At the end of a road, on the edge of a lake, a recently renovated lodge, new spa and restaurant are adding five-star value to Sedgefield’s tourism offering.
WORDS Athane Scholtz PHOTOGRAPHS Desmond Scholtz
The fate of Lakeside Lodge was sealed the day Cape Town-based English businesswoman Penny Streeter went for a drive around the lakes while on holiday in the Garden Route.
At the end of a winding road she came upon an extraordinary property for sale, boasting a unique view of Swartvlei estuary, and immediately saw its potential. “My mom came home that night with the kind of enthusiasm she has for all her many projects and we knew it would be just a matter of time before we would all be knee-deep in making the dream come true,” says Penny’s son Adam, who has been overseeing the upgrades and extensions.
Penny and her mom, Marion Hewson, own the A24 Group – an international medical professional placement company employing more than 27 000 people, which started with an extra phone in the hallway of the Streeters’ London home many years ago. “I remember waking up in the early hours of the morning and my mom sitting on the floor of the hallway with her register, sorting out nurses for hospitals where staff had not arrived for their shifts. Her visionary attitude and drive for excellence is behind everything she does, which is also evident in the new Lakeside Lodge and Benguela Cove Brasserie and Restaurant.”
The lodge’s nine self-catering units were renovated entirely and turned into five-star luxury bedroom suites, including a honeymoon suite, with bed and breakfast services. An outside building became the luxurious spa and the swimming pool also received a facelift.
The most noteworthy upgrade was the consolidation of the lounge, bar and billiard room into the extensive brasserie and restaurant. On good weather days the seating spills onto an expansive lawn with an extraordinary view of the lake, mountains and Sedgefield town in the distance. At the edge of the lawn a mini boma and braai, as well as a cleverly designed amphitheatre – inserted into the bank below the lawn – also have the view and overlook a jetty and shallow water launching area.
Lakeside Lodge and Spa, incorporating Benguela Cove Brasserie and Restaurant, reopened to the public as a high-end establishment in December 2014 and is fast becoming a firm favourite for good food, outdoor concerts and high teas. “Our first Jazz at the Lake event was very well-supported and we intend hosting many similarly unforgettable events in future,” says Adam.
Lakeside is the first of an ambitious plan to promote the family’s wine and olive oil produce, which is grown on the Benguela Cove Estate outside Hermanus. There too, the Streeter family saw the potential of well-situated property and initially bought a residence on the estate. “When the estate’s main investor died, Benguela Cove started to suffer and my family decided to buy it before it affected the value of our own property there.”
Benguela Cove is the closest vineyard to the sea in South Africa and, like Lakeside, is situated on the water’s edge. Benguela Brasserie and Restaurant is the first of several eateries the family intends opening, which will all serve as set-off points for Benguela wines and olive oil. Adam, a trained chef, will be overseeing this side of the business and is currently adding the final touches to their second restaurant, Benguela on Main, in Somerset West.
“Lakeside Lodge and Spa, incorporating Benguela Brasserie and Restaurant, is the type of destination you want to bring your friends to when showing off the wonders of the Garden Route. Good food, a beautiful setting, a chance for some pampering and plenty of things to do – the epitome of what this stunning place represents,” says Adam.
Nine bed-and- breakfast rooms, including luxury, superior and honeymoon suites.
Swimming pool, croquet, and fishing.
If you stay, you can use the mountain bikes, kayaks and canoes free of charge and a speedboat is available for skiing and wakeboarding. Deep-water launch facilities for larger boats are available nearby.
Pontoon boat trips are available at extra cost to lodge and restaurants guests.
Wine and Dine
Benguela Brasserie and Restaurant is open from 8am to 9pm. Closed from 5pm Sunday and all day Monday during winter.
Benguela Cove Wines are available at cellar prices.
Lakeside Spa offers a wide range of treatments and is open to the public. Booking 044 343 1844 or 083 473 3858
Take the Swartvlei turnoff inland from the N2 highway, west of Sedgefield town. Turn right where the road splits and follow the signage until the road ends at the lodge, about 2km from the highway.