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Perfect Hideaways

Travel better, travel local

We explore four properties in the Perfect Hideaways portfolio that draw inspiration from our creative community.

Here at Lifestyling we’re big fans of holiday destinations that embrace local products and talent. Those who invest in their immediate socio-economic environment get our thumbs up every time.

So, almost as soon as local travel restrictions were lifted, we checked in with one of our favourite getaway experts, Perfect Hideaways. We’ve uncovered some (unmistakably) beautiful locations across our fair land, that also tick the ‘supporting local’ box. It’s time to rediscover your peripatetic propensity.

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JONKMANSHOF

Situated 180 kilometres outside of Cape Town, on the meandering Route 62, lies the picturesque town of Montagu. Mother City slickers familiar with the culinary and home décor offering of the Hemelhuijs restaurant, will be gratified by owner Jacques Erasmus’ country extension. Truth be told, the Jonkmanshof experience will probably exceed any expectation (even that of the most determinedly cynical urbanite).

Set within a 165-year-old Cape Dutch farmhouse, everything about Jonkmanshof whispers homegrown goodness. From the personally curated collection of antiques, to the treasures of the property’s library (or “Room of Curiosities” as it is fondly known, thanks to the collection of books, tapestries, ceramics and more), locally grown and sourced produce and products grace your table, pillow and bathroom. The home is known as “the house where lemons grow”, and we love how the citrus theme is executed with considered style.

Bonus points are given for Jacques and partner Hein’s beautifully curated ‘De Nagmaal’ farm shop: brimming with locally handcrafted and sourced products. These include ceramics (by the likes of Noleen Reid and Lissa Claassens), tea towels and candles, preserves and jams (courtesy of Jacques’ mother), and seeds and herbs from the garden.

Jonkmanshof

KUBILI HOUSE

Located within Thornybush Private Game Reserve, near Hoedspruit, lies the multifaceted Kubili House. What really makes this lodge unique is the seamless (and satisfying) overlapping of several influences: northern hemisphere meets southern hemisphere, with traces of the Far East for good measure. The vision for the lodge comes courtesy of its imaginative owner, Julian Koski.

Julian did what any purveyor of style would’ve done. He sought out Jonkmanshof owner – and seasoned interior designer, chef, botanical artist, curator and visionary – Jacques Erasmus to carry out his vision for Kubili House.

The result is a richly textured ode to local artisans and artists, with an inspired collection of furniture, art, photography and more. Whilst elements from farther away have also been used in the design, it is the local pieces that lead the charge.

A highlight is the botanical artwork, by Jacques himself, that readily contrasts with photography throughout the house; with work by photographer Zipho Gum being most notable. Andrew Putter’s beautifully styled “African Hospitality” portraits are a signature in the lodge’s bathrooms. Bespoke furniture fills the rooms, with the likes of Pierre Cronje making their indigenous mark on the space.

Guests can expect a local food experience, too, with a private chef on site to create bespoke daily menus. Mielie pap? Homemade piccalilli? Expect to be surprised and tantalised.

Whilst aesthetics are obviously important here, it’s the whole Kubili experience (including a fragrant focus on scent) that ensures a stay here is stylish and unforgettably sublime.

Kubili House

VILLA VERTE

Over in Hout Bay is Villa Verte: nestled in the folds of the mountain and encircled by a combination of expansive garden and natural forest.

Villa Verte belongs to a US couple with an eye for local creativity and talent. If you’re expecting “big and brash” from this American duo, then think again. Villa Verte and its sister Maison Noir (which we have on good authority is about to receive a stylish South African redecoration) are decidedly un-brash. Big, perhaps, but this comes in the form of space, nature, privacy and luxury.

Co-owner Jim Brett also runs his design business, Future Found, from the property. He, with noteworthy input from local design experts Southern Guild, is responsible for the design of Villa Verte. Cape Town-based architect Thomas Leach responded to Jim’s call to make sure the structure exploited and respected its natural setting.

Villa Verte features an impressive list of local artists and crafters, including the likes of Lucinda Mudge, Willowlamp, Kurt Pio and Barry Saltzman. All that said, it’s the villa’s future plans that really get our pulse rates up.

Efforts are underway to enhance the property’s sustainability quotient, currently defined by things like vegetable gardens, composting and beekeeping. With the assistance of local experts, the Villa Verte team plan to harvest ingredients from the surrounding gardens to create a line of packaged foods and a skincare range. By upping its garden-to-table (and garden-to-dressing-table) ante, the property intends to make an impact beyond its own walls.

Drawing on local talent appears to come easy for the owners, and the result is an experience that is sensual and intrinsically South African. We’re impressed!

Villa Verte

THORN SPRINGS

We head over to Middleburg in the Great Karoo, and a working cattle and game farm called Thorn Springs. It’s set within 4200 hectares of archetypal Eastern Cape terrain that features a patchwork of sage and ochre plains, parched riverbeds and thorn trees.

The old farmhouse was built in 1905 in the Sir Herbert Baker style. There are sandstone walls, a red sink roof, and a wraparound stoep that stretches out for days. The interiors seem beautifully fixed in a bygone time: period fittings and furniture, although intuitively edited for modern living, feel reassuringly familiar.

Every space is an exemplar of the South African vernacular: wire garden furniture, taxidermy, cow and antelope skins, white-washed walls, a round farm dam-cum-pool, patinaed brass plumbing, and traditional riempie furniture mixed with touches of mid-century modern. To these are added splashes of contemporary art, photography and objects that bring the house into the here and now. We spotted work by photographer Grada Djeri, artists Donovan Ward, Christo Coetzee and Walter Meyer, and ceramicist Andre Vorster.

Extra local touches come courtesy of Renee Veldsman’s ‘Nguni’ crockery, Mungo’s luxurious cotton homeware and Afriearth’s range of toiletries. Guests are also encouraged to harvest produce from the farm’s vegetable garden.

Thorn Springs is exceptional. It might be wise to double the length of your stay just to take in all its gifts.

(Although recently released from the Perfect Hideaways portfolio, bookings for Thorn Springs can be made directly with the property through the Meerlust website – link below).

Thorn Springs

WORDS & PRODUCTION: J-P de la Chaumette
PHOTOGRAPHY: Micky Hoyle (for Jonkmanshof and Kubili House), Greg Cox (for Villa Verte) and David Ross (for Thorn Springs)