By Anji Connell
The swing seat overlooking the pool at the Farmstead is incredibly evocative just looking at this dreamy vision and you immediately feel relaxed. It beckons you to take a seat and lose yourself, free your mind and forget all your troubles… a pair of red chairs dipped in the pool are a brilliant fun touch, that reminds me of the Delano Hotel in South Beach Miami. An Art Deco gem restored in 1995 by the Studio 54 impresario Ian Schrager and design guru Philippe Starck. It was immediately dubbed the epitome of cool, revitalising the then down at heel South Beach, and launching a tsunami of “boutique” hotels that changed how we vacation forever.
Whereas it’s unquestionably luxurious and elegant with some fabulous touches, it’s also playful.
The exclusive Farmstead at The Royal Malewane is certainly no Delano, nor would we want it to be. It is, however, much more contemporary in style than the main Royal Malewane Lodge, or a typical safari lodge, and whereas it’s unquestionably luxurious and elegant with some fabulous touches, it’s also playful.
The Farmstead has three Luxury Farm Suites, as well as the main house, the Farmhouse, that has three and a half bedrooms that capture the essence of farmhouse style, with fabulous alfresco living to boot, the indoor and outdoor areas meld over a magnificent decks, gorgeous landscaping, and swimming pools that flow out into the surrounding bush veld, all of which is made complete with the amazing service we have come to expect from the Royal Portfolio. Leisurely breakfasts and lunches on the deck, with magical dinners under the amazing star filled skies. This is real farmhouse chic and it feels so good! There is a wonderful lightness that inspires and invites you to just go with the flow. The only decision to be made is where to make your personal chill spot!
The only “appointment” we had was dinner at Klein JAN. And rightly so. Much like Tswalu, this is an adventure not to be missed. It is a breathtaking, carefully created and curated theatrical performance — and a non-stop extravaganza of sensory pleasures.
There is an extravagant spaciousness, yet a charming homeliness. Antique doors from Zanzibar welcome you into a world of wonderfully curated vignettes, African inspired fabrics from Ardmore and Clarke & Clarke cover the plush sofas and designer chairs, light oak, wrought iron, and gentle hues of blue and white define the style with dazzling splashes of emerald and ruby, and colourful artworks from Zimbabwean artists Kudzanai Chiuarai, and Jana James Amimu and South African, artists, Talia Ramkilawan, Athi-Patra Ruga, and Ralph Krall.
The Farmhouse is the perfect spot for a family and friends get together, or special occasion, a personal chef, housekeeper, butler, spa treatment room and a private safari vehicle with a dedicated ranger and tracker await your arrival, and are at your disposal. No surprise it was voted the best new hotel in Africa and the Middle East in Condé Naste’s “The Hotel list 2020.” The Farmstead is light, contemporary, and relaxed with eclectic pops of dynamic colour—ivy-green, bright peacock-blue, and pinks, with a strong focus on outdoor living that encourages lingering, while enveloped luxuriously in nature.
All of course with the incredible game drives. Plus the Farmstead is just a 12-minute drive to the main lodge should you wish for a change of scene, a drink at the bar, or indulging in the heated lap pool, steam room, and spa casitas at the Royal Melawane.
The Farmstead is a collaboration with the local landowners, the Moletele community, who have granted the Royal Malewane a 45-year lease, and in return receive a monthly rental and revenue share, with an option to work together in perpetuity. Throughout the lease, the Royal Portfolio will employ local community members and train them in Royal Portfolio hospitality standards while involving the local community in conservation efforts to preserve our precious wildlife and secure the long-term future of tourism in South Africa.
The Farmstead offers a complete sense of remoteness, its a wonderful place to immerse yourself in nature with access to incredible wildlife —and the game drives are something else, there is no shortage of the big five—it’s a stylish relaxed escape from the real world.