With its famous golf course, 145-room five-star hotel and spa, and 237 residential stands set on 113 hectares of natural fynbos, Arabella Country Estate has come into its own – and it’s now begun to attract younger families seeking an exceptional, safe, country lifestyle that’s nevertheless close enough to all the attractions of the big city.
What do you look for in a top-class, well-aged red wine? Style, certainly; body and taste, definitely; but also the subtle, understated excellence that comes to great wines only when they begin to mature; an excellence that reflects an impeccable track record.
Arabella drew rapturous reviews from the moment it opened to the public in the late 1990s. The 18-hole course – designed by the prolific Peter Matkovich – is a regular feature in golf’s top ten, and the hotel and spa have brought numerous World Tourism Awards home to the Hermanus area (Africa’s Leading Spa Resort 2012, Africa’s Leading Luxury Hotel 2010, Africa’s Leading Family Resort 2008, etc.).
But, for investors, the awards and accolades paint only part of the portrait of an estate that’s built an impeccable record of creating value for its home owners – both in financial terms and in terms of its unique and enviable lifestyle.
If you want to understand Arabella’s success, you probably only need to understand the approach Mr Matkovich took in designing its golf course:
Arabella is all about the environment – the entire estate celebrates its position in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve through the application of sustainable practices designed to protect and enhance the landscape, wildlife, resources, and indigenous vegetation of this almost indescribably scenic corner of the Western Cape.
The estate ensures sustainable water usage with a water purification plant, numerous established boreholes, a surface water harvesting system, and wastewater recycling and re-use programmes. These all served to insulate the estate against the recent drought that devastated much of the Western Cape.
And Arabella hasn’t left the management of its environment to chance: Arabella Country Estate is the only estate in the country with ISO 14001 certification, which it has held since 2002. This means its policies, processes, and procedures are planned and executed according to an internationally recognised environmental quality management system.
The estate is free of fences – and that’s significant. Because, with only 12% of its 113 hectares set aside for residential erven, there’s plenty of room for nature, and for all of the activities associated with it, like birding and canoeing on the lagoon. Fishing is allowed from the lagoon edge with a permit and in demarcated areas. The environment also provides numerous routes suitable for both mountain biking and trail running for beginner and intermediate athletes alike.
In the same way that it has embraced its role as a custodian of the natural environment, Arabella’s homeowners association has harnessed technology for the good of everyone on the estate. It has installed high-speed fibre-to-the-home for residents who need it (ideal if you want to work remotely), and it has secured the estate’s perimeter with thermal cameras, an infrared beam alarm system, motion detection floodlights, and a speaker system in order to ensure cutting-edge safety – while avoiding the feeling of being trapped behind Fort Knoxlike barricades. (And, by the way, it has trained its security staff in health, safety, firefighting, and first aid – and hospitality, too – to ensure that every legitimate visitor gets a warm Arabella welcome.)
Also, the association became the first in the country to receive a certificate of compliance with the new Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), which means that electronic information collected from home owners, residents, staff, visitors, business associates, suppliers, and others is protected and, where appropriate, responsibly destroyed.
Above all, though, the maturity of the estate becomes apparent in its sense of community – and this comes as much from its responsible management style as from the formal (and informal) social and sporting activities that have sprung up around the Homeowners Association (HOA), the golf club, and the hotel and spa.
As far as management is concerned, the HOA takes a long-term view in its financial planning, and the fact that the association has made provision for adequate capital reserves to serve the estate’s infrastructure needs (as well as others) well into the future should assure potential buyers of the sustainability of their investment
Community social activities include home owners’ gatherings, as well as informal clubs for lovers of bridge, cooking, reading, yoga, mountain biking and so on.
POSITION, POSITION, POSITION
As Arabella has matured, it has begun to attract younger buyers, which is partly a function of the attractions of the estate itself (beautiful, tranquil, secure), but no doubt also has much to do with its physical position: eight kilometres from Kleinmond, about 30 kilometres from Hermanus, and just 87 kilometres from Cape Town International Airport.
The greater Hermanus area is certainly rich in culture and attractions. It’s now home to the prestigious, newly opened Curro Hermanus parallel medium private school (which offers classes from nursery school to grade 12, and provides a transport service for children living on the estate), and it boasts a new, 30,000-square-metre shopping precinct – the Whale Coast Mall – as well as numerous other options for retail therapy. And wine tasting. And whale watching, and sport, and, and, and …
Also, being the hub of the Whale Route, its growing list of attractions, markets, events and festivals ensures that no one who lives here will ever be bored.
Close enough to everything that any busy executive might need, but secure enough, and far enough away from the crowds to ensure an exceptional lifestyle for the entire family, Arabella Country Estate has proven itself (over a period of more than 20 years) as one of South Africa’s most desirable residential investment opportunities.