Broughton is Bay’s new luxe estate
Country escape a soul restorer, writes Louise Liebenberg
ROY Puffett and his wife Anne first fell in love with the large property that is now Broughton Country Estate on the lush hilltop overlooking Colleen Glen 45 years ago. The highly successful yet unassuming Port Elizabeth businessman, founder of locomotive and railway operator Sheltam, never forgot the patch of land which, to this day, boasts the most unexpectedly arresting and panoramic views.
“Stu Davidson, the pilot, lives down the road and has flown over the area countless times,” Roy shared during our Weekend Post media visit last weekend. “He was up here the other day and remarked, ‘Roy, I never knew these views existed’.”
Visitors to Broughton, which has been operating quietly since last winter, have responded in much the same way.
We certainly did: in our vast suite upstairs in the manor house, the building that forms the five-star nucleus of the 19-hectare estate, stacking windows seamlessly slid open to reveal a completely uninterrupted view to the north-west.
Even though we were directly overlooking Colleen Glen, a green sea lay in front of us, no houses or buildings in sight. We could see all the way to Lady Slipper – a sight so unanticipated that we stood transfixed as the mountain began to change colour in the dying light of day.
Nip around the side of the house, to where Roy has his favourite chair, and you’ll spot first Van Stadens and then Jeffreys Bay.
Not that the view from the south deck where we enjoyed breakfast the following morning is to be sneezed at: this vantage point delivers a pleasing glimpse of Sea- view and, if you’re lucky, the estate’s resident wildlife. Though the varied panoramas are a special part of the Broughton experience, it is the fact you have a sense of such immense tranquility here, scarcely 20 minutes from the city centre, that is perhaps the most surprising.
We felt at times as if we were on an exotic private island – a delicious delusion fuelled by the magnificent suite we found ourselves in.
I do not use the word magnificent lightly but this sophisticated (not to mention huge, at 50 square metres) pad boasted the best of everything – from custom-made, solid-wood blonde furniture and big-screen TV to monogrammed bedding and intelligent temperature control.
In the en suite bathroom, also the size of a small house, awaited the pleasures of under-floor heating, bespoke amenities, dou- ble shower and quite possibly the biggest bath I’ve had the privilege of soaping myself in. Did I mention a Nespresso machine and well-stocked bar fridge in every suite? The list continues.
There are five such beautifully appointed and contemporary suites, each with a decidedly understated style. And, though it is obvious no expense has been spared, flash is not what you’ll find here.
Roy’s wife and his one daughter, Shelley, a paramedic, did all the decor themselves – and they did such a fine job of it that you could be fooled into thinking they simply sat back and brought in the decorators.
Not so, says Roy, though he did share that all the furniture in the bedrooms and public areas of the manor house was custom-made by a Knysna firm.
One exception is in the entrance hall with its grand, curved wooden staircase.
“We couldn’t find the right look and so we brought these pieces from our house in Nairobi, where we lived for five years,” Roy says. The Puffetts had no prior experience in the hospitality industry but have done a great deal of travelling around the globe – experiences that guided them when setting up their own five-star estab- lishment which will soon also encompass a fully-fledged wedding venue.
At the risk of sounding vulgar, it is clear Roy has spent many millions on building up Broughton – a property that is so much more than just a fancy manor house and restaurant – though he would not be drawn on the sum. “I’m embarrassed to tell people,” he says, almost self-deprecatingly.
Most of the money went below ground, into proper drainage and infrastructure, and into innovations such as eco-friendly heating and a vast underground water storage facility.
There are three charming self-catering chalets on the estate, along with a boardroom and conference venue, a barbecue area and a wonderful, circular infinity pool for guests to enjoy. The family also have a Jeffreys Bay beach house that forms part of the Broughton portfolio.
It’s incredible to think that Broughton, in a previous life, was Bichana Lodge and that it later went through several owners’ hands, none with sufficient vision (and, let it be said, cash) to turn it into the stunning showpiece it has become.
Roy’s far from done and has plenty more plans up his sleeve, so watch this space!
ý Broughton Country Estate is on 082-627-2066 or e-mail: email@example.com
ROOM WITH A VIEW: The arresting view of the Lady Slipper and, inset, the inviting pool area
BUBBLES AND BLISS: Free-standing slipper baths are luxury personified
GRAND ENTRANCE: The imposing staircase leading to the suites above
EVERY COMFORT: The sizeable suites all have exceptional finishes
BIG PLANS: Broughton Country Estate’s owner, Roy Puffett