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
Upon arrival, I was greeted by name and told exactly where my friends were situated. We had awine tasting and had an exceptionally professional and down to earth staff member explain the history. There was no sales talk or bored mono - toned description of the wines, but a vibrant description and discussion.
The wines wee elegant.
From there we had lunch in the restaurant. Wow! Excellent, outstanding taste and presentation!!!
Expensive, but we'll worth it!
We staid 2 nights and that was perfect, we had a nice villa old style, beautiful and perfect in design and quality. Staff is a bit snobbish sometimes in the main building, staff in room nice. You’ll enjoy a nice little wine tasting on your trip, take the extended one even though you will have to pay for that. We had dinner both nights outwards. Small breakfast, most to order.
We only stayed here for one night having been moved from Mont Rochelle who had lost our reservation (see separate review). We had decided to stay at Mont Rochelle for the first night, which they did have space for, but moved to the Leeu for the second night. Having been here we wished we had spent both nights here. It's an absolutely fabulous hotel - extremely peaceful and relatively small (I'm not sure how many rooms they have). The rooms were beautifully decorated and large, and the pool area was lovely, overlooking the vineyards. There were drinks which you could help yourself to and just write down what you had, and a phone to call for food if you fancied some lunch by the pool. Sadly it was jus the one night we were there but if we ever go back to Franschoek we shall definitely return. Heaven on earth!!!
Spending a night in such a luxurious and beautiful cottage on the Leeu Estate was a treat of note. I highly recommend this magnificent Wine Estate. It is child friendly but a romantic getaway is the perfect experience. My husband and I enjoyed a wine tasting in the wine tasting center, an outstanding dinner at The Dining room of the Estate, not to mention the vast variety of breakfast selection the following morning. The best breakfast we’ve ever had with the apple and beetroot juice being my highlight. Our room was immaculately clean (which is a must for me) and every comfort request was carered for. Room service was outstanding. I cannot rave enough about my entire experience at this idyllic place. The entire Estate is scattered with books, art works and statues. It’s a haven of culture and luxury.
Coming from Hermanus, the road has amazing views.
Leeu is a peaceful place with delicious food (we had lunch before wine tasting). You can order 2 or 3 dishes (starter, main and desert) and the cheapest wine will be R130 - a very very very good white wine.
The wine tasting is great, but you have to get there before 4pm, because it lasts 1 hour and the Wine Studio closes at 5pm.