Broughton is Bay’s new luxe es­tate

Coun­try es­cape a soul re­storer, writes Louise Lieben­berg

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - TRAVEL -

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: ad­min@broughton­coun­tryestate.com

PHO­TOGRAPHS: SALVELIO MEYER

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

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