Luxuriate in the Artistic Haven of Leeu Estates, Franschhoek
When you arrive at the gate of a property, are greeted by name and “We’ve been expecting you”, you know that you’re going to be in for a special stay. Leeu Estates, part of the Leeu Collection portfolio, is set at the foot of the Dassenberg mountains in Franschhoek and is owned by Analjit Singh, who has become synonymous with development in the area.
The Leeu Collection is also known for its impeccable style and luxury to the nth degree and in fact, Leeu Estates is the only hotel in the Cape Winelands to have achieved the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA)’s 5-Star Premium status. This was introduced in April 2019 to recognise exceptional 5-star properties that have reached the pinnacle of quality.
The grounds of Leeu Estates at Dassenberg are absolutely immaculate, not a leaf is out of place. The drive through the property to the reception area passes lawns, young vines and the ‘bokkie’ rose garden, all of which are perfectly manicured – nipped and tucked by a team of garden management who only operate at certain times of the day, so as not to disturb the guest experience. This is just one example of the degree that the team have gone to in order to ensure that guests have the ultimate stay.
For the Art Lover
The rooms, some of which are in the main house, and others that are located in the gardens of the property, all overlook the lush green lawns, which are dotted with an enviable collection of incredible artworks – one of the hallmarks of the venue.
The main garden is home to Artemis, goddess of hunting and her pack of wild dogs; she is a bold presence in the space and is central to the other pieces of work dotted around the property both inside and out.
Art lovers will be entranced by this private collection that boasts pieces from notable South African artists such as Guy du Toit, Beezy Bailey and Lionel Smit, plus pieces from international artists as well. You can spend a good few hours just browsing the art inside and out… and you really should.
The interior of the hotel lounge, patio and communal areas are all beautifully decorated and manage to find a level of opulence through the selection of lush textiles and thoughtful finishings, while still remaining tasteful and comfortable.
Our suite was located inside the main manor house and was extremely spacious. A full lounge area to relax in, as well as a huge room and private patio. The patio has been built around an enormous tree that provides wonderful shade and the perfect spot to sit back with a good book, or as we did, with a bottle of wine and a board of local cheeses.
Every detail has been thought of and the cool, muted colour palette extends the feeling of ultimate relaxation.
One of the things that is a priority for the Leeu Collection is offering their guests premium dining and wine experiences. To this end, the group has joined forces with well-respected players in these industries, in order to be able to offer a complete experience.
On the wine side, they partnered with South African winemaking family, the Mullineuxs, forming Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines.
At Leeu Estates there is a working cellar that can be seen from within the tasting area and tastings are guided by a seriously knowledgeable team. During our wine tasting (offered to all guests as part of your stay) we were introduced to some of the collection’s most well-respected wines, including the Leeu Passant range that includes a heavenly Chardonnay and a Dry Red.
On the food side, you are spoilt for choice as a guest at the Leeu Collection. You can opt to catch a ride into town from the hotel and enjoy laid back very, top craft beer and casual bites at Tuk Tuk Micro-Brewery. If you are looking for something a bit more upscale, you can enjoy amazing cuisine at Protégé or La Petite Colombe. For an authentic Indian dining experience, you simply have to try Marigold.
Leeu Estates also has a world-class spa, as well as a well-equipped gym area, including a lovely yoga lawn. If you have the time (unfortunately we didn’t), then book in for a treatment or just relax at the spa pool.
The spa is designed in a way that best showcases the beautiful view of the pool area and is all round a calming, relaxing place to spend a few hours in.
Breakfast at Leeu Estates
Breakfast is served in The Conservatory, an annex of the main dining room, which is a modern, glass-enclosed space that makes the most of the garden views (they also do an incredible high tea here). We enjoyed a variety of delicious options from local salmon trout and freshly baked ciabatta to fresh fruits, homemade granolas and yoghurt.
It simply wouldn’t be a trip to Franschhoek without indulging in some fine French pastries and the Pain au Chocolat and croissant we indulged in were some of the best I’ve had.
I’ll admit, it’s hard to leave the comforting embrace of Leeu Estates; nothing is too much for the attentive team of staff and the estate truly is beautiful. When he first visited Franschhoek in 2010, Analjit Singh described experiencing “a deep sense of belonging, of energy, a sense of place” and I must say I feel the same way about the area. It is my favourite corner of the country and a stay at the lovely Leeu Estates will most likely confirm it as yours too.
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