Donation helps St Luke’s

The handing over of the cheque.

The Cellars-Hohenort hotel in Constantia handed over a cheque of R15 202.00 to St Luke’s Combined Hospices on Friday November 29.

The cheque went towards St Luke’s Combined Hospice’s annual Tree of Lights project.

At the event, they string lights around the great pine at the hospice grounds in Kenilworth to remember and celebrate the memories of people who have passed on. The event took place this past Sunday, December 1.

The cheque came from money raised by the hotel from their garden party and open garden events in October and November.

Adre Nel, marketing manager at The Cellars-Hohenort, said it was part of the hotel’s vision to become more involved with St Luke’s again.

Former owner of the hotel, Liz McGrath passed away in January 2015. Ms McGrath was very passionate about St Luke’s and would often host open gardens, the proceeds raised would go towards St Luke’s. Even today, St Luke’s is the beneficiary of the Liz McGrath Foundation.

After Ms McGrath’s passing, Ms Nel said, the hotel had not been as involved with St Luke’s.

Ms McGrath’s children, who currently own the hotel, expressed a desire to let their mother’s legacy to live on.

Ms McGrath died of cancer, like many of the patients who benefit from St Luke’s.

Ms McGrath was one of few women in the world to own three hotels. The hotels that she owned are The Plettenberg in Plettenberg Bay, The Marine in Hermanus and The Cellars-Hohenort in Constantia.

The Plettenberg was born in 1988 after the death of Ms McGrath’s husband Gerald McGrath, who had had a heart

Ms McGrath found that she had to console herself by doing something special with her life after his passing, and in memory of the many years of holidaying together overseas in the best hotels, she decided to turn the old Lookout Hotel, which they owned, into an exclusive small country house hotel.

The hotel went through extensive alterations and refurbishments. Two and a half years later, The Plettenberg was invited to become a member of the Relais & Chateaux.

Relais & Châteaux is an association of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. The group currently has about 500 members in 60 countries on five continents. Predominantly represented in Europe, the association is growing in North America, Asia and Africa.

Four years later, prompted by a newspaper advert for the sale of a nine-room guest house in Constantia, Ms McGrath bought this property.

A year later, The Hohenort Manor House right next to the property came on the market, and Ms McGrath put the two properties together, creating The Cellars-Hohenort.

During a visit to Hermanus during the whale season, she saw The Marine Hotel. Her love for old buildings and the joy of restoring them, got the better of her and The Marine became her next project.

Decor, food and gardening were Ms McGrath’s passions. In 2008, she received The Woman of the Year Award, in Washington during the annual Relais & Chateaux Congress. This was followed in 2010 by the Relais & Chateaux Garden Trophy, an award for The Cellars-Hohenort’s nine acres of beautiful gardens.

Ms McGrath was instrumental in bringing the annual Relais & Chateaux Congress to South Africa in 1996, and again in November 2010, where The
Cellars-Hohenort hosted a gourmet dinner, hosting many of the world’s best chefs.

Ms McGrath left a mark in the hospitality industry, especially as a female hotel owner.

Ronita Mahilall, chief executive officer of the St Luke’s Combined
Hospices, said they were extremely grateful for the cheque and that it would go a long way. Ms Mahilall said even though she had not met Ms McGrath, she was sure that she was a phenomenal

St Luke’s Combined Hospices provides specialised end of life medical and nursing care, known as palliative care, to people with life-limiting illnesses across Cape Town.