Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa11th Feb 2019
Your eyes meet, you share a smile, maybe a drink … the relationship blossoms, you take the commitment further and make it legal. The years that follow are a combination of give and take, conversations and sometimes compromises.
As in all relationships, like that of the resident and their body corporate (BC) or homeowners association (HOA), there are transitions where things change and a commitment to ‘playing by the rules’ makes the end goal – happiness for all involved – a little easier and so much sweeter. As is the case with Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa, located on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast.
The Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa takes its name from the original owner, Lord Selborne, the Secretary for the Colonies, who owned the 80-odd hectares of land in the late 19th century. The Selborne homestead, or Manor House as we know it today, was built from the finest materials available and completed in 1954 by Vernon Crookes as the official residence of the company that operated the local Sezela sugar mill. The farm was later sold to dairy farmer Denis Barker, who set about transforming it into South Africa’s very first residential golf estate.
The golf course was opened for play in May 1987, and the estate was launched in the form of a share block company. Old converted railway carriages were used as the first change rooms and halfway house, and the Manor House homestead was turned into a lodge with seven bedrooms. In due course, a new clubhouse was built. In 2001, Selborne transitioned to a sectional title development and a body corporate was registered. Following sectionalisation, a further 45 luxury hotel rooms were added. Some of these rooms were sold off individually as separate sections, adding complications to the structure.
Unfortunately the owners of the hotel/lodge allowed it to fall into a state of disrepair and eventual liquidation.
In 2016 the First Group acquired the hotel/lodge, and spent R20 million transforming it back to its former glory. The four-star Selborne Hotel now features 49 upgraded luxury rooms, a wellness centre, fine dining, and conference and wedding facilities, and operates as a number of sections on its own with an ‘exclusive-use’ area in terms of the management rules.
Says Lesley Robinson, Selborne Estate:
“The challenges appear to be the same as for all bodies corporate and sectional title developments, namely budget constraints to keep levies competitive, and the need to keep up with the times. Being the oldest golf estate in the country, we have had to find our own way, and with age comes updated maintenance planning, which does not always come off the shelf. Security is always an issue, with the fine line of being hospitable and at the same time looking after your assets. We find it beneficial to talk to other estates and the best way to do this on an open forum is to attend the ARC (Association of Residential Communities) meetings.”
One challenge that sets Selborne apart from many other estates is that of its hospitality facilities – especially, as alluded to by Lesley Robinson, from a security aspect. It’s not just a case of issuing residents with access cards or scanning the occasional visitor’s driver’s licence card. This is a minute-by-minute challenge of golfers, day spa visitors, hotel guests, restaurant diners, etc., in addition to residents, all arriving to make use of the varied facilities and wanting (needing) to feel welcomed. Additionally, with the golf course, golf club, tennis courts, communal swimming pools, entertainment centre, beach clubhouse and other common-use areas under their management, Selborne’s BC certainly have their work cut out for them – especially when there are plans afoot to add more family-orientated facilities and getaway options to what has always been a golf-focused development.