Cathy Dippnall –
The stately 150-year old hotel, formerly known as Blanco House at the Fancourt Hotel and Lifestyle Estate near George has re-opened its doors as an exclusive 18-suite five star hotel.
Now called the Manor House at Fancourt, it has been meticulously remodeled and redesigned to reflect the elegance and style of bygone days, while also encompassing the chic sophistication of a 21st century boutique hotel.
Hotel general manager Murray Aitken who worked closely with architects Munnik Visser and Design 360 on the interior design conceptualized the R42-million renovation brief.
“The Manor House signifies a new era for Fancourt, presenting its first foray into the exclusive market of sophisticated, independent travelers, as part of its ongoing dedication to continuously upgrade and improve the property and its facilities.”
The façade of the Manor House was retained and it reflects the glory and charm of a 19th century English Cotswold’s mansion. The original sash windows, some of the fireplaces and surrounds were retained, as well as some of the wooden floors, which were still intact.
“We used mostly South African products, but had to replace the original wooden roof tiles with Canadian tiles, the floors are Tasmanian oak and the Italian chandeliers and lighting give an unmistakable air of elegance,” said Aitken.
The 34 hotel rooms in this heritage building were transformed into 18 spacious luxury suites, which comprise a master suite with two en-suite bedrooms, four grand suites and 12 luxury suites that look out onto woodland and beautifully tended flowerbeds. All the bedrooms have large, elegantly designed eco-friendly bathrooms.
The décor is grey and white, which brings a state of calm, tranquility and lightness into the grand high-ceilinged rooms and the custom-made furniture is an eclectic mix of antique and modern minimalism in black, white, silver, grape, moss and granite, with a touch of paint box colours here and there that highlight the understated look.
Aitken’s extensive international experience as hotelier has provided an exciting new dynamic to the hospitality delivery at Fancourt, personally overseeing a hand-selected team to provide undivided care and attention, and superb guest service that includes 24-hour butler service, under the watchful eye of Executive Butler Nestor Obami.
The restaurant in the Manor House has been reopened as Henry White’s, a fine dining restaurant named after the original owner Henry Fancourt White. La Cantina, Italian restaurant has also been remodeled and now boasts an exciting new menu by Milanese chef Matteo. Soon to be opened is a deli-café, which will also be serving afternoon high teas on the terrace overlooking the swimming pool and gardens.
Manor House guests have full access to all resort facilities offered on the Fancourt estate. These include a spa, sauna and steam room, hair salon, gymnasium, swimming pools and tennis courts, shops, restaurants and a conference centre, as well as the three Gary Player-designed golf courses (Montagu, Outeniqua and the exclusive Links), complete with a Club House, Golf Academy and TaylorMade Performance Lab.
Chief executive of Fancourt, Karen Titmas said at the exclusive preview prior to the opening at the weekend that the shareholders want the new Fancourt brand to embrace the local community.
“We want to change the perception that Fancourt is only open to residents and hotel guests and want the local community to enjoy our facilities.” Titmas added that Fancourt’s embracing of the local community into the Fancourt family lifestyle started during the 2010 Christmas season when several community events were organised, including the successful Prime Circle concert attended by 2 200 fans.
“And we have more surprises in store for the community, notably Just Ginger, who we have just signed up to perform in an outdoor concert on 24 April in the grounds of Fancourt.”
Fancourt was voted Africa’s Leading Golf Resort at the 2009 World Travel Awards and is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and Great Golf Resorts of the World associations.