Graciously emerging from the ankles of the mountain – overlooking the tiered terrain of the Atlantic Seaboard beneath and all the way out across the ocean – Lion’s Head Villa wilfully whisks you away to the Mediterranean with its Provençal charm, yet simultaneously settles you into the stillness of the African soil it harnesses itself upon. Set on four levels of dual dwellings – two individual maisonettes that can either be independent or interlinked with each other – this hideaway masters the marriage of classical with contemporary and innovation with imitation. The grandeur of its Cape Georgian bones blend seamlessly with the rustic, à la mode environment it inhabits. An abundance of North-facing light permeates every space, bouncing off the Egyptian limestone surfaces and elevating the repurposed French-oak beams of the ceilings. From the three luxury ensuite bedrooms in each maisonette, the lavish living and dining spaces, the colossal country-style kitchens – with their venerable French copper-ware, appliances, battered enamel ware, crockery and cabinetry (a lion’s share of which was sourced in Saint-Tropez) – to the libraries, the refined linen and leather furnishings with Vicuña wool throws and Ralph Lauren fabrics, the dark mahogany bar, the long verandah and patios aplenty. All embellished by the intimate hues and scents of candles flickering adjacent antique collectables and signature pieces of art, alongside the owner’s great-grandmother’s art collection that hangs with intent in significant spaces. An ongoing sentiment of the villa’s celebrated heritage and a tribute to an artist who’s pieces of work also occupy space in the National Portrait Gallery in London, as well as notable aristocratic homes around the world.
As you venture out into the terraced garden that’s crowned with its captivating view of the magnificent ocean, the Mediterranean mood resumes with pencil Cypresses flanking the boundary walls, olive trees emerging from exposed stone with rows of lavender, rose bushes, flourishing herbs and hedges. Sunbirds and starlings dip in and out of the trickling water feature echoing pacifying tones of a medieval Provençal quarter. When you’re not beside one of the three glorious swimming pools, languidly lapping up the rays and quenching an afternoon’s thirst for pink gin, you’ll be gathered around the wooden tables – some on the long verandah with its open outdoor fire place and tranquil lounging space, and some under the reed pergola, barefoot upon the beach sand, beside the pizza oven, looking up to the lion and its rump and all the way out over the treetops to infinity and beyond.
It is all of these characteristics of this multifaceted hideaway that carry you on a cosmopolitan journey, yet cradle you in the bosom of the Mother City at the same time. Its art inspires, its ambience pacifies, its views invigorate and its soul is the owners’ stamp, revealing what life can be like when we do it all again with vigour.
What we love!
- It’s completely apparent that the owners have a flare for art, design, textures and refinery, but there’s also an element of curious creativity and romance in the custom-made box frames of pressed fynbos – the owner’s journal of the beautiful nature that abounds the property.
- Al fresco dining beneath the pergola, embracing the mountain air, with your feet in the sand and the lanterns lit as they flicker in sync with the passing ships on their great voyages out to sea.
- Hanging out upstairs in the swinging chair, watching the light catch the swimming pool, creating rainbows that mirror the colourful paragliding display going on above Signal Hill.
- Walking straight out of the back door, up the road and directly into nature with many mountain trails for hiking, mountain biking or just a gentle amble should you fancy.
- The perfect positioning of the property with its North-facing light, spectacular views and seclusion from the south-easter blasts of wind that sporadically pummel the rest of the city.
What you need to know…
- The property is divided into dual dwelling – both maisonettes a mirror image of each other, though with slightly different personalities.
- The patios are perfect sun traps for early morning yoga, meditation or just a brew with a good book. It’s exhilarating to explore all of the different nooks of the property throughout the hours of the day.
- There is additional accommodation at the bottom of the property in the lovely garden cottage should it be needed.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie