This past weekend we had the opportunity to do a little pre-10th anniversary celebrating at Leeu Estates in Franschhoek. I narrowed down the hundreds of photos we took to the following few, and hope they give you the sense that this was one of our most relaxing, fun and luxurious weekends yet…
Saturday, 12 August 2017: Wine-tasting at Mullineux and Leeu, Tex-Mex dinner at Tuk-Tuk, Leeu House Madiba selfies
Destination: Leeu Estates in Franschhoek, just 80km from Cape Town. Temperature: Cool, drizzly and wintery. Expectation levels: All-time high.
It’s all warm smiles at Leeu Estates, and nothing is too big an ask for the staff. Every single member of the ‘Leeu pride’ was as pleasant and helpful as can be. So much so that I was presented with a cappuccino and we were taken on a quick refresher tour of the property before even reaching our room. We were almost tempted to spend all weekend in the cosy reading room with fully stocked bookshelf, board games, cheerfully blazing fire and inviting chess board.
This pool, perfectly reflecting the cloudy sky, must be just the thing in Summer. Imagine taking a quick dip then relaxing on a lounger while the sun licks away those water droplets.
We also stopped in at the technogym and rivalled the gym bunny sculptures in our activity. Well, not quite…
We barely had time to get acquainted with our amazing suite before it was time to be golf-carted up to the Mullineux and Leeu wine studio on the property for a wine tasting. It’s a warm, bright space with crackling fireplace and wall of glass that make a winter wine tasting all the more pleasurable, with excellent storytellers to explain the origins of each varietal, and when we examined our room a little more closely we noticed two dinky bottles of wine waiting to welcome us – cheers!
The art-loving Leeu Collection’s Mr Singh’s presence is strong in the wine studio too, with this impressive giraffe at the entry as recently added as a week before our visit. I dare you not to take a height-comparison photo next to it, like we did.
Husband in his wine-tasting element.
Winter is a wonderful year to visit the Cape winelands. Just look at the way the grey sky brings out the rich greens of those very well trimmed hedges on the walk back to Leeu Estates through the Bokkie Garden.
Sentried rows of lovely greenery in the bokkie garden between the main Manor House and the Mullineux and Leeu Wine Studio.
This sculpture is titled ‘Reflective Resonance’. Husband couldn’t resist kicking off his shoes and mimicking the pose.
Clouds. Mountains. Lavender. Breath-taking.
We made the most of our stay by changing into swim gear and then braving the icy temperature to leap into the steam room, and once suitably heated up made a swift dash into the very slightly heated pool with view out towards the Franschhoek Mountains. Refreshing, to say the least!
It’s only when I took the plunge (literally) and fully immersed myself in the pool that I noticed the rainbow right outside.
I love a room with a view, but a bath with a view? That’s the ultimate. We’ll have to return once the water restrictions have lifted to actually have a soak in that tub and sigh over the view.
Husband did try out the shower though, and had a wonderful gown-whisky-balcony moment in the break between swimming and dins.
One of the best balconies we’ve had the pleasure of relaxing from. Just look at that view!
We enjoyed that outside view so much that we barely snapped any pics of the inside of our suite, alas. See the bed and lounge on top, and the main lounge below where we spent a few minutes before dinner time.
Before we knew it, the complimentary Leeu Collection shuttle was ready to take us 2km into Franschhoek town for dinner at Tuk Tuk Microbrewery. It was well-lit, warm and completely buzzing when we got there at 7pm, so we were pleasantly surprised that service was super speedy.
Instead of the standard wine tasting you can do a beer tasting at the Microbrewery, either of CBC’s brews (my bru) or of Tuk Tuk’s own brand of ales. Food-wise, everything is tasty Tex-Mex – note my impressively plated cheesy nachos with side of pulled beef, Husband’s manageable burger and fries and see how the photo of all the liquid on our table was photographed.
For dessert, the churros with rich, warmly dripping dipping sauce are a must.
We had time for a quick after-dark stroll down the street to pose at the Madiba statue at Leeu House and greet the scary rabbit we remembered from our previous stay at Le Quartier Francais before the shuttle arrived to ferry us back to Leeu Estates for the night
Back in our room, Husband took full advantage of the underfloor heating, was impressed by the remote-controlled fireplace, and took in the pretty lights from the balcony before I noticed the cleaning fairies had left us a pre-anniversary surprise of tasty bedtime treats that we savoured right away and a bottle of MCC (which we brought home to crack open on our real anniversary).
Sunday, 13 August 2017: Breakfast at Leeu Estates
We were dressed and down in the restaurant for breakfast by 8am, in time to watch the sun rise through the adjacent glassed-in Conservatory.
Breakfast the next morning was another delicious experience. Just look at the buffet spread, Husband’s masala omelette and my blueberry flapjacks, all lit by the morning sun once it popped its sleepy head over the mountains.
Other sculptures to look out for if you visit Leeu Estates. They add a delightfully quirky touch to the stay.
That’s all, folks! It was over in a flash, but the memories are something we will savour for a very long time. Keep your eyes peeled for my official review on Biz.
*Disclaimer: Our meals and accommodation at Leeu Estates and Tuk-Tuk Microbrewery were part of our review package. Click through for a reminder of our previous stays at Leeu Collection’s Le Quartier Francais and Leeu House.
What do you do if you’ve already reviewed a wonderful winter’s weekend getaway town, then get the opportunity to review different accommodation in the same town? Why, you post a second ‘What to do in…’ review, of course, and make sure you do everything new and fresh so that there’s no resemblance to the last time.
That’s just what we did this past weekend when we got to stay in Franschhoek for the second time in as many months.
Of course these pics taken on our cameras didn’t even do the landscape and history-steeped buildings justice.
Click here to click through the galleries I added in my official review, which includes eye-wateringly beautiful pics of Leeu House and The Conservatory restaurant’s food, owned by the Leeu Collection, as is Le Quartier Français, which we reviewed over our former Franschhoek stay. Click here for a reminder and scroll through our not-repeated fresh new Franschhoek highlights below…
Stop to sightsee (different sights) on the way in…
A paintbrush splatter of fluffy clouds above the peaks of Paarl.
Each time we travel out towards Paarl I mean to snap a pic of ‘the tree in the lake’ but each time I only remember my intention once we’ve whizzed past it. This time I planned ahead and got Husband in on the action, so he warned me when we were getting close (I had my phone ready in camera-mode from just after the ‘Winelands 1-stop’). And yay, success. Here is the ‘tree in the lake’. Isn’t it fascinating?
Something we missed entirely on our last trawl along Franschhoek’s main road was this ‘he must have not been there he’s so hard to miss’ teddy bear. I was not the only sightseer to stop and pose for a photo with him, promise.
Another arty Franschhoek sculpture we spotted for the first time was this steel pegasus. Husband beside him for size/height.
Churches make up some of the cultural richness of Franschhoek. We peered in at the first one we came across – there was just one little old lady was seated in the pew.
Teehee. Yes we took a few pics of me pretending to swing the church bell. Blame it on the meds!
Situated beside Franschhoek’s babbling stream, we couldn’t resist stopping at BICCCS for a quick shared snack, well aware that we’d be having an amazing dinner in a few hours. Here is Husband unwinding with a mini-draught under the trees…
I sat opposite him as the direct sunlight was making my eyes water – here’s my half of our shared toasted rotisserie-chicken with red pepper mayo.
Look at the gorgeous coffee set I found inside! T’was perhaps an ‘extra zero’ over what I would have felt comfortable paying, but a girl can dream…
Next, we made our way to the Huguenot Monument at the end of the road – already closed by the time we last visited, this time we had a few precious hours of daylight to explore. First stop was the museum, filled with interesting things but no photos allowed inside.
There was a tea room on site too, as well as lots of inviting benches to stop at and soak up that serene sunshine. Just before Husband took this photo, a little squirrel zoomed up the trunk of the tree behind me. For reals.
This ‘bicycle behind the bougainvillea’ was parked outside the entrance to the Monument. Was another R10 each to get in.
The Huguenot Monument from up close on the left and with me in the background on the right. There’s also a fascinating sundial on the grounds that actually showed the right time to the minute.
Sleep over at Leeu House and don’t miss the Conservatory’s delicious, non-conservative menu
Walkies done we were ready for a rest. This is the Leeu House lounge area – fire place to my left (unlit) and honesty bar behind me with all sorts of liquid loveliness. We didn’t sample any though as were both still on meds for our horrible head colds.
Two kiwi fruit, my note-filled iPad and a wonderful cuppa Nespresso in our room after we’d checked in was just what we needed to rest and recharge our slightly downtrodden batteries.
Delightful dinner! These pics show Husband’s salmony starter top left and steak atop a bed of carrot mash bottom left – among his top five meals ever. Also see my Italian sausage rigatoni mains and white coffee brulee dessert. Highly recommended!
Look at our Leeu House room, pictured from many angles here. Yes, there’s our ‘room review in bathrobes’ shot bottom left, as well as slippers and Scrabble in the top right – after an hour or so of playing, with Husband far in the lead, we decided to call it a night.
When we got up the next morning the sky was bright, the wind was light. By the time we’d finished breakfast little over an hour later you’d think we’d walked out the wrong scene door as the sky was dismal and grey.
Conservatory roof, exposing still-glorious sunshine.
The Conservatory breakfast menu – exclusive to Leeu House guests – you start off with anything that tickles your fancy from the breakfast buffet listed on the left, then choose a ‘hot plate’ from the page on the right. Very tricky as so many of the options are slightly unusual and all certainly a good choice – plus note the shots of carroty-ginger juice and lemony water all served as soon as we were seated.
T’was a brilliant breakfast buffet, with lots of local produce and typically French-tasting pastries.
I eventually decided on the duck’s egg benedict. Note how the egg fits almost the entire English muffin slathered with slivers of local ham. I was not fussed by the fact that my Hollandaise sauce seemed scared to sit atop such an egg. I spooned it back on top and it was soon gone.
Look at that. The ultimate morning meal, Husband opted for the West Coast lobster open omelette. He thoroughly enjoyed it.
Don’t be fooled by Husband’s short-limbed outfit and the beautiful summery blues in this shot. An icy wind picking up and we hot-footed it (quite literally) back to the warmth of our room for a while after touching the chilly surface of the pool.
See? Just after we had checked out we stopped in Leeu House’s front garden to snap Husband with the Gandhi statue… sky now overcast and Husband had added long sleeves.
The regal lions guarding Leeu House’s entrance from Huguenot Road. Note how the raised paws are mirror images, great attention to detail.
Take the (other) long road home
Blankets of cloud started to lift on our way home again – we took a different route to our last Franschhoek exit, in order to keep the experience as different as possible.
How fitting that I managed to snap another ‘shouldn’t be submerged in water’ thing on our trip home! This time a windmill, in the middle of an entirely different lake. Husband was kind enough to stop the car for my photo-taking.
The weather in the Cape is very fickle, especially in winter. Near the Strand, the clouds had lifted and we passed lots of powdery soft dunes, some with wild lilies growing out of them.
That’s all, folks. We can’t recommend it enough. Thanks for stopping by, check in again next week for my next update. If you missed my overview of what to do in Wellington last month,
click here. 🙂
*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation at Leeu House and meals at the Conservatory were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.