Tired of adulting? Then book a stay at Lanzerac, where everything (including you) is taken care of.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages to living in Cape Town is that you can plan a weekend getaway that isn’t far from home. The Lanzerac Hotel & Spa is one such gem, located just five minutes from Stellenbosch.
Although the drive is just under an hour, we feel as though we’ve been driving for hours and have left the hustle and bustle of our busy city life far behind us.
Attention to detail at Lanzerac is meticulous – from the glass of crisp bubbly and warm cloth on arrival, to the underfloor heating in the bathroom (winter decadence!), attentive staff members and the beautiful background music that greets you in reception.
A bit about Lanzerac
You would never know that in May 2017 a devastating fire swept through areas of Lanzerac Hotel. But it wasn’t all bad news Patrick Fisher, operations manager, says. “Now we get to enjoy the beautiful exposed old bricks – they add to the look and feel of Lanzerac. It also showcases the workmanship of how it was built. It’s still standing even after a fire.” The brick work was discovered after the fire and they decided not to plaster over it during the renovations.
Project co-ordinator and designer Con van der Colff was tasked with the enormous job of redecorating the estate. “After the fire we, as a team, became much more heritage-conscious in our approach.” This approach translates in the external and internal aesthetics that highlight the 326-year-old estate’s rich history.
The Taphuis, Lanzerac’s legendary water hole, was also gutted during the fire but it was painstakingly restored to reflect the era of David Rawdon, the former owner who opened the doors in the ‘60s. Fortunately some items were salvaged from the fire – you can see a beautiful old cash register sitting on the bar and a framed painting with charred edges on the wall.
Lanzerac officially reopened for business on 1 July 2018.
It feels like home – and so much more
Abraham shows us to our room – after putting our bags down, he points out the amenities, showing us how the lights work (there are multiple switches that can get confusing) and the underfloor heating. If we need anything, we just need to dial 9.
Our room is beautiful – the décor is tasteful, the bed feels like a marshmallow you can sleep on and the mini bar is stocked. We notice too that we’ll be enjoying a Nespresso in the morning before we head down to breakfast.
There are 53 rooms on the estate, and no two rooms are alike. Each one has been designed to reflect the history of Lanzerac with contemporary influences tastefully blended in. Con began the decorating process by selecting a centrepiece and then building the look and feel of the room originally around this focal point. In our room, the beautiful padded headboard above the bed is a definite focal point.
After settling in, we head down for a wine tasting. We’re really keen to try the Pinotage – Lanzerac is known for bottling the first in 1959. “There’s no fact saying who was the first, but according to the wine experts, Lanzerac was the first,” Patrick told us earlier.
We start with a Sauvignon Blanc before moving onto the Pinotage Rosé. Both are beautiful wines that will be perfect for the warm summer months. Next, we move onto the Syrah – it’s easy drinking and quite light for a red. The Merlot is delicious and full bodied. Finally, the Pinotage. It’s positively perfect. You can taste the smoky notes with black plums and cherries.
Following our wine tasting we tuck into a delicious platter filled with cheese, cold meats, fresh bread and condiments, complete with a bottle of Pinotage. The highlight on the platter is definitely the cauliflower piccalilli.
After our late lunch we take a walk through the estate. The gardens are immaculate and peaceful.
Although our recent drought did affect the grapes, Patrick says they rely on two dams and borehole water.
Our dinner reservation is for 19h00. We make our way to the Manor Kitchen. The restaurant looks into the kitchen area. “It allows for interaction with the chefs – they enjoy coming out and talking to the guests,” Patrick explained.
The Manor Kitchen is reminiscent of the informal dining areas of grand hotels in London and Paris. The actual kitchen used to be an old distillery. According to Con, “Significant effort was made to recreate the interior of the old structure – now filled with gleaming stainless steel equipment – so that it would resemble the original distillery. By giving guests a view into the kitchen from the dining area – with the flames from the gas burners, steam rising from the boiling pots and the whirring of the mixers in the prep areas – they feel part of the creative culinary process.”
Dinner is a feast and we definitely regret devouring the entire platter earlier. Sadly we spoilt our appetite and had no space for starters or dessert. Instead we choose our main dish carefully so we can savour the dishes. The flavours are bold and delicious and the seasonal vegetables that accompany the mains are mouth-watering. Another highlight is the Pinotage butter that accompanies the bread for the table.
Breakfast is at the Manor Kitchen and the light that spills in through the expansive glass windows and roof is bright and natural, highlighting the gleaming marble tables. The aroma of fresh pastries and coffee fills the air as we walk in. One couple enjoys oysters and bubbly, while a family opts for a healthy start with fruit and muesli. We do our best to work through the buffet and then end with a delicious three-egg omelette.
There is something for everyone on the menu. Including mimosas! Cheers to a stunning getaway at Lanzerac.
Visit https://www.lanzerac.co.za for more information on accommodation, wines and dining at the Lanzerac Hotel & Spa.
Image credits: Mandy Freeman – Freelance photographer in Cape Town