Devonvale Moving with the Times

Private Property South Africa

Hospitality establishment refurbishments can go one of two ways: the establishment can be overhauled to become a dynamic, on trend place capable of meeting market needs, or the refurbishment can miss the mark entirely. Happily, in the case of Devonvale Golf Lodge in Stellenbosch, the former is true.

Established in 1962, Devonvale has long been a favourite with local and international visitors due in no small part to the lodge’s international 18 hole golf course and magnificent mountainous backdrop punctuated by vineyards. Additional features acting in the lodge’s favour include full conference facilities, a clubhouse and a pool.

The lodge comprises 20 self-catering apartments some of which offer a mix of private gardens, balconies and braai facilities; nine standard hotel rooms and a handful of holiday homes which can collectively accommodate approximately 110 guests. Although still popular, Devonvale was beginning to show its age in recent years say Esther and JJ Provoyeur who have owned the lodge since 1997 alongside three silent partners.

During the course of its 50 year history, with the exception of the holiday homes which were built in 2007, Esther says the lodge had changed little and the dated, golf themed interior décor which predominated throughout was no longer suitable. Accordingly, a revamp project was initiated.

Local architectural firm Dennis Moss Partnership was commissioned at the beginning of 2012 to update the lodge which resulted in a clean, contemporary façade characterised by gun metal grey and sand colours. The interiors were opened up, and a striking timber framed sunroof was added to the main corridor of the self-catering apartments which not only introduced an architectural point of interest but brought some much needed light to the area.

Remarkably, Esther tackled the lodge’s interior design entirely on her own. Guided only by the notion of creating an elegant, contemporary look, she began work in April. In a bid to get the mix just right, Esther initially experimented and overhauled just one of the self-catering apartments. Once perfected, she focused her energies on the remaining apartments, hotel rooms and interior spaces.

Esther employed a “calming” colour palette of grey, silver, black and white which was expressed through the use of features such as shimmering silver curtains, white leather couches, beautiful white and silver patterned dining chairs, black wooden tables and chandeliers and white bed linen. Light grey walls, grey toned ‘floating’ cupboards, white kitchen cupboards and a neutral bathroom design also now feature in the majority of Devonvale’s stylish rooms.

The overhaul was completed in July and thus far has been well received. Notably, with the revamp came a number of eco-friendly initiatives explains Esther: “We have replaced all the lights with energy efficient CFL’s and added a heat exchanger to cut back on electricity. We now harvest the lodge’s grey water which is used to water the golf course, and have also fitted permanent soap and shampoo dispensers in all the bathrooms which eliminates excess plastic bottles. Through these initiatives we have realised a marked improvement in our energy and water usage profile.”

Prior to the overhaul Devonvale was rated a three star establishment. The Provoyeurs are awaiting the outcome of the latest grading and have every confidence Devonvale will be awarded a four star rating. Whatever the outcome, it just goes to show that passion coupled with sensitive, elegant architectural and interior design can go a long way to extending the life of a hospitality establishment making it relevant to the next generation of guests. Here’s to the next 50 years Devonvale.

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