By Dennis Payne, ed.
Franschhoek, 17 June 2016: Leeu Estates, the flagship property of the Leeu Collection (www.leeucollection.com), opened its doors this week (Wednesday 15 June) just outside Franschhoek in South Africa’s Cape Winelands. The 17 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites of the exclusive five-star boutique hotel are dotted among the vineyards of the Estates and have spectacular panoramic views of the Franschhoek valley.
One of the Leeu Estates cottages; view from Manor House room
Located between the mountainside and river, this unique property sits on 68 hectares of vineyards, landscaped gardens and fynbos (indigenous vegetation), providing the ideal setting for an elegant and sophisticated private hideaway. Leeu Estates has remained true to the pillars of the Leeu Collection brand, namely inspiring art collections, unique architecture and sophisticated design; manicured and detailed landscaping that reflects respect for the environment; superlative service with attention to the smallest detail; and an award-winning wine portfolio.
It all started as a personal journey for Leeu Collection’s founder Analjit Singh (aka BAS), an international investor of Indian origin. Captivated by the Western Cape’s exceptional beauty and vibrant energy during a trip to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he decided to buy a family home in the Franschhoek valley. The idea of a family home, however, soon transformed into what it is today – three historic farms joined to create Leeu Estates, a world-class hospitality and winemaking destination.
At the centre of this working wine farm is the meticulously refurbished 19th-century Manor House offering superb comfort, fine dining and platinum service. The contemporary classic, individually styled rooms and suites are filled with customised architectural detailing and tactile textures in a calm colour scheme. Each one features carefully curated artwork and sculptures from various countries, luxurious extras and superbly equipped marble bathrooms. Many have their own terraces and fireplaces, and all enjoy idyllic vineyard and mountain views. For guests travelling as a family or with friends, an entire cottage comprising two or three bedrooms with private living areas may also be booked.
Leeu Estates: Reading Room & Leeu Spa
Another of the hotel’s attractions is the Leeu Spa, a wellness sanctuary offering expert massages and holistic treatments inspired by centuries-old Asian traditions. Using wild-harvested organic ingredients from remote, untainted regions such as the Amazon rain forest and the Himalayas, the hand-blended product range utilised in the treatments harnesses natural healing energy. The spa includes a 15-metre heated infinity swimming pool and a spacious gym, equipped with the latest generation fitness machines, that offers framed views of the majestic mountains.
Leeu Estates offers delicious, innovative cuisine prepared by the culinary team headed by resident executive chef Oliver Cattermole. At Leeu Estates, food and South African vintages from Leeu Collection’s cellar are served in The Dining Room or al fresco on The Garden Terrace, seating up to 40 people. The Reading Room, with its wide selection of reading material, comfortable seating, open wood-burning fireplace, and views of the vineyards and gardens, is where guests can enjoy some time out. The Wine Studio offers guests handcrafted premium wines from the award-winning Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines.
The Bokkie Garden, an expression of love and very close to BAS’s heart, is something unique: an area planted with grasses and hedges that the hotel’s resident herd of bokkies (Afrikaans for small buck) love to eat. ‘Reflective Resonance’ by acclaimed South African sculptor Angus Taylor, also in the Bokkie Garden, is a powerful piece of art in bronze and Belfast granite that is set to become a Franschhoek landmark.
“I am extremely pleased to see this dream of mine turning into a reality,” says Leeu Collection’s founder BAS. “At last, guests from all over the globe can enjoy the Leeu touch and have unforgettable experiences in a superb setting. This place is of great meaning to me and I am truly happy to share the beauty it offers with others.”