As a student in Stellenbosch, I recall going for stress-relieving runs around the town and often taking a route past the historic Lanzerac Estate and up Jonkershoek Road. I often wondered what it would be like to stay in the luxurious hotel and now, 12 years later, I finally know.
Lanzerac is an iconic name in South African winemaking – as it was the very first estate to bottle Pinotage – SA’s own signature grape variety that is a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. For this reason and many others (its history dates back to 1692), Lanzerac is a popular destination for foreign tourists as well as locals who used to visit the establishment for their cheese platters back when it was pretty much the only wine farm to offer edible options.
Last year the hotel was struck by a fire that damaged part of the original buildings. It’s recently been refurbished and wow, it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined.
“We opened on the first of July again”, says Lauren Berry, Marketing Manager for the hotel. “Septembers occupancy began picking up and November has increased considerably. We’ve also introduced five new boardrooms where we can also host private dinners in a more intimate setting”.
Each of the rooms has a different decor theme and colour palate – making it feel less like a ‘generic’ hotel and more homely – even though the degree of luxury is anything but homely. Everything from the thread count on the sheets, to the bathroom fittings and underfloor heating, are of exceptional style and quality. A few rooms have their own outdoor plunge pools giving that added element of privacy and indulgence.
While Stellenbosch is the last place you would ever be hungry (both the town and nearby wine farms are teeming with incredible restaurants), Lanzerac has done a great job in offering five different venues where you can dine – ensuring you’re never bored. The best part? They are all open to non-residents.
1. The Lanzerac Deli
This is laid-back and casual-style eatery where you can enjoy a rustic cheese and bread platter while tasting the estate’s wines. Our wine steward, Jerome was the most friendly and hospitable person we came across during our stay and had a thorough knowledge of all the wines we tasted.
2. The Taphuis
A country-pub atmosphere is what you’ll find at The Tapuis. Think lots of dark wood, a large open fire and hunting scenes adorning the walls. A great place to sip a pint and nibble on tasty snacks and canapés.
3. Manor Kitchen
The Manor Kitchen is where you’ll see executive chef, Stephen Fraser creating dishes that dance between classical and South African comfort food. His prawn and butternut bisque is the most satisfying seafood soup I’ve had – the consistency was like velvet and it was perfectly balanced in flavour.
The presentation of the food is elegant and sophisticated without being poncey. Breakfast is also served in the Manor kitchen where you can expect to be welcomed by a continental buffet as well as an a la carte menu featuring items like Salmon Eggs Benedict, buttermilk flapjacks and three egg omelettes – which are simple yet perfectly executed.
There’s also a fine dining space that is set to open very soon where Stephen says he’ll host exclusive private dinners and events.
“It hasn’t opened yet – there have been big delays”, he says. “While they were working on the walls, they could see a difference in the stonework and they actually found the original wall of the property – dating back to the mid 1700s, so we’ve had to let the experts come in to take a look at it before we can go ahead”.
4. Craven Lounge
This part of the hotel is named after Doc Danie Craven who was a regular at Lanzerac – together with his dog, Bliksem. Guests get to sit back and enjoy expertly crafted spirits in a space with plush seating and beautifully curated artworks and memorabilia that honour the rugby pundit.
5. Spa Vitality corner
Fresh smoothies and health juices your thing? Then this is the place for you. A health nut’s dream and a perfect pick-me-up after a dreamy massage or facial. The spa is arguably one of the best hotel spas in the area, with incredible treatments on offer – including two rasul chambers, two mist rooms, seven treatment rooms and so much more, all in a breathtaking setting. Hint: Do yourself a favour and book a massage. You won’t regret it!
Whether you have the budget to spend a few nights in the hotel or simply happen to spontaneously pop in for a cheese platter and some wine, the folks at Lanzerac will ensure your experience is a memorable one.
Included in your room rate is the following:
-A glass of wine or bubbly when you check in.
-Use of the minibar (although limited).
-Breakfast in the Manor Kitchen – continental buffet and a la carte breakfast.
-Use of the hydro facilities in the spa (heated swimming pool, hot tub etc.)
-Use of the hotel gym.
-A complimentary wine tasting and cellar tour.
-A transfer service to Stellenbosch.
Disclaimer: Food24 was invited as a guest of the hotel. All views are our own.