The Abridged: This purpose built hotel, styled like a traditional Cape Dutch manor, sits amidst the Franschhoek Valley as though it has been there for generations. With an on-site vineyard and wine tasting, as well as excellent wellness facilities it is ideal for those who want to indulge or detox to their heart’s content.
Owner Analjit Singh stopped over in Franschhoek for lunch, on his first trip to South Africa, and instantly fell head over heels for its Galaic charm. Or so the story goes. Fast-foward to 2018, and he has opened some of its best hotels and restaurants, taking its hospitality scene by storm. Leeu Estate is the jewel in the crown. Its manicured gardens are peppered with striking bronze statues, from owner and avid art collector, Analjit’s (or BAS as he prefers to be called) personal collection. Most notably the eye-catching ‘Reflective Resonance’ by acclaimed sculptor Angus Taylor.
Suites are located in the main house, but there are also several cottages, with private pools, dotted around the property's grounds - amidst vineyards, the local fynbos and manicured gardens. Rooms feature pastel hues, patterned wallpaper, and vibrant artwork by famed local artists (there's a whole book on it if you're interested). The best have views across the valley and stunning bathrooms with roll-top baths.
Head chef Oliver Cattermol leads a platinum team serving dishes pleasing to the eye and the stomach. Whilst not specifically a ‘wellness’ hotel, the family do come from a healthcare background (and are the visionaries behind the immersive Vana Retreat, India) so you’re in very capable hands. A sunny breakfast out on The Garden Terrace is an indulgent way to start the morning with salmon and eggs, granola, pancakes, catering to every dietary requirement. Franschhoek town and its long list of superlative restaurants is a picturesque 15-minute walk away, and the hotel provides complimentary shuttles for the journey home.
Don’t miss out on the Indian inspired spa, using only organic Himalayan ingredients. A world of tranquillity, and very modern in style take a timeout after your treatment with a pot of tea by the fire, or even better the heated pool. Take a wander through the 'Bokkie' Garden and vineyards and finish at The Wine Studio, where you can sample a few bottles of the award-winning Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines.
The perfect guest: Honeymooners, romantics. Foodies and wellness enthusiasts.
Best time to visit: November to April, though winters in Franschhoek are stunning
Spa: Yes, fabulous. Gym: Excellent.
Best Room: Each one has its own charm, but the Suite Houses are the most spacious.
Wi-Fi: Yes. Pet Friendly: Not Room Service: Yes.
Rates: From £500 per room per night. Inc. Breakfast & Taxes.
For bookings click here.
Words and photography by Megan Lambert.