YOU know that feeling when someone knows what you want even before you do? No, me neither, not so much. But when you’re a guest at Leeu Estates, the flagship Franschhoek property in the Leeu Collection, that’s exactly what happens.
I checked in on Friday afternoon after a superb five-course meal of chef Jess van Dyk’s favourite dishes she’d chosen for me at Protégé. Later I was to ambitiously dine at Epice back in the village. “Miss Coleman, would you like us to arrange a transfer for you at 6.30pm?” Why yes indeed, thank you very much. And how will I get…”When you’re ready to come back, the restaurant will call us.” Well, if that doesn’t make a person feel like a VVIP, I don’t know what does. Nothing is too much trouble, and nothing is impossible. Heck, there’s even a place to land my helicopter but on this occasion I self-drove.
Leeu Estates is set in expansive grounds with well-manicured gardens through which you can wander or simply admire from the terrace with a glass of wine at hand. I was accommodated in the main building, but there are private cottages for seclusion and privacy. And when I say cottage, it’s in the Downton Abbey sense, not Harfield Village.
As much as there is a driver at your disposal for trips into town, or to surrounding wine farms and other pleasures, it’s as easy to stay right there on the property and want for nothing. Two top class restaurants – La Petite Colombe and Le chêne – are on the doorstep, the Wine Studio offers tastings of Mullineaux & Leeu Family Wines, and of course a pool and a spa are available for when one simply must relax with a soothing massage.
I loved my comfortable room complete with robe and feet pillows aka slippers – for me the true sign of a classy establishment, complimentary mini bar, and gift box of pamper treats. When I was too lazy to walk anywhere, a golf cart whisked me off to where I needed to be, and even though there was a superb breakfast menu with all the favourites plus some creatively different dishes when you just can’t face another pork sausage, I could still put in a special request. For some reason, on the second morning, all I had a hankering for was a croissant with scrambled eggs and bacon. There wasn’t even a heartbeat of hesitation.
The single terroir wine tasting at the Studio was exceptional and a revelation; with Chenins and Syrahs from the same vintages, treated exactly the same way in harvesting and in the cellar, but from different soil types, it was an exercise in appreciation for the subtle nuances of wine which might otherwise be overlooked by the less-than-expert palate (and by that I mean my own).
Should you become exhausted by all the luxury, exceptional dining, superb wines and all-round beauty of the property, there’s an Everard Read gallery to appeal to your sense of art. But if even that is too much like hard work, the property is abundantly populated with sculptures and artworks to be appreciated at leisure.
It’s the kind of luxury for which I was born, and so were you, dear reader.
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