SHANGRI-LA | Millionaire’s Bend, Vaal River.
Family-owned Shangri La is aptly named, insofar as it really is a South African Garden of Eden. Situated on the old Millionaire’s Bend, on the precipice of the Vaal River, this estate calls for tennis whites and gin-and-tonics on the lawn; the novel that invariably comes to mind is Brideshead Revisted. Try to envision fifteen acres of rolling green lawns, lush, flora-plumed water-lands, and a wooden rowing boat suspended among water-lilies; a thatched-roof, a white-washed, generously proportioned house, and scent-rich roses in profusion. The unbelievable garden has evolved more or less organically since its inception in 1932, and has never been available to the public; but, as of this year, it will open its gates for exclusive bespoke events, such as picnics orchestrated by Michel Morand, the former owner of Auberge Michel. It will be available for rental for the months of summer, and it’s the perfect location for a lazy, boozy celebration in a stunning environment.
The stately pool-house is equipped with beautiful furnishings and an enormous banquet table, which makes it ideal for long luncheons or dinner parties; the main house sleeps eight, and, while the house retains the unpretentious, well-loved feel of a family home, all the rooms have been masterfully decorated by Ronnie Wilkins. The property features an old-style pump house, and you can take your guests on sunset cruises down the river onboard a chugging antique cruiser. Play croquet in the shade, cool down in the swimming pool, or tour the property on foot: keep an eye out for the resident fish eagle, a family of owls, otters, and over two hundred species of birds that frolic in the foliage; it is only a few steps from the front door to the willow-shaded riverbank. The specific appeal of Shangri-La is that to stay here is to travel back in time, to the helcion days of simple luxury and restorative pleasure; if you’re dreaming of a garden party, get in touch. Soon to appear on perfecthideaways.co.za