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Escape Artist

Oct 1, 2018 | Featured, Lifestyle

Travel connoisseurs know that private hideaways with hotel-level amenities give you the best of all worlds

La Rive, Franschhoek

A marriage of traditional Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture and decor, La Rive in Franschhoek offers the gracious proportions and stately spaces of old-fashioned manor living just a block from the buzz of Franschhoek town.

Lovingly renovated into the dream Winelands home, it features six bedrooms, eclectic period furniture and impressive artworks – the owner is an avid collector and there are works by such local luminaries as Dylan Lewis, Neil Rodger, Gregoire Boonzaier and Edward Wolfe.

Extensive outdoor entertainment amenities (pizza oven, braai area, pool and covered veranda) and a magical garden might make it hard to venture off the property, but if you do you’re only a block or two from world-class wine estates and restaurants.

WHY GO? A live-in butler and chef and concierge services are extras befitting of a home of this stature.

Copia Luxury Eco Cabins, Overberg

Situated on a working farm in the Overberg. Copia Eco Cabins are the culmination of a vision by the owner to convert shipping containers into an eco-friendly getaway.

Minimal modern interiors complement the industrial origins of the structure and serve to focus your attention on decompressing and appreciating the setting. The woodfired hot tub and complete quiet make it a perfect winter escape, but there are all-season activities to keep you occupied year round should you wish to leave the comfortable confines of your cabin (there are two: Lone Tree and Copia), including hiking in Kogelberg Nature Reserve, mountain biking along the nearby Lebanon Trail, and fly-fishing at Houwhoek – all an easy distance for a daytime excursion.

WHY GO? Off-grid low-tech relaxation. There is no Wi-Fi, and the cabins are powered by solar electricity. Make the most of the opportunity for a proper time-out.

Bobbejaanskloof, Wittedrif, Garden Route

It doesn’t get better than a traditional farmhouse for the ultimate in classic low-key country living. Bobbejaanskloof, situated a 10-minute drive from Plettenberg Bay but idyllically far enough to feel completely peaceful, is the epitome of a laid-back country lifestyle.

The contemporary interior, by renowned designer Gregory Mellor, features layers of natural textures and soft tones that allow the house to blend into its beautiful indigenous garden.

Deep verandas to shelter you from the elements, generous fireplaces, comfortable sofas and furniture with character all create the feeling of being in a home, and a braai area and lapa offer a Bushveld element.

WHY GO? Blissful isolation from any other dwellings – and as a result, unmarred views of the Tsitsikamma Mountains and a big sky full of stars at night, as well as the occasional glimpse of wildlife (Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve is next door).

Prynssberg Manor, Clocolan

Built in the 1880s with Kimberley diamond fortunes, Prynnsberg Manor had fallen into disrepair before the new owners restored it to its former glory. If you’re looking for a memorable and totally over-the-top venue for a celebration, this is it. It sleeps up to 16 (with space for a further five guests on the covered veranda – ideally older children or teens), and you get the full run of the extensive facilities, including a billiards room, polo ponies and a Land Rover. The house isn’t self-catering – full board applies for three home-made meals a day, all teas and coffees and full access to the wine cellar, which allows you to take it easy and enjoy all the manor has to offer.

WHY GO? Old-school grandeur with a healthy dose of eccentricity – there’s a bathhouse, a church on the property (perfect for weddings) and boatloads of character.

Zinkwazi Laguna, Zinkwazi Beach, South Coast

If you’re looking to escape the winter but also stay local, KwaZulu-Natal is an easy bet for warmer weather and an instant tropical change of scene. Zinkwazi Laguna, a 40-minute drive from King Shaka International Airport but removed from the more developed towns of Ballito and Durban, is perched on the edge Zinkwazi Lagoon. It offers barefoot beach style in a dreamy palette of breezy blues and greens and tropical patterns. It’s geared towards summer living – the deck and pool area are where you’ll live during your stay. There are also paddleboards and kayaks available for you to use and a ramp from the garden if you’d like to bring your boat.

WHY GO? It’s an entertainers dream. With a cocktail bar, fire pit and kitted-out chef’s kitchen, it has everything you need to hold all-day festivities.

Grootbos luxury private villas, Walker Bay

Located in an eco-reserve and flanked by sea, mountains and fynbos, Grootbos two private villas offer a truly invigorating experience of this beautiful part of the south-western Cape. The four- and six-bedroom villas make it an ideal escape for an extended family weekend away. The ultra-modern design, luxury amenities and high-profile art collection (including works by William Kentridge, Cecil Skotnes and Walter Batiss) are a refreshing and unexpected contrast with the wilderness beyond the villa walls. Furnished and fitted out to hotel standards (underfloor heating, gowns and slippers, satellite TV and a full bar), with a private chef, butler, guide and vehicle, Grootbos offers a full five-star experience.

WHY GO? Major views and a hard-to-beat location, with access to 100-year-old milkwood forests, the marine big five and endangered plant species make it a coastal wildlife experience of note.

TEXT Julia Freemantle PHOTOGRAPHS Hamish Niven and supplied

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