Settled unobtrusively on the outskirts of Stellenbosch enveloped by the beauty of the Jonkershoek Valley, lush vineyards, mauve tinged mountains and ancient oaks, lies the Lanzerac Hotel & Spa, a landmark destination and a luxurious getaway just 45 minutes from Cape Town’s CBD.
The last time I was at Lanzerac was about thirty years ago, not a word of lie, and yes, shame on me. But after my sumptuous staycation a week ago, the glorious property is firmly on my hot list and is obviously highly recommended to anyone with a penchant for genteel style, fine wine, and a premium hotel experience.
Lanzerac estate has an illustrious history that dates back to 1692, thirteen years after the town of Stellenbosch was founded. The late David Rawdon, one of the most legendary names in the hotel industry and fondly known as the ‘Laird of Matjiesfontein’, purchased the property in 1958 and converted the farm into the hotel that has become synonymous with elegance, sophistication and a unique winelands experience.
It has always been a beautifully appointed property but the restoration and refurb after the fire of 2017 has taken everything up a notch. The man behind the renovations, gardens, interior and exterior design is Con van der Colff, who together with his team has succeeded in creating a gorgeous re-imagining. The new look and feel is a juxtaposition of contemporary aesthetic and Cape Dutch architecture, celebrating a rich Cape heritage that pays homage to a bygone era.
I stayed in Browns Cottage, in 209, a spacious, exquisitely decorated suite complete with a private pool and garden edging onto the vineyards. All 53 rooms and suites at Lanzerac differ one to another and Con has clearly paid attention to the finest of details, right down to the bedside stationery.
The first vines were planted on Lanzerac by the farms first owner, Isaac Schrijver, who named the farm Schoongezicht, meaning wonderful view. Lanzerac’s 1959 Pinotage was the first-ever commercially bottled wine of this variety and today, if you feel like splurging, don’t leave without a bottle of one of their finest in your bag, the Pionier. It costs around R975 a bottle and it’s that good. (For more about the iconic Lanzerac pinotage, read Emile Joubert’s interview with Lanzerac wine maker Wynand Lategan.) Book a leisurely wine tasting at the Tasting Room and sample the broad range of wines on offer (including the more inexpensive pinotage in case you were in a Pionier panic), with a generous cheese platter on the side.
Restaurants and bars
When it comes to restaurants and bars, Lanzerac has a a comprehensive offering. I enjoyed an excellent dinner at the Taphuis and breakfast, in the roomy Manor Kitchen, was complete with oysters and a glass of MCC on the side, a decadent departure from the norm.
The Lanzerac Hotel & Spa is offering an excellent winter special, valid July through September 2019.
For ideas about what to do in Stellenbosch, click here.
Treat yourself with a stay at the Lanzerac Hotel & Spa, you know you want to.