Function venues should get better at what they do, just like any business, but this would also depend on whether upgrades and innovations have taken place. So, rather than give you a list of the latest voguey potential venues, here follow a few that have maintained their charm and reputation and also possibly improved over the years. To ensure the success of your year-end function, rather opt for an established venue that appeals for a variety of good reasons.
While sitting across three-tiered steps at overpriced outdoor tables might be de rigueur for some, a year-end function venue should rather be practical, welcoming and conducive to everyone hanging out together and having a good time. Here are our recommendations.
Villa Baragha Country Estate
Book now if it’s 2018’s year-end you’re looking at, as this crew are savvy enough to limit functions to one a day. Situated at the foot of the Magaliesberg, the venue can accommodate a whopping 400 guests and has an eclectic feel. Sometimes pure Africa and sometimes reminiscent of ancient Coptic chapels, it’s charm is conducive to making sure everyone enjoys themselves hanging out, enjoying the scenery and company. The venue runs a tight ship and the service is unwavering.
Kameeldrift West, 079 108 2123
Unlike others who have tossed around the term Tuscan, Casa Toscana has gone the extra mile to create a range of genuine Tuscan venues on-site, including the LeSi Tuscan Restaurant, done up to the hilt. A really beautiful venue, there’s also a well-stocked wine cellar. The Chianti Garden Tent and stunning Rubica Ballroom have to be seen too. A true touch of style, book early if you hope to celebrate your year-end function 2018 there. Don’t forget the company credit card.
Lynnwood Manor, (012) 348 8820
Bentley’s Country Lodge
Bentley’s Country Lodge is that classic thatch-roof-and-kikuyu-lawns venue that you never want to leave. Trading on the inherent beauty of the Magaliesberg, Bentley’s is unpretentious and rustic with decades of experience hosting functions of all kinds. With indoor and outdoor venues, buffets or spitbraais, they can tailor-make your year-end function and ensure it runs smoothly.
Akasia, (012) 542 1751
If you’re happy with a restaurant-style, gather-and-then-go-home arrangement for your function, consider the wonderfully familial Namaskar Restaurant. The upmarket Indian restaurant specialises in functions and has two private dining areas and a banqueting hall accommodating 60 guests, but the venue can also handle up to 200 people at a function. This practised outfit ensures a memorable gathering with great service and a relaxed vibe.
Colbyn, (012) 342 9081 or 079 078 5019
Cricklewood Manor Boutique Hotel
Perhaps a bit tiny for larger corporates, Cricklewood Manor nonetheless offers a stunning setting for smaller parties. With a delicious menu and attentive service, you’re unlikely to forget a day at Cricklewood. If you want to accommodate around 50 guests on-site in luxury suites, look at the photo gallery and you’ll get a feel for why this would make a lovely choice.
Waterkloof, (012) 460 8225 or 071 336 9911
Zebra Country Lodge
A real African venue, the Bush Lodge here typically hosts business conferences of up to 350 delegates, but can quite easily host less formal events too. A bit of a schlep from Pretoria, be assured that once there, it will be completely worthwhile. Situated on an enchanting piece of bush with gurgling streams and thatched roofs, it’s best to discuss your exact requirements timeously to see if they can accommodate a single, large party on the day. And, yes, there are zebra.
Cullinan, (012) 443 6700
Intundla Game Lodge And Bush Spa
Convincing the boss that your year-end function should take place at Intundla with its bush spa isn’t a bad plan. The venue is also a game lodge, conference and function epicentre, and the stunning setting with its green hills and lodges built around a dam will make you forget all about the city. Not only do they offer spa treatments, but also excellent service and a relaxed atmosphere, all of which makes this venue a standout. Although there is a cap on delegates of around 60 people, the good folks at Intundla will always try to accommodate your function.
Boekenhoutskloof, 082 801 2151
Irene Country Lodge
Although their full moniker — African Pride Irene Country Lodge, Autograph Collection — is more than a little pretentious, you’ll forgive them if you look through the online gallery. Offering a variety of beautiful venues, the lodge has hosted innumerable weddings and functions over the years. A maximum of 100 guests can be accommodated, but the staff will always try to make a plan.
In terms of service (plus great food and a lekker kuier) Irene Country Lodge is justified in its pride. Beautiful vistas tug at hearts, but usually, it’s enough to say “Camdeboo Spa” to get all the ladies in the office on board in a heartbeat! Loads of charm and top-tier facilities mean that you really should host a function here, at least once.
Irene, (012) 667 6464
Protea Hotel Waterfront
Don’t knock a hotel until you’ve tried one for a year-end function, and especially this one. For a city feel, this smart hotel surrounded by wide lawns and vistas of Centurion Lake from the pool deck is hard to beat. Mighty convenient and boasting exemplary service, the venues and menus cater for up to 220 guests at an event. With its reputable and highly serviced environment, the Protea Hotel Waterfront from many vantage points is a fine choice for a half-day Friday knock-off into the year-end party.
Centurion, (012) 663 8700
Nt’ Shonalanga Valley Resort
Another venue that’s got it right, the Nt’ Shonalanga Valley Resort isn’t far from anyone in Pretoria, situated on the Hennops River. It has a wonderfully ‘catered for’ atmosphere with congenial service and the team is accommodating and professional. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, it’s another great choice where you can really iron out the details of your year-end function. And yes, there’s a spa here too, just in case a few guests want to arrive earlier and soak up some pampering beforehand.
Centurion, (012) 650 2012
In truth, there are literally hundreds of superb venues in and around Pretoria, something of a testament to the city and the country’s ability to throw a damn fine party. Far from exhaustive, the above list is really designed for those who might spot a venue here and love it. But don’t worry if nothing catches your eye — a good and persistent day or two on Google will demonstrate just how amazing Pretoria can be when it comes to hosting functions.