Sir Richard Branson is the latest hotelier to set his sights on the luxury market in South Africa with plans to add a new hotel and vineyard to his collection of properties.
Branson is in preliminary talks to purchase Mont Rochelle Hotel and Mountain Vineyard in the country’s food and wine growing heartland, Franschhoek, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
The estate boasts a history that dates back to the 17th century.
The 22-bedroom property includes a fitness facility, an outdoor pool, a Jacuzzi and a sauna, and activities like wine tastings on horseback, golf, and tours of the local farmer’s market and chocolate factory.
Wines produced out of the vineyards include Sauvignon Blanc, unwooded Chardonnay, barrel fermented Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and rosé.
The South African property will expand Branson’s existing Virgin Limited Edition portfolio that currently includes Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve in South Africa, Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, The Lodge in Verbier and Mahali Mzuri, a tented safari camp in Kenya.
Likewise, Canadian luxury hotel chain the Four Seasons is expected to open a “chic urban resort” in Johannesburg this year.
Branson will close the Mont Rochelle hotel for refurbishments and re-open in August. Set on a hilltop, the estate also includes 39 hectares of vinelands.