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Luxe living at the Lanzerac: Why you should visit this Stellenbosch icon

As we drove up the long, tree-lined driveway into Lanzerac Wine Estate, I knew that the next 24 hours were going to be special.

Credit: Gareth Campbell
Nestled in the picturesque foothills of the Jonkershoek Valley, the iconic Stellenbosch estate is one of the region’s oldest farms, dating all the way back to the late 1600s. Over the last few centuries, Lanzerac has developed a legacy of producing wines of exceptional quality, and the property itself has only matured in sophistication.

The grounds are now home to sprawling vineyards that stretch well into the mountain, hectares of manicured gardens, an opulent 5-star hotel and inviting areas dedicated to dining and sampling the estate’s wines.

Credit: Gareth Campbell
The main operational areas of the Lanzerac Hotel, which was built in 1958, suffered severe damage in May 2017 and remained closed to the public until July this year.

But guests are once again invited into the refurbished and refreshed space, now featuring new rooms, social spaces and three new restaurants catering to fine dining in the Manor Kitchen, gourmet pub grub at Taphuis and small plates to accompany one’s tipple of choice in Craven Lounge.

My visit to the estate commenced just prior to the relaunch in July, so I didn’t get try any of the new facilities out, but there was still ample attraction to entice even the most seasoned traveller for a visit.

These were my personal highlights.

Sip Pinotage at the source

Lanzerac’s tasting room is a haven for wine lovers, a relaxed space where you can sample some of the estate’s award-winning wines guided by a sommelier – perhaps huddled near the roaring fire during winter or out on the scenic veranda in the warmer months.

Credit: Gareth Campbell

Pinotage is South Africa’s signature blend, and Lanzerac is its home. The Stellenbosch winery was the first estate in the world to bottle Pinotage, releasing its first bottle in 1961. Previously, Pinotage was either used in blends or simply left in the barrel.

While history is certainly not what makes a wine enjoyable, it was within the cosy confines of this Stellies tasting room that I became a Pinotage convert.

As part of our stay at the hotel, my significant other and I were treated to a chocolate and wine pairing, comprising a tasting of 5 premium wines paired with a selection of chocolates handmade by artisanal chocolatiers especially for the estate.

Credit: Gareth Campbell

What stood out for me at this tasting, is that I even enjoyed varieties that I’m not usually particularly fond of, like Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. If you’re like me in that hungry is your permanent state, then I’d suggest accompanying your wine coiffing with a Ploughman’s Platter, which overflows with homemade bread, artisanal cheeses, cured meats and preserves.

The grapes for Lanzerac wines are all handpicked on the farm, and bottled on the estate as well. The wines are an immense source of pride for those working at the estate. This was especially evident when chatting with our sommelier Eske, who sat down with us and seemed to be as eager to learn about our experience of the wines as she was to impart information about them.

Credit: Gareth Campbell

Relax in luxurious lodging

Accommodation at Lanzerac is exquisite and luxurious without being ostentatious. The 5-star hotel is limited to 53 en-suite bedrooms and suites, with many rooms leading onto patios with private pools overlooking manicured gardens, mountains and vineyards.

Credit: Gareth Campbell

After getting a peek at them all, I can say that it really doesn’t matter which of the four room types you choose because they’re all individually decorated with elegant finishes and a unique selection of antique pieces. It’s a perfect balance of old world charm and modern sophistication.

From the bed linen to the furnishings, under-floor heating and bathroom amenities, the attention to detail at Lanzerac Hotel is second to none. We could easily have spent the bulk of our time lounging around in our junior suite, or simply walking around the hotel grounds admiring the Cape Dutch architecture and quaint charm of the gardens.

Credit: Gareth Campbell

Included in the room rate – which starts at R3,420 per night – are the following: a full continental buffet and hot breakfast on order, select mini-bar, wine tasting at the Lanzerac Tasting Room, a cellar tour, complimentary transfer service between the hotel and Stellenbosch town at set times, and use of the Lanzerac Spa’s hydro facilities.

Credit: Gareth Campbell
Credit: Gareth Campbell

Restore body and mind at the spa

So about that spa…

My first glimpse of Lanzerac Spa occurred when I attended a Glamit event there earlier this year; I was immediately enamoured by it and couldn’t wait to return.

The setting is what sold me. Enormous windows frame views of the towering Stellenbosch mountains and leafy vineyards that are almost close enough to touch.

There’s a wide array of massages, skincare and beauty treatments in which to indulge. With Lanzerac having a history of cultivating acclaimed wines for over 300 years, it’s only fitting that products used in most of these treatments are made from grape cultivars. There’s even an AromaVine Pinotage Massage on offer, a 60-minute tension relieving session that uses a fragrant antioxidant blend containing pure grapeseed oil and natural botanicals.

Credit: Gareth Campbell

Apart from the six treatments rooms, there are mani/pedi stations with views to die for, a fully equipped fitness centre, two Rasul chambers, and a Vitality Corner serving up delicious healthy meals, smoothies and juices.

Although I didn’t book a treatment during my hotel stay, I took full advantage of the spa’s hydro facilities. My routine went something like this: indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room, mist room, jacuzzi, repeat.

Credit: Gareth Campbell

The outside deck just begs for you to lounge in your robe and slippers, a glass of bubbly in hand perhaps, and gaze out over the scenic valley spread before you. Lanzerac Spa is a spoil for the mind, body and soul.

Celebrate Heritage Day with Lanzerac Wine Estate

Searching for something special to do this coming Heritage Day? To celebrate national Heritage Day and mark the official re-launch of the Lanzerac Hotel and Spa will be hosting a special dining experience, showcasing a wide selection of unique dishes from each of its dining venues on 24 September 2018 from 11am to 5pm.

Guests will be welcomed with a glass of Lanzerac MCC and canap├ęs and can spend the day savouring wholesome food whilst roaming between the newly renovated Manor Kitchen, Taphuis and Craven Lounge.

Credit: Lanzerac Wine Estate

In addition, Heritage Day revellers can enjoy their favourite Lanzerac wines and MCC in the luxurious outdoor wine lounge set up on the lush lawns, or artisanal gin from the pop-up bar in the Governors Hall.

For more information on the Heritage Day event and for a chance to win tickets, head over to the Facebook event page.

Visit the Lanzerac Wine Estate’s website to plan your hotel stay or a day visit to the Stellenbosch gem. And keep up to date with developments and events by connecting with the brand on Facebook and Instagram.
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About Lauren Hartzenberg

Retail editor and lifestyle contributor at Cape Town apologist. Food fanatic. Dog mom. Get in touch: