After a devastating fire in 2017, Andre Morgenthal visits Lanzerac to discover an Ubuntu story of networking and support from within our tourism community.
One of the most historic and precious assets of the Stellenbosch Winelands is being regenerated to its erstwhile splendour after the main building was raised. Many of us have fond memories at Lanzerac of spending weekends revelling as students, family celebrations, lazy after work drinks by the fireside in the Taphuis bar or romantic dates on the stoep.
The emotional connection with both locals and foreign guests is deep and the news of the devastating fire was received with shock and often tears. And even more of a surprise to the bridal couple who had cleared the building minutes before the main building was gutted.
A full hotel complement of guests was settled down, carefully evacuated and by Monday morning, Lanzerac was quiet and the staff stood stunned, some of their workspaces completely gone. Then the impossible task to redirect a year’s worth of events and bookings. A dedicated team was put in place to extract guest details, via the internet, Facebook or merely from memory. Everything was lost: office software and hardware, booking records – all infrastructure. Even crockery and cutlery. All this with a wedding scheduled for the next day. Miraculously, this was achieved.
And jobs. No guests to serve at front of house, in the restaurants or the bar. For the next year, only a small team will be required to manage administrational duties and execute the refurbishment. And here aunfolded. With loss there’s opportunity.
Staff have been placed out to hotels, guest houses, restaurants, tasting rooms and the Stellenbosch Wine Routes office. For the next 6 to 8 months until the relaunch later in 2018, you’ll see Lanzerac staff at Majeka House, Oude Werf, Coopmanhuijs, in the kitchens of Bertus Basson, George Jardine, De Warenmarkt and many more.
A comprehensive regeneration of the destination was launched, “the Lanzerac Facelift”, to ensure that this Stellenbosch landmark offers not only a reflection on its celebrated past but once again also a glimpse into its bright future!