Simola: the jewel of South African golf
When Conrad Hilton, America’s legendary hotel magnate, was asked what makes a successful hotel, he replied, “Three things: location, location, location.”
Clearly the developers of Simola Golf and Country Estate, a joint venture between W F Osner (Pty) Ltd, an 80-year-old construction and property development company, and Kat Leisure (Pty) Ltd, a company focusing on the development and management of leisure industry companies, were to cherish the location presented to them on the top ridge of their Knysna estate.
They obviously understood why the addition of a luxurious 40-suite hotel at Simola and the adjoining stylish clubhouse, opened last December, on such a magnificent site, was bound for immediate success. These additions have further enhanced the status of Simola as one of the jewels of South Africa’s golf, leisure and residential estates.
The location, high above the scenic town of Knysna, merits the description of being one of South Africa’s most spectacular. The hotel and clubhouse have uninterrupted views of the tranquil blue lagoon with the famous Knysna Heads framing the avenue to the sparkling Indian Ocean. A turn of the head and a glorious overview of the Knysna River nestling comfortably in a forested valley adds to the picture postcard beauty, while the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course meanders unobtrusively into nature’s historical landscape adding scenic and sporting value for both residents and visitors.
The hotel suites are set in five separate 8-suite blocks. Each suite configuration has two-bedroom options (though the design allows for individual occupation of each room) and spacious lounges and outdoor terraces with braai (and view!) facilities.
The hotel reception is at the entrance to the clubhouse and here is when another of Hilton’s sayings comes to fruition. His philosophy to “Create a wow moment on arrival and you have an instantly satisfied client,” certainly occurs on arrival here. The eye travels over the central dome area, housing a magnificent chandelier, lighting up a lifelike statue of Jack Nicklaus with his traditional hand wave seemingly welcoming each guest.
The visual draw though is to the glass-fronted ship’s bow terrace overlooking the panoramic landscape. No Hollywood set could better this colourful and memorable scene.
Sweeping central staircases lead down to the golf amenities and a fully equipped gymnasium, cleverly taking full advantage of those magnificent views, while in contrast a calm, warm and richly decorated health spa provides a peaceful environment, complemented by an indoor rest and relaxation pool area.
The clubhouse’s restaurant, bars and conference areas are spacious but, no matter how well designed and decorated, the memory of each will be overshadowed by the landscape below. Even the outdoor pool area, with its wooden deck and bar, is destined to be a favoured venue for sundowners and sunset moments to rival any in the world.
Obviously these facilities, while a draw-card to both business and leisure visitors alike, are on offer to those fortunate to have invested in the freehold or fractional ownership selections in the property portfolios at Simola, which overlook this splendid location. As at so many of the golf estates in South Africa, the developers have provided a myriad of environments for residents to choose from and, at Simola, the choices are so varied and captivating it isn’t easy to favour one over the other. For here, river views, lagoon views, forest shade, mountain backdrops and golf course frontages are but a few of these choices.
Written by Larry Gould. Courtesy of Golf Course Living magazine and Simola Golf Estate.
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