When people mention Fancourt, the first thing that jumps to mind is golf, which if you are a golfer is great as the hotel possesses three great courses, with one very special links course reserved for a select few only. What people generally don’t know is that Fancourt also delivers an experience beyond just golf. The rapid tourism gearing of the area, with better climate, marginally warmer beaches, an emerging bespoke dairy and wine trade, along with being located on one of the prettiest coastlines in the world, the George area has done a lot to shed its retirement village moniker.
Fancourt’s positioning is a stone’s throw and a short hop from the airport, although my favourite way to get there every so often is a drive along the garden route in a convoy of grand tourers with a group of close friends. That being said, getting there by commercial aircraft or private jet I’m sure is equally fulfilling depending on circumstances.
The Fancourt estate features a main hotel with conference centre and spa and a boutique facility called Manor House with 16 luxuriously appointed suites. The entire estate is 613 hectares which includes the 3 golf courses, as well as homes.
I am generally not a fan of mixing up different grades of facilities as most guests paying for the upper niches of hospitality prefer privacy and sometimes feel short-changed by having to mingle with people staying in the lower graded accommodation. However, Manor House has been able to achieve that without too much interaction with the rest of its amenities unless guests wish to do so.
Driving into the grounds, one immediately senses the tranquillity and peace that the atmosphere exudes. This is evidenced by the “ducks crossing” signboard – a clear indication that the hurried do not have right of way over the spiritually present. Manor house is nestled into the estate unobtrusively and presents a very welcoming porte-cochère to arriving guests.
Many parts of Manor House are listed under the Historical Buildings Act as a monument and therefore remain untouched. The core of the house is 150 years old although the remodelled structure is a carefully balanced mix of the original charm whilst still modernising to today’s standards and amenities.
The one thing that struck me is the staff. In fact, like with many good managers, the leadership team was quick to point out that happy staff directly correlates with happy guests and this was clearly evident through our interaction with any level of staff during the entire stay. Their protocols are to quickly establish a guest’s needs and likes and immediately adapt to servicing those. There have been many facilities where the design and infrastructure is not up to standard, but the quality of the staff easily make up for that. Manor House succeeds in getting everything right.
The rooms’ composition is one master suite, four grand suites and thirteen luxury suites. Every suite is tastefully furnished with a great sense of space with the smallest ones taking up 60m2 – not small by anyone’s standards. It came to light that the owners of the estate and hotels who are based in Germany itself spend a fair amount of time attending to every detail. This I believe contributes greatly to its success.
Meals are top notch with world standard chefs preparing tasty dishes. We were served dinner outdoors in the garden. Amidst this beautiful setting, with the low sun setting at dusk, a palatable five course meal paired with local wine was served as a tasting menu – which brings me to the topic of vino. The wines originating from the region seem to be a well-guarded secret, but one I feel needs to be shared. The quality of the wines is superb with their own unique flavours and notes coming to the fore. For our limited time, we were unable to go on a proper wine tour but have it on good authority that this is not to be missed if you have the time.
The next day we toured the entire estate with its rolling hills. For the avid photographer this is paradise. The perfectly manicured greens, melded with local flora and fauna makes for some of the best shots ever. The estate has a mix of different sub-estates with their own design themes, the newer ones being deliberately eco-friendly taking account of the light and energy management.
The golf courses are any golfer’s dream. With some signature holes that are world-class. The links course is one of the most sought after courses in the world but is exclusivity restricted to residents and invited guests only.
Next time I take my clubs!