What We Love
- Poolside afternoon tea with dramatic mountain views
- Stonewalled spa offering treatments inspired by ancient Asian traditions
- Reading about the art of winemaking next to the wood-burning fireplace in the elegant library
- Exploring Franschhoek’s fantastic food and wine scene
What To Know
- Franschhoek village, an hour’s drive from Cape Town, is minutes away from the hotel
- Most of the area’s wineries are within a 15-mile radius
- Wi-Fi is available
- The spa includes a gym offering yoga and pilates tuition
Leeu Estates is part of the Leeu Collection of upscale boutique properties, owned by Indian-born magnate Analjit Singh, who has become a champion for South Africa’s art and architecture—not to mention its wines. To renovate this traditional Cape Dutch building, he hired Cape Town-based designer Beverley Boswell to create 21st-Century classic interiors filled with sumptuous textures in shades of grey and taupe. The property—a main manor house with six rooms and 11 cottage suites—is surrounded by gardens conceived by local landscape artist Franchesca Watson and working vineyards overseen by winemakers Chris and Andrea Mullineux. Most of the elegant furnishings were custom-made by acclaimed South African craftsmen Pierre Cronje and James Mudge, but what really stands out is the handpicked collection of African art that includes large-scale sculptures of goddesses and mythical figures. In the restaurant, chef Oliver Cattermole prepares a short seasonal menu that features local flavors as well as British classics. Also not to be missed: Leeu Spa, a stone-and-glass sanctuary offering treatments that use indigenous botanical oils.
In the Area
Franschhoek, just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town, is a scenic 17th-century settlement that has evolved into one of the world’s top wine and food destinations. On your way there, you’ll pass Stellenbosch, a pretty town whose oak-lined streets are dotted with cafés, boutiques, and art galleries. Stop for a breakfast of brioche French toast at the rustic-chic Schoon de Companje. If it’s already lunchtime, drive on to Pierneef a la Motte in Franschhoek, a restaurant set among La Motte estate’s famous vineyards whose elegant interiors were inspired by artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef’s South African landscapes. Other must-see wineries include Tokara, an excellent source of sauvignon blanc, and the gorgeously landscaped (and impeccably decorated) Delaire Graff Estate. A stroll around Franschhoek village is also in order. Start at the top of Huguenot Road to see the Huguenot Monument to religious freedom built in the 1940s, then stop at the Holden Manz Collection to admire its impressive contemporary African art. The team behind Leeu Estates recently opened Tuk Tuk Microbrewery in town, where you can observe the beer-making process while munching on tacos and other Mexican bites.
How to Get There
We spent two nights at Leeu Estates. The hotel and grounds are spectacular with breathtaking views of Franschhoek. The website does not do the place justice. Most memorable are the staff. Everyone is accommodating and friendly - no request is too much. All of the food we had from the restaurant was excellent and there is a wonderful spa in which to relax and swim, set amongst the vineyards. This is the perfect place to relax and switch off. Faultless.
Room 2! what a view... Restaurant, new, but well in line to become a great one. Art incredible. Everyone is so kind and looks happy to see you.... Vineyards and walks very nice. Wine tasting idem.. so now you know why you should also go there!
From the moment we arrived to the moment we left , the entire experience was wonderful and memorable. The staff took the time to remember your name and even your morning coffee preferences. A trip of a lifetime, although I think we will be back in this lifetime.