Broughton is Bay’s new luxe estate
Country escape a soul restorer, writes Louise Liebenberg
Roy Puffett and his wife Anne first fell in love with the large property that is now Broughton Country Estate on the lush hilltop overlooking Colleen Glen 45 years ago.
The highly successful yet unassuming Port Elizabeth businessman, founder of locomotive and railway operator Sheltam, never forgot the patch of land which, to this day, boasts the most unexpectedly arresting and panoramic views.
“Stu Davidson, the pilot, lives down the road and has flown over the area countless times,” Roy shared during our Weekend Post media visit last weekend. “He was up here the other day and remarked, ‘Roy, I never knew these views existed’.”
Visitors to Broughton, which has been operating quietly since last winter, have responded in much the same way.
We certainly did: in our vast suite upstairs in the manor house, the building that forms the five-star nucleus of the 19-hectare estate, stacking windows seamlessly slid open to reveal a completely uninterrupted view to the north-west.
Even though we were directly overlooking Colleen Glen, a green sea lay in front of us, no houses or buildings in sight. We could see all the way to Lady Slipper – a sight so unanticipated that we stood transfixed as the mountain began to change colour in the dying light of day.
Nip around the side of the house, to where Roy has his favourite chair, and you’ll spot first Van Stadens and then Jeffreys Bay.
Not that the view from the south deck where we enjoyed breakfast the following morning is to be sneezed at: this vantage point delivers a pleasing glimpse of Seaview and, if you’re lucky, the estate’s resident wildlife.
Though the varied panoramas are a special part of the Broughton experience, it is the fact you have a sense of such immense tranquility here, scarcely 20 minutes from the city centre, that is perhaps the most surprising.
We felt at times as if we were on an exotic private island – a delicious delusion fuelled by the magnificent suite we found ourselves in.
I do not use the word magnificent lightly but this sophisticated (not to mention huge, at 50 square metres) pad boasted the best of everything – from custom-made, solid-wood blonde furniture and big-screen TV to monogrammed bedding and intelligent temperature control.
In the en suite bathroom, also the size of a small house, awaited the pleasures of under-floor heating, bespoke amenities, double shower and quite possibly the biggest bath I’ve had the privilege of soaping myself in.
Did I mention a Nespresso machine and well-stocked bar fridge in every suite? The list continues.
There are five such beautifully appointed and contemporary suites, each with a decidedly understated style. And, though it is obvious no expense has been spared, flash is not what you’ll find here.
Roy’s wife and his one daughter, Shelley, a paramedic, did all the decor themselves – and they did such a fine job of it that you could be fooled into thinking they simply sat back and brought in the decorators.
Not so, says Roy, though he did share that all the furniture in the bedrooms and public areas of the manor house was custom-made by a Knysna firm.
One exception is in the entrance hall with its grand, curved wooden staircase.
“We couldn’t find the right look and so we brought these pieces from our house in Nairobi, where we lived for five years,” Roy says. The Puffetts had no prior experience in the hospitality industry but have done a great deal of travelling around the globe – experiences that guided them when setting up their own five-star establishment which will soon also encompass a fully-fledged wedding venue.
At the risk of sounding vulgar, it is clear Roy has spent many millions on building up Broughton – a property that is so much more than just a fancy manor house and restaurant – though he would not be drawn on the sum.
“I’m embarrassed to tell people,” he says, almost self-deprecatingly.
Most of the money went below ground, into proper drainage and infrastructure, and into innovations such as eco-friendly heating and a vast underground water storage facility.
There are three charming self-catering chalets on the estate, along with a boardroom and conference venue, a barbecue area and a wonderful, circular infinity pool for guests to enjoy.
The family also have a Jeffreys Bay beach house that forms part of the Broughton portfolio.
It’s incredible to think that Broughton, in a previous life, was Bichana Lodge and that it later went through several owners’ hands, none with sufficient vision (and, let it be said, cash) to turn it into the stunning showpiece it has become.
Roy’s far from done and has plenty more plans up his sleeve, so watch this space!
- Broughton Country Estate is on 082-627-2066 or e-mail:
Fine dining experience without the stuffiness
The restaurant at Broughton happened almost by accident – but what a fortuitous accident it was.
The Puffetts, owners of the country estate, had agreed to host the wedding of one of their daughter’s friends last winter and what is now the restaurant flowed from those plans.
The couple got married in a charming spot on the estate called the Outdoor Cathedral; for the reception afterwards guests sat under a canopy in the twinkly courtyard adjoining the manor house.
What is now the restaurant, Roy says, is where the dancing took place. But, seeing what a promising space it was, he and the staff set about transforming it into a fine dining restaurant that has grown popular with locals from Colleen Glen and, increasingly, the rest of the Bay.
The final touch was Roy’s pride – a walk-in “cellar” where diners have the option of choosing their own wine.
Chef Steven Leverington’s Broughton journey also began rather unconventionally last June, when he went to view the venue following a chance encounter with a neighbour.
“I met Roy and I haven’t left since,” Steven says, adding he had a hand in every aspect of the restaurant’s set-up.
“Being the head chef at Broughton has really opened my eyes to what I am capable of. Our feedback has been amazing and it’s such a confidence boost.”
Chef Steven’s Recipe| Cajun butter prawns with avocado salsa and sweet chilli yoghurt
Ingredients for the prawns
350g or six Mozambican prawns
20ml Cajun spice
10ml extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of half a lemon
Freshly-ground black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped
Ingredients for the salsa
1 ripe avocado, finely diced
50g red onion, finely diced
50g fresh tomato, finely diced
10ml extra-virgin olive oil
5ml lemon juice and zest
Fresh parsley, chopped
Ingredients for the dressing
60ml plain yoghurt
25ml Thai sweet chili sauce
Micro-greens and wild rocket to garnish
Peel and de-vein the prawns, leaving the tail piece on.
Saute prawns in the butter, olive oil, Cajun spice, lemon, parsley and seasoning until tender; the butter must be a dark, nutty colour.
For the salsa, combine ingredients and check seasoning. The salsa should have a nice zesty zing.
For the dressing, blend yoghurt and sweet chili sauce until smooth.
To serve, arrange salsa down centre of plate.
Dot the dressing around the salsa, then top with prawns.
Drizzle plate with the remaining Cajun butter.
Garnish with micro-greens and wild rocket.
Win| Lazy lunch or dinner for Mum
In celebration of Mother’s Day one lucky mum or gran will win a meal for two at Broughton Country Estate.
Valued at R500, the prize may be used for lunch or dinner. It is not transferrable or exchangeable for cash and must be taken up before September 30, subject to prior booking and availability.
To enter, SMS the word BROUGHTON to 41893. The competition closes at noon on Monday.
The winner will be electronically drawn and notified before day end on Monday. SMSes cost R1.50 each, errors and omissions are billed, and free SMSes don’t count. Other Ts and Cs may also apply.
Tiso Blackstar and Broughton employees and their families may not enter.
- Broughton is also giving away a weekend worth R4800 to one lucky mum tomorrow. All mums attending a Mother’s Day lunch at the estate will go into a draw for the prize, which includes accommodation and breakfast for two from Friday night to Sunday morning, subject to availability.
All other costs will be for the winner’s own account and the prize must be taken before September 30.