Local, Travel

Luxe Stop

Laurence Graff, chairman of London-based Graff Diamonds International, bought the Delaire property high up on the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch in 2003, and the Delaire Graff Estate, which includes a fabulous restaurant, knockout art collection and wine cellar, opened to a rapt reception one year ago. (See HL August 2009, page 92.) Having already enjoyed rave reviews from gourmands and wine aficionados, the property now stands to attract attention far and wide with its just-opened Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa. The hotel’s lodges are set amid lush gardens, designed and landscaped by celebrated plantsman Keith Kirsten. The two- bedroomed Owner’s Lodge, a two-bedroomed Presidential Lodge, and eight Deluxe and Luxury Lodges, designed by Pierre Bories of Palm Architects in France, display a contemporary Cape-Dutch influence. Modern-style gables and thatched roofs peep out over gabion walls. The furnishings bear the mark of acclaimed international interior designer David Collins, who is no stranger to the Delaire Graff Estate, having created the interiors of the existing restaurant and winery. Inspired by the colour palette of the winelands, natural browns, creams and mushroom shades make up much of the pervading scheme, with raffia lampshades, grasscloth wallpapers and thick stitching adding to the tactile appeal. Bespoke furniture pieces in grained woods, accented by heavily textured, luxurious fabrics and leathers, create a sense of warmth and opulence. Wooden decks allow uninterrupted views of the Stellenbosch valley and Simonsberg – a great spot to soak up the sun and enjoy a wallow in the lodges’ heated infinity pools. The amazing view is also a feature of the Thai-influenced Xahar restaurant and bar, where a strikingly good-looking beaten-copper bar wraps around the back of the restaurant. Executive chef Christiaan Campbell oversees the cuisine, and dishes such as seared scallops in a mirin and soy emulsion with Chinese cabbage and sea urchin are confirmation of his reputation for preparing excellent food. While the peacefulness of the natural surrounds is a lure in itself, guests can also keep themselves entertained at the small cinema, spa, gym or Pilates studio. Around the lodges tall fir trees create a feeling of ageless grandeur, quite befitting this splendid development. Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch, 021-885-8160, delairewinery.co.za This article was originally published in the July 2010 issue of House and Leisure.