The Outeniqua Pass winds spectacularly through the mountains before finally settling in George below. I’ve often passed the prestigious Fancourt property at the end of the drive, but with little interest in golf, never gave it much thought.
With an invitation to experience Fancourt’s five-star Manor House, I decided it was time to venture through the gates. My VW Golf eagerly pulled in and within moments the tropical vegetation made an enchanting tunnel of foliage over the road. Following the signs to the Manor House, I soon pulled up to an impressive 1850s Cotswoldstyled mansion – the former home of Henry Fancourt White after whom the estate is named.
At the Manor House entrance, a large pond sets the lush scene – replete with a garden pagoda for lapping up the day in quiet comfort. Noticing that the island in the middle of the pond was accessible by a little bridge, I joked about how lovely it would be to have tea on it. Lo and behold, 10 minutes later a plush bench, umbrella and tea were waiting for me on my private island. The Manor House is clearly an immersion in both luxury and nature.
Jared Ruttenberg at The Manor House. Picture: Supplied
The rooms are every bit opulent and spacious with an extensive basket of offerings – including balms, scrubs and soaps. The rooms are arranged around a central pool courtyard, which spills into the tropical gardens. Arriving on a gorgeous 32oC day, after unpacking I soon gravitated to the pool with the latest Condensate Traveler; grateful that some of the luscious summer scenes on the pages seemed to be mirrored at the luxury hotel I’d call home for the next few days.
It was easily an hour or two later that I remember I’m on one of the country’s most prestigious golf courses. The Manor House is so secluded, it’s easy to forget about the outside world – let alone the rest of the property. After donning my mask, I was off to explore. While I may not be a golfer, I was intrigued to see Fancourt’s offerings. Nic Grundtvig, Fancourt’s knowledgeable golf director, introduced me to the three distinct champion courses: The Links (rated number one in SA), Outeniqua, and Montagu – all designed by golfing legend Gary Player. There are two ways to play at Fancourt – by joining as a member or as a hotel guest (yet another reason to call the Manor House home).
A stay here includes access to Fancourt’s award-winning spa with the voluminous Roman Bath as the impressive centerpiece. And then a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and pool. A range of wellness treatments are on offer at the spa or can be arranged in your room.
From the leisure centre, bicycles are freely available for daily rides around the property. With my curiosity satisfied
with a tour around, and again craving my solitude, I followed my senses (and perhaps one stop for directions), making my way through the manicured gardens until again reaching the Manor House.
The service is both intimate and intuitive – with a smaller amount of rooms, the staff are attentive to all your needs – even prompting some of my needs before I acknowledge them myself. I was impressed to find that Fancourt offers the luxury without the pretense that is often associated with top country clubs and proves to be an enticing stay for not only dedicated followers of golf.
Mid-afternoon I had a plate at the pool – a decadent afternoon snack, and then in the early evening canapes – both treats included daily in your stay. For dinner, there are several restaurant options available at Fancourt – all a short walk from The Manor House – but perhaps the most indulgent of all is to use room service and dine on your own balcony or one of the private garden decks.
The Manor House has a coveted allegiance to the global Leading Hotels of the World network, one of many achievements for owners Dr Hasso and Sabine Plattner, who have made significant investments into not only the club, but also the city and country. Visit www.manorhouse.fancourt.co.za
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