Travel and a bit of shopping
First published in Diversions, Autumn 2018
One should never underestimate the wonderful feeling of discovering a hitherto unknown gem in your own neck of the woods. It’s even more of a delight when you have been aware of its existence yet have never experienced it yourself and then you are blown away by what awaits you.
Any South African who has not heard of Fancourt and its specially designed golf courses – there are three designed by Gary Player and all of them are ranked among Golf Digest’s top 20 courses in the country – surely leads a Rip van Winkleish existence.
If at this point you are thinking of Fancourt as a destination primarily for golfers, think again.
Whilst staying at Fancourt just outside of George in the Western Cape recently I discovered how much more it has to offer. The gardens would excite and inspire anyone with green fingers or a love of plants. You could spend hours walking amidst the indigenous trees and palm trees, along flower beds and garden paths and past dams where frogs croak merrily.
After your walk – or a round of golf of course – there is an indoor as well as an outdoor swimming pool to cool down. The setting of the indoor pool is the most beautiful I have ever seen; I could picture it in an opulent Hollywood home. If you choose your bathing time well you could have the place all to yourself. The spa staff generously share insider tips such as these – and offer the most relaxing deep tissue body massage that I’ve ever had.
Even if you do not opt for an indoor swim do not miss having a look at the oh-so-pretty peacock mosaic mural on either side of the pool.
After my time at the spa I thought it would be a sin not to venture into the tepidarium and the sauna.
Don’t mess with a success recipe, it is generally said. We adhered to this adage which meant that we returned to La Cantina Restaurant after our first meal at this Mediterranean establishment with its impressive and award-winning wine list and a mostly Italian menu. If you have a penchant for zabaglione or would like to try this light custard made with egg yolks, sugar and marsala wine, save some space. This might be difficult though given the generous portions of comfort food served at La Cantina.
Had La Cantina not wooed us we could have opted for dinner at the Club Lounge & Bar or a late lunch at Monet’s at Fancourt.
Whilst ensconced at Fancourt we used the opportunity to explore the Garden Route. George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Herolds Bay and Victoria Bay are all close enough to warrant a succession of outings.
You will be forgiven if you forego exploration to soak up the luxury of your room at Fancourt instead. All rooms and suites – classic or luxury – have either a patio or a balcony that overlooks the magnificent grounds. Wifi is provided should you want to work – or impress your friends with where you find yourself.
For bookings and more information: www.fancourt.co.za
Ilse Zietsman was the guest of Fancourt South Africa.