Leeu Collection takes South African properties to the next level ahead of re-opening
Leeu Collection founder Analjit Singh spent lockdown in Franschhoek and it provided him with an opportunity to see the hotels with a fresh eye, resulting in changes that have taken the properties to the next level and will further amplify the guest experience going forward. For example, daily walks around the Leeu Estates grounds led to Mr Singh pinpointing the very best places to create dedicated outdoor seating, landscaping and picnic areas (beside the river and in the Bokkie Garden). This will enhance the guest experience by accommodating dining al fresco in seclusion.
Leeu Estates, the amalgamation of four farms, is now complete. Sites were identified for olive groves (and nearly 900 trees planted), orchards and a herb garden to reduce field to fork miles and ensure organic local produce for all the hotel's restaurants. The overall acreage under vineyards was also doubled, ensuring that a truly immersive winelands experience awaits guests.
Additionally, having made a conscious decision several years ago to focus on creating exceptional experiences for its guests by partnering with the best in class in the fields of wine-making, artistic endeavour and dining out, Leeu Collection has now reached an agreement with a world-class South African spa brand to manage Leeu Spa. Healing Earth specialises in the creation of memorable, multi-sensory spa and wellbeing experiences, as well as unique and fully immersive holistic packages that go far beyond outer beauty to facilitate a harmonious connection between mind and body, so that Leeu guests can enjoy ultimate relaxation during their stay.
The rooms at all three properties have been renovated and upgraded, as well as six new rooms and cottages created on Leeu Estates. The terrace at the Manor House on the Estates has also been extended into an expansive wooden deck, to give guests more space to enjoy the panoramic views of the Franschhoek Valley; and two helipads have been built at Leeu Estates for fast, secluded transfers from Cape Town. Last but not least, the gardens at Le Quartier Français have been re-done, creating beautiful spaces to unwind, relax and enjoy true South African hospitality.
The romantic auberge Le Quartier Français will re-open first, on 15th October, with Leeu House (just a couple of doors away in the heart of Franschhoek) taking bookings the following week, from 23rd October. Leeu Collection's third property, the flagship Leeu Estates on the outskirts of Franschhoek, will re-open its rooms to guests on 4th December. However, elements of the Estates, such as the Leeu Spa by Healing Earth, the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines Tasting Studio and the restaurant Le Petite Colombe will open earlier, on 6th November, for day visitors.
Re-opening rates for the Leeu Collection South Africa properties are, based on two people sharing a double room on a B&B basis, as follows:
Le Quartier Français from ZAR 8,200 (approx. £380)
Leeu House from ZAR 7,400 (approx. £340)
Leeu Estates from ZAR 9,200 (approx. £425)
Book online at www.leeucollection.com
Together, Leeu Collection and its partners are creating elegant, authentic experiences that make a visit to Franschhoek, known as the gourmet capital of South Africa, even more appealing. The hotels and the destination have never been in a better shape to welcome discerning guests.
Franschhoek What we could look at doing is theIn 1685, Protestantism was outlawed in France, forcing hundreds of Huguenots to flee their homeland. Almost 300 of them sailed to the Cape of Good Hope and were given land by the then Dutch government in a valley called Oliphantshoek (Elephant's Corner), where they settled. With the influx of French occupants, the valley soon became known as Le Coin Français (French Corner, in French), and later Franschhoek (French Corner, in Dutch). This heritage lives on today with the Huguenot monument standing proudly at one end of the main street (called Huguenot Road), while the museum nearby chronicles the history of the brave pioneers. Many of the wine farms surrounding the village still bear their original French names, whilst incorporating beautiful examples of Cape Dutch architecture.
Leeu Collection (in Sanskrit singh means lion, which is leeu in Afrikaans) comprises three five-star boutique properties in South Africa (Leeu Estates, a 23-room country house retreat and boutique winery in the Franschhoek valley; Leeu House, a 12-room hotel in the heart of Franschhoek village; and Le Quartier Français, a romantic 32-room hotel with two independent villas also located in the village) and Linthwaite House, an historic 36-bedroom property in the UK's Lake District. Another Leeu property is due to open in Florence in 2021.
Leeu Collection works closely with leaders in the food and spa industries to ensure a first-class experience at all its properties. The world-renowned La Colombe team has restaurants at Leeu Estates and Le Quartier Français, while the award-winning Darren Badenhorst runs the F&B operations at Leeu Estates and Leeu House. In the UK, Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan oversees the food offering at Linthwaite House. South African brand Healing Earth, which is dedicated to award-winning quality, unparalleled service excellence and memorable experiences, manages the Leeu Spa in Franschhoek.
Extending beyond the offering of luxury accommodation, Analjit Singh is a partner in Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, which produces award-winning wines in the Swartland wine region some 80km north of Cape Town.
Everard Read in partnership with Leeu Collection is a considered space in Franschhoek showing modern and contemporary artworks by Southern African artists. The Gallery includes a sculpture garden, interspersed with herbs and vegetables and is located adjacent to Le Quartier Français.
British Airways (www.ba.com) has already resumed daily direct flights from London to Cape Town; one-way airfares start from £526 per person.