Franschhoek, South Africa

Leeu House

Price per night from$490.41

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (ZAR8,925.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Place of vintner rest

Setting

Hunger-sating Huguenot Street

A stay as endorphin-releasing as that first sip of holiday wine, intimate hideaway Leeu House feels like a remote country residence, with its quiet tropical gardens, chenin-hued suites and mountainous backdrop. But, it’s actually on one of Franschhoek’s main drags, a toddle from the wine-tram stop, superlative cellar doors and a run of restaurants with serious reputations. Get a taste for the landscape (both cultural and farm-to-fork), then sequester yourself away to muse over intriguing South African artworks, be fussed over by staff who are discreet and detail-oriented, and a little more of that happy-making holiday wine, courtesy of the Mullineux & Leeu estates.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of estate wine in your room on arrival

Facilities

Photos Leeu House facilities

Need to know

Rooms

12, including one suite.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £378.25 (ZAR8,925), including tax at 15 per cent.

More details

Rates include à la carte breakfast (fruits, yoghurts, waffles, brioche French toast, omelettes, Benedicts), a fruit platter and bottle of wine in your room on arrival, and one wine tasting in the Great Heart boutique.

Also

Leeu House has an impressive – and occasionally beguiling – art collection (it’s hard to miss ‘Tim’, the sculpture of a man in everyday clothes facing the wall, in the lobby lounge). There’s blue-tinged portraiture, full-scale statues of human rights leaders, large-scale animal sculptures and more intrigues. You can buy small-scale replicas to take home as well as house-made olive oil and cosy scarves.

At the hotel

Lounge, dining terrace, wine boutique, free shuttle service to Leeu Estates and the village (at set times unless booked in advance), concierge, charged laundry service, free WiFi. In rooms: Smart TV, minibar, Nespresso machine, tea-making kit, bathrobes, Healing Earth bath products, free bottled water, air-conditioning.

Our favourite rooms

There’s a quiet luxury to rooms here: carpets are sisal, shades are kept to the soothing end of the colour spectrum, furnishings have a polished mid-century feel, linens have upped thread counts, and bathroom floors are heated. Those with private terraces are covetable, and if you crave a mountain view a couple of hideaways on the upper floor have a view over Franschhoek’s mighty peaks.

Poolside

Open only to guests (from 7am to 7pm, although times are flexible), the pool is a peaceful freeform swimming spot with sunloungers on the garden deck and some appealing optics: mountains in the background, mature trees, a Dylan Lewis sculpture displayed to one side (just one of the Leeu property’s many artworks). And there’s a bar so you don’t have to flip-flop far for a chilled glass of wine.

Spa

There’s no spa onsite, but guests can hop on the free shuttle when they wish to be pampered at sister stay Leeu Estates (a 10-minute ride away, book in advance for times outside the shuttle schedule). Here wine is used in a more healing fashion, as part of pinotage facials and grape-seed scrubs, but there are also massages and more with all-natural Healing Earth products, a steam room, mani-pedi salon, plunge pool overlooking a lily pond, and well-kitted-out gym.

Packing tips

You’re probably arriving with more than hand luggage, but just in case, let us advise you to check a bag – you’ll be devastated if you have to drain those bottles of wine in the departure lounge.

Also

If curled up on a sofa by the fireplace, freshly topped-up wine in hand is your style, Leeu House’s lounge caters to cosiness-seekers.

Children

Sorry kiddos, unless the house is booked exclusively, you have to be of legal drinking age to stay here – 18 in South Africa.

Sustainability efforts

The hotel’s precious terroir is well taken care of. Alongside recycling, conserving water and installing LED bulbs, the hotel has installed heat pumps and solar geysers to heat water and save energy, air conditioners have been replaced with inverters, washing machines and tumble-dryers are not used during peak times, and the property runs on bore water. And, Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines (the vintners behind the hotel) have devised a staff-empowerment project in the Great Heart Wines brand, which is collectively owned by staff, who reap all profits.

Food and Drink

Photos Leeu House food and drink

Top Table

The terrace is a pretty garden-set spot with mountainous panoramas.

Dress Code

The Conservatory doesn’t require much ceremony, for all others, give your outfit a little Gallic oomph.

Hotel restaurant

Praise the food gods – the Leeu Collection has some of the best restaurants dotted throughout Franschhoek. Book in advance for all (tables go fast) and work your way through. The Conservatory at Leeu House is the most casual (with burgers, biltong bowls, samosas and salads), so use its all-day menu as an amuse-bouche for the group’s other eateries. Come evening, hop on the shuttle to Leeu Estates; here, La Petite Colombe is a longstanding favourite for the element of surprise and sense of wonder its tasting menus offer – say a caviar tin where a layer of roe reveals a silky crayfish and ponzu spread; botanical towers of beef tartare with smoked aioli and confit mussels with coconut; then a literally Wonka-esque sweet trolley to finish. Next up, Le Quartier Francais (less than a five-minute walk away), where the approach is casual, yet the food deliciously complex at Protégé. Get stuck into spiced-pork bao buns with rum-glazed pineapple and gojuchang; Kerala salmon curry with sultana chutney; and lamb neck with romanesco, rosemary jus and dukkah. Le Quartier also houses Épice, where the 11-course tasting menu trots around the globe, starting with a rum, pineapple, mint and ginger cocktail, and ending with variously spiced chocolates. 

Hotel bar

There’s a small bar in the lobby lounge, but you’re rarely a cork pop away from a bottle of Mullineux & Leeu Family wine, all of which thrive in the granite and schist soil of the Swartland. Go with the flow, helping yourself to the freebie bottle you get in your room on arrival, or take a tasting in the Great Heart Wines boutique (for up to four guests at a time) – one of which is also free for guests. At that point you’ll have worked out your favourites for future orders.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am to 10.30am. Then lunch and dinner run till 9pm.

Room service

Dine decadently in-room around the clock, with a reduced menu from 9pm to 7am.

Location

Photos Leeu House location
Address
Leeu House
12 Huguenot St
Franschhoek
7690
South Africa

Leeu House has a large leafy plot at the very heart of Franschhoek village, along Huguenot Street, home to lauded eateries and surrounded by must-visit cellars.

Planes

Cape Town International is the closest airport, around an hour’s drive away. The hotel can help with transfers on request (and put on a luxury vehicle if you wish).

Automobiles

A car will come in handy getting to and from Franschhoek (plus it makes an excellent Cape Town to Winelands road-trip stop), and there’s a free secure car park and valet service at the hotel, or guarded street parking. But, once you’re there, the hotel’s super-central location means you can walk to most main attractions, and the Wine Tram negates the need for a designated driver.

Other

If you want to take the chopper, you can land it on sister property Leeu Estates’ helipad (a free 10-minute shuttle drive from Leeu House).

Worth getting out of bed for

A stay at Leeu House might feel like you’ve sojourned to the country, such are its mountain views and sense of space (it’s actually three properties, purchased by owner Analjit Singh to allow for a pool, gardens and one hell of a view), but you’re actually on Huguenot Street, one of Franschhoek village’s main drags, putting you within walking distance of its top-drawer dining, indie boutiques and – most importantly – the launching point for the Wine Tram. From here there are eight hop-on, hop-off routes to choose from, chugging along to noted wineries such as Grande Provence (for oyster, hummus or nougat pairings), Mont Rochelle (for syrahs and cab savs), Franschhoek Cellar (for wines, chocolates and cheeses) and Rickety Bridge (for panna cotta pairings and a non-alcoholic flight). But, we must insist on a stop at Pigcasso, where you’ll not only get to sample fine wines, but also meet a very fine swine with excellent artistic abilities, and maybe see her in action. It might be a good idea to line your stomach a little pre-tram, so take the ‘chocolate experience’ at Huguenot Fine Chocolates close by, nibble and sip your way around Franschhoek Village Market (picking up handicrafts as you go), or stop by the beautiful Babylonstoren farm and shop to pick up picnic fixings, wander the intricately laid out gardens, and meet the resident animals (oh and, go on, have some wine while you’re at it). The Huguenot Memorial Museum outlines Franschhoeak’s fascinating history and the influence the French refugees had on the region. And to exercise your ‘nose’ in another fashion, sniff out the First South African Perfume Museum – follow up by having a custom scent made at Kumanov Perfumery. And, after all that imbibing, a hike in the glorious Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve or a spin on a bike from Franschhoek cycles will sort out any sore heads.

Local restaurants

Where to begin? Franschhoek is one of the world’s great gastronomic centres, where dining experiences are rounded off with moment-making views and wines that you’ll be photographing the labels of for posterity. You could spend a week or two living off Huguenot Street’s offerings alone, but kick your culinary odyssey off at Le Coin Francais, where award-collecting chef Darren Badenhorst refines the region’s flavours in dishes such as rare springbok with ancient grains, black-garlic pureé, rooibos and meebos gel (a sweet made of dried apricots); or buttered and barbecued langoustines with Gruberg cheese, snoek-brandade velouté, vineyard shoots and a pea-and-pancetta risotto. Ōku’s delicate Asian dishes span sushi, bao buns, hearty ramen bowls and mains of wagyu in a Mongolian-style sauce and teriyaki salmon. We recommend the kaiseki menu so you try a little of each over 10 courses. Chefs Warehouse at Maison riffs on a tapas concept of four-course menus. Start with apple, lime and sriracha-spiked oysters or pastrami pretzels, then tuck into a muddle of dishes from the garden, sea or street – pumpkin in Peking glaze, seabass and crayfish velouté flatbread, taro tacos with smoked paprika and blood orange. And wine-estate eatery Orangerie Restaurant is just around the corner for saucily French fare: gruyère soufflé with apple-celery salad; pork-belly ravioli in a black-truffle jus with whipped goat’s cheese; brut-steamed mussels with a gremolata crème.

Local cafés

You needn’t go far for a coffee fix – Huguenot Street has the Hoek Espresso Bar and Get Lost Coffee – visit the latter for the parma ham, fig and burrata baguette; and buttercream-slathered cakes. And, Terbodore Café (‘big dog café’) is a popular brunching spot for eats such as Indonesian coconut-curry congee, cheesecake-topped sweet-potato waffles and polenta chips with coffee mayonnaise and a dusting of parmesan. 

Local bars

Franschhoek’s drinking scene bleeds red, white and rosé, so oenophiles will absolutely fare best. However, for those who favour grain to grape, the Tuk Tuk Microbrewery has five of its own sudsy concoctions and a tasty pan-global menu to help you keep a level head. Franschhoek Station Pub & Craft Bar has local beers which you can drink on a disused train platform. And Elephant & Barrel looks like it’s been plonked down from the English countryside, and has nine taps and around 30 local and imported brews.

Reviews

Photos Leeu House reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this intimate hideaway in central Franschhoek and unpacked their bottle of chenin blanc and bag of biltong, a full account of their grand-cru getaway will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust and your whistle, here's a quick peek inside Leeu House in South Africa…

Leeu House might be sister to the fabulous vineyard escape Leeu Estates, but it could be called a distillate of all that’s made the family one of Franschhoek’s foremost in hospitality. We mean, the House presents wine, art, polished service, and surroundings to make social media followers jealous in a potent, bijou package that only guests are privy to. Its central setting, close to the Wine Tram stop and a raft of big-deal eateries (some, like La Petite Colombe and Tuk-Tuk Brewery, partners of the hotel), means you can easily experience the finer and funner points of a stay here, and hop on the hotel’s free shuttle to their more rustic properties. But, then you can retire to a strategically serene world, where suites are neutrally hued, gardens overlooking a panorama of peaks keep the volume down and the outside world far away, and you’re never far from your next glass of something terroir-bly drinkable. 

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Price per night from $490.41