baie beindruk. Ons gaan verseker gou weer kom kuier.

Vriendelike groete

Junie 2017
Michael + Esbé

Guest Review: Gina Malcanas

We just finished a 2 week visit to South Africa from Florida. We prebooked every night, except the night we spent at the Art Hotel and are we glad we did!!!

This place is amazing. We were the only guests mid week, so had plenty of attention from the excellent well trained, knowledgeable staff! Although the restaurant wasn’t open for dinner, they suggested the steakhouse across the street amd dinner was divine!

We did completely enjoy our made to order breakfast that was included in our rate! We bought 6 small oil paintings created by a young local artist we were told that are the most special souvenirs of our trip. The beds were soooo comfy, we wanted to take them with us and our night in the Art Hotel was the only night we were warm enough because of the electric heating pads and the space heater provided. We slept like angels.

Thank you so much for paying attention to every detail, it counts and we noticed and appreciated all the effort!! Will count the days until we can return! Oh, and our 18 year old son never wanted to leave since he had great WiFi service.

July 2016
Gina Malcanas

Guest Review: Lisa Jeannes

What did you enjoy most about your stay with us?

It’s hard to say. Everything was delightful. The decor and layout was inspiring and beautiful, as was our room. The staff were fantastic..friendly, engaging, real. The gardens are beautiful. A sense of history, intrigue, sophistication, quirkiness and warmth was evident throughout. The restaurant was also wonderful..unusual, adventurous food from a very skilled, clearly passionate chef. The wine list fantastic. Thank you for a fabulous experience!

Keep doing what you’re doing. Please!

April 2016
Lisa Jeannes

Guest Review: Anonymous

“Dear Barrydale Karoo Hotel,

During April 2014, I had the pleasure of staying at your hotel. I arrived unannounced, late at night, after a harrowing day. I was seen to straight away, and even received a drink on the house, to calm my nerves. I didn’t know how long I was going to stay, but ended up staying for 4 days. That in itself, is a compliment to your wonderful hotel.

Every member of staff, from the kitchen personnel who brought food up to my room, to reception, to the chef, and the manager, were absolutely amazing. Talk about bending over backwards to make one feel at home, well that’s the staff at the Barrydale Karoo Hotel. Reggie, Gurshwin, Mandy & Derrick, you all should be commended on your warm, friendly, welcoming, exceptionally helpful personalities. Each one of you added something special to my stay.

In case you can’t remember, I stayed in room 9, then moved to room 10 which I loved, and was then upgraded, free of charge, to the wonderful Groot Karoo room. What a treat!!

Your hotel is so unique. There are so many places to sit and enjoy a quiet moment. Every nook and cranny, has a unique ambience of its own. Whether I was lounging at the pool sipping on wine, or having a scrumptious dinner in the restaurant (the steak is the best I have tasted!), or enjoying entertainment in the bar, a good time was had, and I can wait to visit you again.

Please convey my sincere gratitude and thanks, to all mentioned in this email, as well as Theo, who I believe is the owner.

Maybe I will even be a winner in your monthly draw.”

April 2014


Guest Review: Marthane S

“We hosted our wedding at Barrydale Karoo Hotel recently. The experience surpassed all expectations. The unique character and beautiful interior of the hotel was a perfect backdrop to celebrations. Well thought of spaces for lounging by the pool, reading in the lounge, enjoying a glass of wine on the stoep and so much more. Every room truly has its own personality! Clarkes of the Karoo, the restaurant, created elegant canapés and served truly delicious food from the region with a cosmopolitan twist that lingered on the lips of all in the form of compliments long after the last bites were taken. The perfect companion to this was the hotel’s excellent wine list including good value for money and some true South African icons, easily catering to every taste. And what brought it all together was the exceptional supportive service from the staff – from the moment we arrived until the last guests reluctantly left they were a pure joy. Whether you want to relax, explore, celebrate or just soak up the wonderful Karoo energy – you will look far and hard to find the authentic and surprising experience that is Barrydale Karoo Hotel. James & Marthane.”

7 April 2013

Marthane S

Guest Review: SaltWater Girl 24

“I loved this hotel. Everything about it. The awesome staff, the awesome decor, the awesome bar. Everything about this place is great, and I cannot wait to come back for my second stay. The beds are amazing, and waking up was the best part. We were given a room with a balcony, and it was AMAZING waking up to such a wonderful view. Breakfast was great, and again, the service was top notch.

I love that you get the good old country Karoo feel from this hotel, but at the same time, the quality of service, cleanliness and pretty much everything else, makes you feel like you’re staying at a 5 star hotel in Manhattan.

I cant wait to come back!”

3 April 2013

SaltWater Girl 24

Guest Review: Londonkiwiboy

“My partner and I stayed here for just one night, breaking up our amazing journey from Knysna to Cape Town through the Karoo area. Although a bit on the more expensive side for us, we where so impressed. The hotel is a lovely, solid, historical sort of “highway” hotel that has obviously been fantastically restored – keeping the best of the original features, but also turning into into a beautify boutique hotel with fanastic art and interiors. Pool was lovely to relax in, bed luxurious, rooms pretty spacious, and restaurant and bar lovely. Very romantic hotel in a romantic landscape. Would recommend for a relaxed weekend away from Cape Town, or a drop in on the way there or up the mountain route. ”

29 March 2013


Guest Review: Andre c Marais

“What more can One say BUT EXCELLENT.
Thank You ALL and Especially to Gurshwin from the moment I Phoned her and made the Booking to the end – She was a Star and Very Professional.
We “Relived” Our 1st Honeymoon Trip 28 years ago on the same day and it was ALL Arranged as a Surprise to My Lovely Wife for saying Thank You for ALL Her Love for the past 28 Years.

27 March 2013

Andre c Marais

Guest Review: Susan-Houtbay

“We spent 2 nights at this hotel to join the legendary Magpie ‘Rocky Horror’ Transylbarrydalia Party – and wow what a party! Lovely stay, the hotel is old, but with lots of quirky creative charm and art pieces everywhere … had delicious meals in the restaurant too. Staff at reception were so helpful with clear explanations on how to find the magnificent rock pools in the Tradouw Pass for gorgeous swimming surrounded by magnificent mountains. Great brandy and wine tasting in the area too. We had a front room overlooking the mountains and vineyards and enjoyed hearing the busy town (Saturday morning) going about their business… Sunday was country town quiet… wonderful weekend country-life getaway ”

08 March 2013


Guest Review: Sherry887

“We checked into this very randomly vamped up old Karoo Hotel, with the intrepid exhaustion of world weary travellers, vaguely taking in the fact that the hotel somehow manages to create a sort of artistic fusion between the past and the future.
We were there for the annual Barrydale parade the next day. The parade is a celebration of positive energy, reconcilliation and recycling. (I know. But its true, ok?) Anyone can join the parade, as long as you wear wings. The only problem to us, in consideration of a parade,was that the town seemed devoid of inhabitants….? An ice cold beer on the generous private balcony of or room was wonderful. We stopped caring and started to go with the flow.
Our room was clean, ecclectic and comfortable. There is a pool, a pool table, darts and table tennis. A lounge, with really fun furniture and lots of books, looked inviting. The pub comes to life late at night under the starry karoo sky and the weekend started to show promise. Dinner was lovely: several variations on the same theme… guessed it: Karoo Lamb – with excellent wine.
The next day we explored the villiage, street by street and made unexpected friends as we went along. There really aren’t many people in Barrydale, but there are some really clever and interesting ones in the little bookshops and cafes.
The parade started promptly at the appointed hour and we joined the crowd who seemed to materialise magically in front of the Barrydale Karoo Hotel – including a good deal of foreign tourists, mostly obligingly sporting the obligatory wings, mind you!.
It truly was a remarkable experience and we will not miss this December’s parade for the world. See you there. ”
29 January 2013

Sherry887 — Client

Guest Review: Rozzie

“We stayed here for just one night en route to Franschoek. This is a real gem of a hotel, very funky / quirky & I absolutely loved it. The hotel is filled with so many fabulous decor items & a variety of terrific artwork, that one does not know where to look first.
We stayed in the Garden Suite which was great & has its own private courtyard and furnished outside area. The room is nicely furnished in keeping with the funky style of the hotel, the bed was a little on the small side (for two tall people) & not the most comfortable but we slept well anyway.
We ate a late lunch in the bar & this was by far the best fish and chips we have ever had, amazing! We then had dinner at the restaurant, Clarke of the Karoo, great service and again had another truly fantastic meal, I now know why the lamb curry is the signature dish, it was to die for!
A very worthwhile stopover if in the area or en route past Barrydale. ”

16 January 2013

Rozzie — Client

Guest Review: Roisin Corr

“Had a great and very memorable stay at the Barrydale Karoo Hotel. Only stayed for one night as a stopover with 2 young kids but could have easily stayed another to explore the area had we time. We stayed in the Garden Suite which was fantastic for kids. They slept on mattresses on the floor but there was plenty of room and the enclosed patio/garden area was very private with a stunning fish pond. A covered outdoor seating area and a separate door leading to the breakfast room and pool was bonus feature. The hotel itself is very quirky and interesting to say the least. Lots of unusual artwork and armchairs(especially the two on the left of the main door. I dare you to lift the cushions!) Had the most fantastic meal in the Arabian/Morrocan style restaurant and I can still taste the delicious succulent lamb I ordered. Can honestly say it was one of the best meals I had in my Western Cape tour. I highly recommend trying to include at least a one night stay in this lovely town and hotel into your itinerary.”

Roisin Corr

Owner Review: Theo Nel

“I am passionate about hotels. I have visited hundreds of them, some of which I have coveted. I pursued the Barrydale Karoo Hotel for a number of years and finally, in April 2011, bought this Grand Lady of the Klein-Karoo. She has been a hotel since 1888! Imagine the rich history and fantastic stories behind her … One of my great hotelier heroes is the late David Rawdon (see interview (PDF|626KB) of Lanzerac / The Marine / The Lord Milner at Matjiesfontein fame.) Like him, I love the creation of a special space and vibe in a hotel, and want this hotel to develop into something very warm, upbeat and extraordinary! I love the Karoo – Groot and Klein. Barrydale is one of the great character rural villages of South Africa and the Barrydale Karoo Hotel is the heart of the village. There are few remaining typical platteland South African hotels left – here in Barrydale I want to retain this old-style typical South African institution that is such a known and loved part of our heritage – with a twist, however, to make it truly exceptional: In 2015 we repositioned and rebranded the hotel to become what it is now: The Karoo Art Hotel.”

Theo Nel — Owner

To read what guests have said since Theo took over the hotel in April 2011, visit Tripadvisor.