This Inn dates back to the old “Royal” hotel era of which most hotels have already been demolished or converted to office space: for sale

This Inn dates back to the old “Royal” hotel era of which most hotels have already been demolished or converted to office space

Lady Grey, Eastern Cape, South Africa


6 900 000 ZAR

Agent: Cliff Jacobs - Managing Principal Estate Agent & CEO (Nat.Dpl.Hotel Man (UJ). M.P.R.E.)
Agent Cellphone: +27 (0) 84 413 1071 / +27 (0) 61 716 6951
Agent Office Number: +27 (0) 21 554 0283
Agent Email Address:
Type: Inn and Restaurant
Bedrooms: 12
Bathrooms: 5
Showers: 7
Parking: 15
Yield: Not Disclosed
TGCSA Rating: 3 Star

Lady Grey village

Where life is worth living...

With “God’s thumbprint on the mountain” you could only expect Lady Grey to be peaceful, spiritual and magical…  Those are the words often used to describe Lady Grey.  Visitors with the intention to sleep one night often look for property the next morning and end up staying much longer.   

Beautifully set in a valley with a backdrop of mountains, many trees, a number of interesting old houses and more gravel than tarred roads, Lady Grey is the most scenic of all the villages in the area.  It has a very interesting history and inscriptions on old headstones in the Cemetery confirms it.

During the past few years Lady Grey has become a sought after tourism destination and home to artists and people who wish to escape city life.  Locals have also become more aware of tourists and tourism attractions have been made more accessible and visitor friendly.  Various annual events attract a large number of tourists to Lady Grey. 

Lady Grey has a vibrant community which includes many young people.  Something is always happening somewhere.  It could be anything from a performance by the Arts Academy (drama, dance and music or choir recital) to an art exhibition by any of the artists, fancy dress party or bring-and-braai at our Inn, the “Lang Tafel” or a steak evening at the Country Club or just a day of swimming, picnicking and fly fishing at Karnmelkspruit.

Lady Grey is situated in the North Eastern Cape, just below Lesotho, in the Southern Drakensberg.  The village is on the Maluti Route, close to Aliwal North and about 3 hours from Bloemfontein. 

Lady Grey is also the perfect stopover for Tiffendell Ski resort.  Jouberts Pass on it’s doorstep is the third highest Mountain Pass in South Africa.  

The Lady

Lady Eliza Lucy Grey (born Spencer)

At the time when the town Lady Grey was established, it was fashionable to name a town in honor of the current Governor or his wife. A gift of some sort would normally be given to the new town in return.  Sir George Grey was Governor of the Cape and a request was approved to name the town in honor of his wife, Lady Eliza Lucy Grey (born Spencer).  The story of Sir George and Lady Grey is rather unusual. She was not always well loved and he did not have an easy personality.  Life took an unexpected turn but let me leave you to read about it…

Eliza Lucy Grey; 17 December 1822 – 4 September 1898), was the daughter of British Royal Navy officer Captain Sir Richard Spencer and Ann, Lady Spencer. She was the wife of Sir George Grey.

Early life

Elizabeth Lucy Spencer was born 17 December 1822 in a quaint and modest house near the Cobb in Lyme Regis, Dorset, England.

In 1833, her father was knighted and appointed Government Resident at Albany, Western Australia on the recommendation of Sir James Stirling. In the same year the Spencer family sailed in the storeship HMS Buffalo, loaded with plants, livestock, farm implements, stores and servants reaching Western Australia in September of that year. Her father purchased the Government Farm, and she resided there with her parents, seven brothers and two sisters. They lived in a pise cottage until, in 1836, the current two-storey stone house was built adjoining the older home.


George Grey was a visiting magistrate in Albany when he met young Eliza Lucy, the seventh child of Sir Richard and Lady Spencer, at their Strawberry Hill Farm. George and Eliza married on 2 November 1839 at the farm after a brief courtship. She was sixteen and he was twenty-seven.

Their only child, a son named George, born 1841, lived only five months. It has been said that George blamed Eliza for his death, claiming their child was neglected.

They journeyed to England but would return to Australia when Grey was appointed the third Governor of South Australia, from 1841 to 1845. From there they moved onto New Zealand where George was Governor of New Zealand from 1845 to 1853. In 1848 Grey was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, making Eliza Lady Grey.

Grey, a keen naturalist, sent a skin of a honey possum, together with a description, to the Zoological Society of London, suggesting that it be named Tarsipes spenserae, after his wife. These findings were published by the Society on 8 March 1842. The scientific name was accepted for nearly 150 years and it wasn't until post-1970 that an earlier claim by Gervais & Verreaux (albeit by only 5 days) was recognised.

Grey amassed a sizeable collection of artefacts in Australia and New Zealand. These, along with copious research notes he had made about the indigenous cultures of both lands, were intended as the basis for his later published works. When not occupied with government work involving bureaucrats or military officials Grey was sequestered with local Maori, recording their myths and songs and learning their language. Eliza's attitude to Grey's literary and anthropological interests is unknown, but it seems a fair guess she was probably indifferent.

In 1848 Government House in Auckland suffered a massive fire and the Greys lost many of their possessions; furniture, linen, china & silver, brought out from England and very difficult to replace in such a small isolated colony. Also destroyed were Grey's considerable collection of artefacts and manuscripts.

This undoubtedly had a traumatic effect on Grey, who threw himself into his work. He spent the next few years travelling widely throughout New Zealand inspecting the new Colony and ascertaining the exact political situation at a time when tensions were increasing between the settlers and the Maori. He slowly replaced a lot of the destroyed New Zealand material in his collections.

Eliza was left by herself in Auckland in the replacement Government House for months on end, which may have contributed to the deterioration of their relationship. Left to her own devices, Eliza enjoyed herself as the most important female in Auckland society and her apparent happiness in his absence may well have annoyed Grey, who was known to have a fiery temper and possibly a jealous streak. Eliza's bubbly personality, which may have attracted George to her in Albany, might have concerned him now. The possibility of flirtatious behaviour being misconstrued as infidelity on her part may have created more stress for him.

In 1854 the Greys arrived in the Cape where Sir George Grey had been posted as Governor of the Cape Colony. Returning to the Cape following a visit to England in 1860, there was an incident and the marriage hit stormy waters. This took place at Rio de Janeiro (which seems an unusually indirect route from England to South Africa). George accused Eliza of flirting with the ship's captain, Admiral Henry Keppel. The boat was quickly turned around and the disgraced Eliza was left ashore at Rio de Janeiro. George continued his voyage back to Cape Town alone.

Later life

George Grey and his wife Eliza had an unhappy marriage; it seems plain that they were simply ill-suited to each other. Initially attracted by her beauty and bubbly personality, Grey was probably the sort of man who actually needed another sort of person as his life partner. It is likely he assumed that his pretty, vivacious bride would naturally transform into a demure, sensible mother who would take an intelligent interest in his intellectual pursuits. He (like the Duke of Wellington whose marriage failed for very similar reasons) was simply unprepared for the reality that his wife's personality and youth was not going to live up to his high expectations. That she was mere 16 to his 27 at the time of marriage and that he is said to have blamed her for the death of their only child cannot be overlooked as a probable source of misery for Eliza. As divorce was not an option at the time they may have ended up feeling trapped in a loveless (and in this case childless) marriage.

Infidelity may have been a particularly sore point for him; Grey's father died before he was born and there were rumours that Lieutenant-Colonel George Grey was not actually his parent. Grey's meteoric rise through the colonial service contributed to the rumours that his real father was in fact Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (making him Queen Victoria's half-sibling) or one of the other Royal Dukes, explaining the favouritism shown to him by Victoria. Untrue as this was, Grey was aware of the rumours and thus probably hypersensitive to any behaviour by Eliza that might be misconstrued as infidelity. Eliza was very possibly innocent of any real indiscretion, but it is now impossible to know the truth. He was noted for never mentioning her name for the period of their separation, a fact which rather speaks to his inflexible nature.

The Greys were estranged for 36 years; he in New Zealand, she in England – on opposite sides of the world. Grey continued his political career in New Zealand, and remarkably, transitioned from the role of Governor to that of Premier, continuing to play a pivotal role in the formation of the country. Eliza by contrast lived very quietly and largely resided away from London. This seems in contrast to her twenty years of married life where she enjoyed being at the centre of lively and fashionable social events. She converted to the Roman Catholic Church and it was said she became very religious in her later years, devoting much time and energy to charitable works.

In 1894 Grey returned to England and was made a Privy Councilor to the Queen. The Greys were reconciled, it has been said, only through the personal intervention of Queen Victoria and the Gladstones, only a year before they both died in 1898. George Grey died on 19 September in London, having been nursed by Eliza during his last illness which lasted for 18 months. Eliza, however, pre-deceased him by 14 days. She was 75 years old.

Following an attack of influenza Eliza suffered a violent affection of the nerves of the left leg, to which doctors give the name of "phlegmasia." Three months ago Lady Grey went to Bournemouth for change of air, but apparently this did not suit her, for she almost immediately became worse, and steadily continued to get weaker until twelve days ago, when she experienced the paralytic stroke which so soon proved fatal.

Separated in death as in life, Eliza's was buried at Bournemouth, Grey (too ill to accompany her to Bournemouth or to attend her funeral) received a state funeral and was interred in St Paul's Cathedral.

Her obituary in part read:

During the eventful career of her husband she was his earnest and discreet helpmate. She took an interest in all that he did, and especially did all she could for the native races of New Zealand and South Africa. She was a capital walker, and could even keep pace with Bishop Selwyn—no ordinary feat. She was a devout Churchwoman. She was well au courant with currant [sic] literature, was a splendid hostess, and had a keen insight into character.

There has always been something special about Lady Grey…

  • Station of the year 1962
  • Dorp van die Jaar, First in the Eastern Cape, Second Country Wide
  • SENQU MUNICIPALITY in Lady Grey is listed under the best Municipalities in South Africa.  It had Clean Audits for many consecutive years and has accumulated various prestigious awards.

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Key features

Owner's comments

Located in Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape Region, our Inn features a barbecue and views of the mountain. Free WiFi and secure parking is available on site.

Some rooms include a seating area for your convenience. You will find tea-and-coffee-making facilities in the room. Rooms are fitted with an en suite bathroom with free toiletries. A flat-screen TV is offered.

A full English breakfast is optional and room service is available at our Inn. A restaurant and coffee shop is available on site. There is a shared lounge at the property and guests can enjoy the on-site bar. A travel desk offering tourism and activity information is available at the property.


About us

The Inn dates back to the old “Royal” hotel era of which most hotels have already been demolished or converted to office space.  Few of these hotels still exist and even less still have the original old fashioned charm, character and warm homely feeling.

The Inn still has it all.  The owners grew up in Lady Grey and dearly love and cherish the old Inn.  After many years of living in South African cities and abroad, their passion for Lady Grey brought them back in April 2002 when they bought the Inn.  

Instead of the clinical white and mass produced “all rooms look the same” approach, they decided to follow their hearts and decorate each room according to it’s own character.  Beautiful antique furniture adorn most rooms and the feeling is clean, comfortable, warm and welcoming.  All rooms have on-suite bathrooms and the usual guest amenities. 

The Restaurant is named “Lady Eliza’s”, after the wife of Sir George Grey, and is open to the public.  The A la Carte menu offers a wide selection of delicious meals.  Light entertainment is often provided and guests often drive long distances to eat at Lady Eliza’s. 

The recently opened Sarah Bella Coffee Shoppe was named after the “plucky post mistress of Lady Grey”, Sarah Bella Glueck. Early morning the full Continental spread as well as an English breakfast is served.  It is open throughout the day and the menu contains a wide selection of meals and beverages. 

The Conference Facility originally served as a storage area for Liquor but was recently renovated to become a comfortable Conference Venue.  It has full floor carpets, air conditioning, a large pull-down overhead screen, white board, flip chart, many power points for computers and comfortably seats 40 delegates at tables or 60 in rows. 

The old Magistrates Court dating from 1889 also belongs to the owner's family.  It has  been renovated and now serves as a self-catering/catered guest house.  It comprises of three bedrooms a bathroom, kitchen and lounge and is situated a street away from the Inn.  It is the ideal holiday home for a family and is serviced every day. 

History of the Inn

The age of the building is unknown but we know that it was already operating as a Hotel in about 1872 when HR Giddy (born 1852) and his brother OS Giddy (born 1847) stayed over.  In his reminiscences, HR Giddy writes about the diamond rush after discovery of diamonds near Kimberley, his chronic illness caused by the dust and his journey back to Barkly East on which his brother accompanied him.  On passing through Lady Grey, they “put up at the Commercial Hotel also known as Rose’s Hotel and is today named  our Inn. This indicates that the Inn is more than 140 years old.

In those early days, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Rose, a German, possibly Jewish, was the owner of the Commercial Hotel.  When he died in 1897 his son, also CFW Rose (Carlie), took over. 

Carlie married Nelie Ross in 1902 and he added a large stable, forage and harness room, cart shed and a four room cottage to the Hotel.  Today this is the laundry, workshop, garages and storage rooms at the back of the hotel.

Our Rooms

All rooms were lovingly decorated and each has it’s own style.  Much thought went into providing modern comforts and making it look beautiful and homely while maintaining the old world charm and character. 

Facilities include free Wi-Fi, TV with 9 channels, coffee and tea, basic toiletries, heaters and electric blankets to keep you warm during winter. A back-up power supply keeps the lights on during load shedding. Electric sockets have been installed at strategic points to make it comfortable for the guest to plug in and charge phones and electrical devices or work comfortably at a desk. The Inn has a strong bore-hole which supplies clean water to the Inn, even when there is a drought.  Most rooms have a teddy on the bed to keep you company in case you are alone.

All rooms have flat screen TV’s despite some older photos that still show the old TV’s.

Room 1 – Single with Shower Downstairs 

Single room with 3/4 bed and on-suite bathroom with shower. This is  a comfortable room close to the entrance.

It overlooks the veranda  and has a view of the Witteberg. The décor includes an antique wardrobe and dressing table as well as painted plates by a local artist. 

Room 2 – Double room with Shower Downstairs 

Double room with double bed and on-suite bathroom with shower.  This is a favourite room with guests who prefer a shower and wish to be close to the entrance.

The room overlooks the veranda and has a view of the Witteberg. Décor includes a matching antique headboard, wardrobe and table. The room also has a fireplace. An additional fee is charged for use of the fireplace and it must be arranged in advance.  

Room 3 – Family Room with Bath Downstairs

Self catering or catered. Family room with on-suite bathroom with bath (no shower). The room has four single beds of which two can be converted to a King-size if requested in advance.

This suite is ideal for a family of four. It overlooks the veranda and has a view of the Witteberg. The décor includes an antique wardrobe, dressing table, desk, Chester chair as well as interesting old plates and an old wooden suitcase. The large headboard used to be the headboard and foot-end of the antique double bed of this room, now beautifully converted and upholstered. The painting “Trompetjie” is by deceased local artist Charlotte-Marie Stoltz. 

The room has basic self-catering facilities such as a microwave oven, fridge, cutlery and crockery. 

Room 4 – Double Room with Shower Downstairs

Double room with double bed and on-suite bathroom with shower.

This is a comfortable, quiet room overlooking the back garden.

Room 5 – Double Room with Bath Downstairs

Double room with double bed and on-suite bathroom with bath (no shower). This is a comfortable room, overlooking the back garden.

The décor includes an antique headboard, wardrobe and Chester chair. The room also has a desk which enables the business guest to work  comfortably. 

Room 6 – Single Room with Bath Downstairs

This single room is a cosy, comfortable antique gem.  It has a 3/4 bed and on-suite bathroom with bath (no shower). This is a close to the front and back entrance and has a view of the back entrance and garden. 

It is a great favourite with guests who prefer a single room with a bath. The décor includes an antique wardrobe and wash stand and the framed tapestries and old fashion photos add a touch of nostalgia. 

Room 7 – Double Room with Bath Upstairs

Also called the Moulin Rouge/Honeymoon Room. Double room with two single beds which can be converted to a King-size if requested in advance.

The bathroom is part of the room and it has a bath (no shower). It overlooks the veranda and has a spectacular view of the Witteberg. The décor includes an antique wardrobe, dressing table, and wooden chest. The large headboard used to be the antique headboard and foot-end of the original double bed of this room, now    beautifully converted and upholstered. The Moulin Rouge painting was done specially for this room by a local artist.

Room 8 – Double Room with Shower Upstairs

Also called the Angel Room. Double room with double bed and on-suite  bathroom with shower.

This room overlooks the back garden and entrance. The Angel drawings were done specially for this room by a local artist.

Room 9 – Family Room with Shower Upstairs

Family room with a double bed and two single beds and on-suite bathroom with shower. It overlooks the veranda and has a spectacular view of the Witteberg. The décor includes an antique wardrobe and chest of drawers. The room also has a fireplace. An additional fee is applicable for the use of the fireplace and it must be arranged in advance.

Room 10 – Single Room with many comforts

Upstairs, self catering or catered. Single room with 3/4 bed and on-suite bathroom with shower. It is a small room with many comforts. This recently renovated room at the end of the top passage is relatively quiet. The décor reminds you of your vacation at the sea and the view from the window is that of the garden, part of town and the Witteberg. 

Room 11 – Double Room with Bath Upstairs

Also called the Penny Farthing Room. Double room with twin beds and on-suite bathroom with bath and a separate toilet.

IT has a view of Lady Grey and the Witteberg. the decor includes an antique wardrobe and desk.  

Facilities include a silent mini fridge, microwave oven and basic cutlery and crockery.

Room 12 – Single Room with many comforts

Upstairs, self catering or catered. Single room with 3/4 bed and on-suite bathroom with shower. Teddy is on the bed to keep you company. The Inn has a restaurant and all meals are available at an additional cost. 

The room is small but it has many comforts. Facilities include a silent mini fridge, microwave oven and basic cutlery and crockery.  

Facilities and Amenities


  • WiFi
  • Room service
  • Off-street parking
  • Children under 4, T&C apply
  • Pets, Pet Friendly, T&C apply
  • Clean drinking water on tap
  • Lady Grey Tourist/History Information
  • Lady Grey History/Genealogy research facility


  • TV – 9 channels
  • Complimentary tea/coffee tray
  • Basic Toiletries
  • Hair Dryer
  • Electric blankets and heaters during winter
  • Backup power for lights during load shedding


  • Take-aways
  • Braai/Barbecue
  • Laundry facilities
  • Fax/photocopy facilities
  • Conference facilities
  • Fully licensed a la Carte Restaurant and Coffee Shoppe

Welcome to Lady Eliza's Restaurant

We offer a hearty Continental or English breakfast until 10:00 after which the a la Carte menu is available. Some of the favourites are the A-grade Rump steaks and Lamb chops, Lamb shanks, Spare Ribs, Chicken Valdostana and Pizzas.

Room service is available at no extra cost and we also offer take-aways. Special meals can be arranged to suit the budget for groups or events. The restaurant is fully licensed.

On weekdays we open at 7:00 and on weekends and public holidays at 7:30. On a quiet evening the last orders are taken at 19:30 and on a busy evening, the restaurant closes after all guests have been served. Closed on Christmas day.


We also offer the perfect venue for private functions such as parties and small weddings.  The restaurant seats up to 50 guests and the braai area at the bar is ideal for fun birthday celebrations.  The conference room lends itself perfectly for chamber music performances, art exhibitions or get-togethers with cheese & wine or snacks. Both venues can be combined for a specific function.

Services included

  • Cash bar
  • Standard hotel tables, chairs, cutlery and crockery
  • Table cloths and serviettes (white & red)
  • Tailor made menu to suit your taste
  • Venues available until 24:00

Sarah Bella Coffee Shoppe

Sarah Bella Coffee Shoppe was named after the “plucky post mistress of Lady Grey”, Sarah Bella Glueck.  From early morning every day, the full Continental spread is available as well as a selection of hot breakfasts from the A la Carte all day Breakfast Menu.  Sarah Bella’s Coffee Shoppe also offers a selection of coffees, tea’s, cake, tart as well as  more substantial meals such as Burgers, Pizza’s, Steak’s, Chops, Pasta’s etc. The Coffee Shoppe is open all day, every day from 8:30 (or earlier). Closed only on Christmas morning. 

Conference Room

The facility is available for corporate meetings, conferences, seminars, church services and private functions.  It is also a great venue for art exhibitions, get-togethers with snacks/cheese & wine or chamber music performances

We provide a positive setting in which communication can take place and minds can meet without hindering outside disturbances.  The room is fully carpeted and furniture arranged to suit the requirements.  We can accommodate 45 delegates seated at tables or 60 seated in rows.

Venue for functions fitted with:

  • Air conditioning
  • Data projector (if required)
  • Large pull-down screen
  • Flip chart
  • Electrical plug sockets (many)
  • Dado rail for art exhibitions

Bottled water, mints, meals, tea and snacks are supplied according to the requirements.

MVCI Mountain View Country Inn
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MVCI Mountain View Country Inn 1

Cliff Jacobs (Nat Dpl Hotel Man (UJ). MPRE. GA Level 5 TEFL)

Managing Principal / CEO

Exquisite Hotel Consultants (Pty) Ltd

Mobile: +27 (0) 84 413 1071 / +27 (0) 61 716 6951

Landline: +27 (0) 21 554 0283

Skype: cliff.jacobs


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