Mumbai: For Analjit Singh aka BAS, the founding chairman of Max India Ltd., having conquered ‘The Business of Life’, it would seem only logical that he would set out to pursue ‘The Pleasures of Life’ in founding the Leeu Collection.
Established in 1985, Max India Ltd. re-invented itself in 2000, focusing their attention on the individual, in what they call ‘The Business of Life’ as represented by various entities like Max Life (life insurance), Max Healthcare, Max Bupa (health insurance) and Antara (senior living).
Analjit’s love affair with South Africa started when he first visited the country for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. He visited Cape Town and ventured into the Cape Winelands, where he felt “a deep sense of belonging, of energy, and of place” in the valley of Franschhoek.
He began his search for a property and knew he had found one the minute he set foot on a 40-hectare farm, Klein Dassenberg, on the slopes of the Dassenberg. He went on to purchase the two adjoining farms, Dieu Donné and Von Ortloff, to create Leeu Estates.
In 2013, a stake was acquired in Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, founded by award-winning winemakers Chris and Andrea Mullineux, the natural next step to completing his luxury hospitality offering. The Leeu Collection currently comprises Leeu Estates, Leeu House, Le Quartier Français, Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, Heritage Square with its authentic Indian restaurant, Marigold, and TukTuk Microbrewery in South Africa followed by Leeu Villa Querce, a luxury hotel and gardens in Florence, Italy (opening 2021), and a luxury hotel in the West End of London, UK (opening 2020).
The first addition outside of South Africa is Linthwaite House in the UK, reopening in Spring 2018, after an extensive refurbishment. The Afrikaans word Leeu (meaning Lion) is the Sanskrit derivation of Singh and the perfect link between the valley and the man. Leeu Collection comprises three five-star boutique properties in South Africa – Leeu Estates, a 17-room country house retreat and boutique winery in the Franschhoek valley; Leeu House, a 12-room hotel in the heart of the Franschhoek town, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, and Le Quartier Français, a romantic 21-room hotel and three-bedroom villa also located in the town – and Linthwaite House, a country retreat overlooking Lake Windermere in England’s scenic Lake District.
Extending beyond the offering of luxury accommodation, Analjit is a Partner in Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, which produces wines in the Swartland wine region, some 80 km north of Cape Town. Heritage Square is home to Marigold, Franschhoek’s first Indian restaurant, and adjacent to Leeu House stands Tuk Tuk, a craft beer microbrewery opened in partnership with the award-winning Cape Brewing Company team.
Medha Sampat, Owner, Knack Marketing, representative of Leeu Collection in India, says, “The Indian travellers absolutely love our interactive wine tasting experience, our signature relaxing treatments at the Leeu Spa, our fine dine gourmet selection and interactive involvement with our famous art collection along with the ‘experience it to believe it’ Leeu hospitality. We have been a new entrant in the Indian market and our aim is to increase the number of Indian travellers to the Leeu Collection.”
Franschhoek, with a Mediterranean climate, can be visited all year round. The Franschhoek valley, with its Cape Dutch heritage and strong French influence, is renowned as one of the world’s finest food and wine destinations. The area and its surroundings offer breath-taking landscapes and various indulgence options bundled with warm hospitality making it a top choice for the Indian traveller.
“Our product portfolio is diverse and geared to cater to the Indian clientele, including families, honeymooners and small MICE groups. With a good assortment of products and with our committed presence in India via our representative Knack Marketing, we hope to see a steady growth in business from India,” says Analjit Singh. On their expansion plans, he explains, “We are still looking for the perfect property in Cape Town, and focusing on the reopening of Linthwaite House. Our core focus will be South Africa, Italy and the United Kingdom for the foreseeable feature.” For more details, log on to: www.leeucollection.com