• Jo-Anne Richards and Jo-Anne Hitchens running the Art of the Memoir workshops at the Karoo Art Hotel Barrydale
    The Hotel Blog

Memories of 2022. .

2022 opened to the beat of Kansas' haunting song 'Dust in the Wind' as we entered the new year as construction site. We'd eventually only opened our doors for accomodation in March. 2022 9 Months later we look back at an incredible journey with thoughts on how to raise the bar in 2023.

Members of the Klein Karoo / Tankwa bike trip that had a stop over at a place in Barrydale called the Karoo Art Hotel March, 2021. Greg Macfarlane, organiser, left. George Miltiado, Rory MacFarlane, Mike Varrie.

The hotel had gone out of business. It was quite alarming. There was an auction banner flapping off the front verandah. One thing lead to another. We'd end up taking ownership of the distressed Karoo Art Hotel in the August 2022. 

For ever more this will go down as all Greg Macfarlanes fault. Pictured here on a recent revisit to the hotel .

As a creative couple, life has always been one long brainstorm for Sue and I. In September we began renovation in earnest. Construction site then, gorgeous back patio area now

In October 2022 we were putting our best foot forward."Welcome to Barrydale in Bloom, we'll also be blooming soon".

We left ourselves open to inspection by the community all the way through the renovation process.You'd walk into an area of chaos and there stood a banner selling the dream. It was the first time anyone really got any idea as to what we were up to. It was also the first reveal of our new logo with its tail fin icon.

Ideas are easy, execution is harder. Sue always carried the title of 'executive producer' at The Blue Moon Company and she still does at Unplugged. She ran the Karoo Art restoration project as she does her productions.

Barrydale builder Morgan Adonis with a team of 13 pulled a monster of a project off in just 5 months.

Back from a Covid shutdown Vietnam ex Barrydaler Zak Jansen played the role of interim GM.

'The Christmas of 2021 came and we were all still in hard hats. Come new years eve 2021, with the inside still a building site we partied in the street WEWe opened our doors for business on 1 March 2022. 


We found the Tradouw Pass and 'Birrydale the early morning swim club' was born. Birrry on account of the cold.Graham Abbott's Analogue photography was huge hit with us and we've used a lot of it in our promotion. 

Doris Day hotel linked Barrydale history tour guide shot in analogue by Graham Abbott.

Duncan Prior became our first Artist in residence. And the Skull Studio was invented. 

Long time Karoo Art award winning chef Derek Louw played a leading role in 2022. We all got on like a house on fire before Derek finally finally flamed out in December and the gifted Willie Smit walked into our lives. 

The art courses - esp the ones with Kathy Milner were a hit. All of them sold out and she'll be back in 2023.'The Art of the Memoir' courses were also a hit ...

....thanks to the inspirational guidance and really great teaching of the award winning authors Jo Anne Richards (Innocence of Roast Chicken) and Joanne Hitchens (Death and the after parties). 2023 will see them back.

Sputnik the hotel Rolls did a lot of great especially with celebs in 'the media lounge' interviews. Sue and Charlie out and about for a chat in the backseat of out Silver Wraith with ex England Cricket captain Alan Lamb.


The Magical Mystery Tours where a group of mates have booked out the entire hotel and we've helped them turn a Barrydale raid into a grand adventure have been a hit.

The Dandridge groups interpretation of 1920's cycling gear as ther arrive at Net vir Pret to pick up the hire bikes.

Charl Barry's Sunday night movie club in our bioscope up in the beams above the ballroom reflected his eclectic taste and extraordinary knowledge after a lifetime of being a music and live rock music fan.

Down below a once forgotten hall was transformed with crystal chandeliers and a renovated floor that saw a rollout of events - as with the Africa Festival pictured here. 

Terry De Vries labyrinth just across the valley and her sound healing interventions became a hit with guestsThe board out on the road became a daily barometer as to what's going onThen came the wonderful HarleyDaleAnd Barrydale got a name change. Harleydale 2023 will be double the size.

John Dobson of the Stormers lead an inspirational weeknd as a 'conductor of the Karoo Art'.

The Karoo Art Hotel went to Europe with Cape Country Routes to visit leading European travel agents .So many car clubs came .Everyday without fail there was a message - and Charlie wasn't short of exposure...

The village atmosphere and the Karoo Art's eclectic range of village transport lit so many weekend parties up. 

Fine dining became a hotel staple. The Map Room emerged as an elegant private function venue.

Sundays Open Mic night revealed many an emerging talent.

We were blessed with so many inspirational and fascinating guests. Like the avant garde artist Beezie Bailey who commandeered our notice board for portrait of Angel the hotel cat. It was immediately moved off the street and into a prized position on the reception wall. 

And then finally the foreign tourists came back again !

Rick and Sue Melvill. Jan, 2023.