The historic Houw Hoek Hotel has recently changed hands, in a sale by Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate. New owners, Robert Haarburger and Drew Danford acquired the seven-hectare property for R42 million. “Houw Hoek fits into the existing portfolio which includes Arniston Spa Hotel and Arniston Seaside Cottages,” says Robert Haarburger. “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,” he adds. Houw Hoek Hotel bears the distinction of oldest Liquor License in South Africa, and features in the memory banks of countless Capetonians.
Located on the site of a tollgate established in the Dutch East India era, and first built in 1779, Houw Hoek Hotel has retained much of the original architecture, and the ground floor bears testimony to the grandeur of a previous age. The upper storey was added in 1860. Since then there have been numerous additions and renovations, however the structures are still characterised by old-world grace and charm, and today Houw Hoek Hotel offers guests an elegant combination of history and natural beauty, located as it is in the heart of the Kogelberg (Biosphere) Reserve.
“While Houw Hoek Inn has been in continuous operation for longer than any other hotel in South Africa, it is a thoroughly 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,” says Greeff Properties, CEO Mike Greeff.
The hotel is in excellent condition and currently comprises 53 rooms, conferencing facilities, an a la carte Restaurant and the salubrious ‘Hitching Post’ pub. Other amenities include a squash court, two swimming pools, a tennis court, volleyball court, putt-putt course, three boreholes and a generator with more than adequate spare capacity.
“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,” says 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 though, as we are planning to retain the 3-star status along with all the traditional much-loved existing attractions for which the establishment is best known, such as the scone tea and the legendary Saturday night dinner dance and Sunday Carvery,” adds Robert Haarburger.