Fancourt is ‘Fan’tastic


(Posted 23rd April 2017)

Owners of a Ferrari clearly have arrived – this particular one had arrived at Fancourt’s front porch – and no doubt so have those who own residences along the three golf courses.
But it does not take a Ferrari or to own a million US Dollar residence on the estate to visit this gem as the hotels on the Fancourt estate are open for business for anyone who wishes to sample the extraordinary standards of both the main hotel – with 115 rooms and suites – and of course the Manor House at Fancourt, set on the same estate but set within its own secluded compound.
Open to the public do they cater for different markets, all in the upper segment of course and the Fancourt Manor House surely tops the rankings thought global hotel review site TripAdvisor seems to have a mind of its own, naming sister property Fancourt Hotel – shown with 4 1/2 stars – as George’s number 1 hotel, leaving the full 5 star rated Manor House trailing in second place.
Well I beg to disagree and my upcoming review of Manor House will reflect that with some vigour.
The all suite property – on offer are a State Suite of 155 square metres with two bedrooms, four Oakwood Suites with 73 square metres of space divided between bedroom and sitting room and thirteen Homewood Suites 60 square metres large, also offering a sitting / bedroom layout – provides exceptional hospitality, butler service included, of course.

Stylishly furnished does the entrance lobby to each suite have a service cabinet which includes a fully stocked fridge with complimentary drinks, including beers, wines and even a bottle of champagne, cabinets with cutlery and crockery for in room dining and both a coffee maker and hot water maker for tea.
To top it await guests five decanters filled with Brandy, Whiskey, Gin, Vodka and Sherry, fitting glasses included needless to say.

The sitting room offers a comfortable two seater sofa, an iPad pod to play one’s favourite music and a super wide screen TV to follow the latest news or watch a movie, state of the art DVD player of course available.
A dining table for two allows for meals served in the room for guests who wish to perhaps sit down for dinner in their robes or like to watch their favourite sporting event while enjoying a meal prepared in the award winning Henry White’s kitchen.

Whether travelling as a couple or solo as is the case with me, the bedroom, dressing room section in the bathroom and the layout of the latter, there is ample space including a balcony to sit outside, should one or the other need some private time.

Besides the ‘in house’ Henry White’s are other dining options available, the authentic Italian and rather popular ‘La Cantina‘ restaurant, ‘Monet’s at Fancourt and the ‘Club Lounge and Bar‘ giving guests a choice of different cuisines and settings.
I only missed sampling the Monet’s and having a meal there as I spent more time exploring the Garden Route and then, upon my return, had to immediately carry out an interview with the Head of the Fancourt Golf Academy Adam McKinslay which was more than worth forgoing lunch.

(Golf and Rolex are, well almost, inseparable it seems)

Sporting and adventure activities are wide ranging, on the estate itself with three golf courses, a fully equipped gym, a Spa – where Bianca managed to unknot my back and shoulders after a day out and where a wide range of treatment options is available – but also tennis, ecoriding and notably cycling.

I opted for a less sweaty activity and decided to take a tour to Mussel Bay and Knysna with experienced guide Christo Uys – available through both Manor House and Fancourt’s concierge services though I can provide his contact on request – who proved to be a fountain of knowledge and knew the area like the back of his hand – and more, he was willing to share his own favourite places with me as we spent several hours on the road before strolling along the Knysna water front and taking in the tourist sights.

(Christo Uys and your’s truly at the front porch of Manor House at Fancourt)

At Mussel Bay was the weather overcast and the breakers came ashore with some force but at Knysna was the weather sunny and the fog only covered the distant hills like a cap was being pulled over their tops. Being low season were the streets, the waterfront and the shopping areas of Knysna not overcrowded and if I had more time I would have been sorely tempted to get on a boat and explore the shores and inland waterways in search of birds or perhaps sit down at Tapas and Oysters and indulge a little.
That however was, given my tight programme, not possible but shall be on the agenda for a future return to this part of South Africa.

(Mussel Bay)

(Knysna Waterfront views)

(The Anglican Trinity Church just before reaching Knysna town)

Exploring the garden route includes options of bungee jumping, even going fishing but are mainly for sight seeing as one drives through the scenic green hilly landscapes, passing other golf courses and pittoresque small hamlets.

The pedestrian area at the Knysna Waterfront is worth exploring and when on a day out offers plenty of options to grab some lunch, especially intriguing at the former wood fired power plant which was converted into a small hotel and restaurant, leaving all the machinery in place. Also available from the waterfront are boat charters.

And so did the two nights and days at the Manor House come to an end, rather prematurely and certainly not voluntarily as I could have gone on exploring the well manicured gardens of the estate, walk the fairways or even take a bike and ride around the 615 hectares large estate.

My quest to compare the five star standards in South Africa with those in East Africa certainly got a boost and after this first experience – following my attendance of the Africa Travel Week in Cape Town as a speaker at WTM Africa and IBTM Africa, I would call it an even par – after all I am, still for a few hours, on the continent’s leading golf estate.

If this level of hospitality can be found across South Africa is there plenty of incentive for East Africans to come and visit here. Given the number of air connections flying from Nairobi, Entebbe and Kigali to Johannesburg and even to Cape Town, this makes travel a lot easier. Kenya Airways flies to both Johannesburg and Cape Town – the latter served via Livingstone and via Victoria Falls (from 01st of May) and RwandAir flies from Kigali, with connections across East Africa, to Johannesburg.
Packages for South Africa holidays are available through these airlines but also of course East Africa’s leading travel agencies. Golf aficionados in particular should not hesitate and ask their travel agents to tailor an itinerary for them which includes a stay at Fancourt, playing on these famous courses and of course include an excursion across the Garden Route.

Read a previous article about Fancourt by simply clicking on the link below:

Watch this clip about Fancourt’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme geared towards nurturing young golfing talent at the Fancourt Golf Academy

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