Blown away by a recent weekend getaway to Fancourt Golf and Country Estate, I had never pictured myself spending a weekend at a golf resort, or that it would be very much fun. Well, how very wrong I was!
Although ranked as one of the top gold courses in the world, the plethora of other activities to indulge in is nothing short of breathtaking. And yes, I did actually do a quick golf lesson, and it was fun! 🙂
Positioned on 613 hectares in the magnificent Garden Route, just outside George, Fancourt is South Africa’s premier lifestyle estate with mountains, indigenous forests and the warm Indian Ocean in close proximity. Only 7 kilometers from the airport, Fancourt will send a shuttle to collect guests flying in from destinations around the world.
Boasting a permanent staff compliment of 450 – with up to double that in peak season, the attention to detail and personal attention to each guest is second to none – I have never been so well “tended” in all my years of visiting hotels and guest houses.
Internationally recognised as one of the world’s top 10 golf resorts, Fancourt has a choice of three Gary Player designed golf courses all ranked in the Top 20 in South Africa as well as a Golf Academy, where I spent some time with Adam McKinlay learning how to hit in a straight line (more technical than it seems, I promise!)
Keeping the greens in peak condition is no mean feat, and the army of mowing staff, raking staff and general groundsman is impressive. Due to the high rainfall in the area, keeping the greens in good condition and not waterlogged during winter takes some pretty fantastic machinery and constant attention from the team.
Just down the road, the prestigious Links Golf Club is currently the number one golf course in South Africa, and number 43 in the world’s top 100.
The Links has hosted some of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, including the Presidents Cup (2003), the SA Open (2005) and the 2012 Volvo Golf Champions European Tour. Inspired by the famous links courses of the British Isles, The Links is considered a masterpiece and plays host to a range of global golfing legends including John Bland, Justin Rose, Retief Goosen, Branden Grace and Ernie Els.
The Links is a private Club, but limited tee times are available for guests staying at Fancourt Hotel or the Manor House.
Accommodation and Facilities
Boasting 133 luxury rooms and suites, fantastic family facilities, a Spa, a Kids Club and a variety of restaurants from casual to fine dining, guarantee enjoyment.
The Fancourt hair salon, ladies boutique, two Golf Pro Shops, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fishing dams and walking trails provide guests with luxurious and exciting entertainment.
Glorious swimming beaches are easily accessible and mountain biking, horse riding, picnics and hikes can be arranged on request. Sightseeing excursions in the picturesque coastal towns of Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay are also available.
Try something new and take a guided Eco-Rider tour around the estate. The popular Eco-Rider is a two-wheeled machine powered by battery and using a Gyroscope for balance, think a sort of a Segway here. It can reach speeds of 20 kilometers per hour, but our tour was at a more sedate 7 – 10 kms per hour.
For those who have never ridden one of these unique two-wheeler machines, training is part of the initial introduction along with a few practice rides. I was slightly nervous at first, but soon got the hang of it, after a few wobbles and some muttered expletives from my side 🙂
The Manor House
The Manor house, which is Fancourt’s original homestead, and is also a national monument which was built in 1859 and owned by Henry Fancourt White the engineer who supervised the construction of the Montagu Pass which goes from the city of George over the Outeniqua mountain range to the town of Oudtshoorn.
The Manor house has been rejuvenated as a luxury hotel and is one of two accommodation offerings on the extensive Fancourt resort and offers a unique combination of classic opulence and the indulgent sophistication of a 21st century boutique hotel with eighteen suites including a Master Bedroom all offering personalised, butler-style service.
Guests staying in the Manor House have exclusive use of the outdoor pool and can enjoy breakfast in any location within the Manor House. Included in one’s stay at The Manor House is daily afternoon tea, evening canapés and sparkling wine and a fully stocked complimentary refreshment centre (minibar) as well as luxury bath products.
Wining and Dining
Fancourt is home to a number of signature restaurants, each with its own design flair and exceptional culinary offering. Whether a family-friendly eatery or a more exclusive dining experience is in order, Fancourt has it covered.
La Cantina offers a more relaxed Italian eatery vibe, and a buffet breakfast is served here every morning.
At night the pizza oven gets fired up, and mouth watering pizza’s and pasta’s literally pour out of the kitchen. The young Italian chef’s in charge are as passionate as any Italian you could possibly meet. Boasting it’s own onsite butchery, the platters of home made meats and cold cuts on display were beyond belief, and fresh and delicious.
Monet’s cafe bistro offers an alternative breakfast venue, in a light and airy room with amazing views over the rolling greens of the Outeniqua golf course and framed by the breath taking Outeniqua mountains. They are open for light lunches and snacks during the day, but are not open at night. They sell homemade breads, preserves and other yummy produce to take home as a memento of your stay.
The Club Lounge and Bar is the place to meet for a drink and a snack after a full 18 holes, and a chance to indulge in some American style food. The members only lounge opens up off of the main lounge, but is open to Fancourt Members only. A great view over the 18th green of The Montagu golf course is the customary end point after a good game, and the deck area is pretty busy throughout the day.
Henry White’s is the fine dining restaurant is situated at The Manor House and is certainly the gastronomic flagship of Fancourt. Seating only about 50 guests, the crisp white linens and old world ambiance is something to be experienced. The service was amazing, no attention detail spared from the table setting to the menu – our karoo lamb was out of this world.
Fancourt treats their guests to only the finest wines, and have partnered with three of the Cape’s most acclaimed vineyards: Waterford Estate, Jordan Wine Estate and my very personal fave – Graham Beck Wines.
The extensive wine list includes vintage classics, traditional favorites and a selection of exclusive boutique wines.
Fancourt also offers conferencing facilities and anything else you could possibly need in one of the most picturesque venues in the Western Cape.
I am previewing #FancourtFun on #HangoutWithHeather on www.nicheradio.co.za every Tuesday at 10h00 from 30th August – 20th September 2016.