One of South Africa’s oldest hotels, built in the 18th century, was recently sold for R42 million.
Formerly known as the Houwhoek Inn, the three-star hotel is located in Bot River, in the heart of the Kogelberg Biosphere Nature Reserve.
New owners, Robert Haarburger and Drew Danford, said: “Houw Hoek fits into the existing portfolio, which includes Arniston Spa Hotel and Arniston Seaside Cottages. We’ve changed the name back to ‘Houw Hoek Hotel’ in line with its original title – it was named Houw Hoek Inn some 30 years ago,” said Haarburger.
The hotel, which was built in 1779, has the distinction of bearing the oldest liquor licence in South Africa and is located on the site of a tollgate established during the era when the Dutch East India company still ruled the Cape.
While the hotel retains most of its original architecture, an upper floor was added in 1860 with numerous additions and renovations subsequently.
“While Houw Hoek Inn has been in continuous operation for longer than any other hotel in South Africa, it remains a modern, three-star facility, with substantial infrastructure, staff and goodwill. I knew that a shrewd investor would have no difficulty recognising the potential of this jewel,” said Greeff Properties, chief executive Mike Greeff.
The hotel comprises 53 rooms, conferencing facilities, an a la carte restaurant and the Hitching Post pub.
It has a squash court, two swimming pools, a tennis court, volleyball court, putt-putt course, three boreholes and a generator.
“Zoned as a resort and with loads of vacant property, there is significant potential to increase the scale and profitability of the business going forward,” said Greeff, adding that Houw Hoek Inn currently hosts more than 100 weddings and conferences a year.
Haarburger says he plans to add rooms and suites as well as a Ginkgo Spa.
“The hotel will not lose any of its historic charm or popular appeal as we plan to retain all the much-loved attractions like the scone tea and the legendary Saturday night dinner dance and Sunday Carvery,” he said.