Therese Botha launched Icon Villas in 1997 with just a few choice properties; since then she has inspected many thousands more, slowly handpicking her portfolio. Today she is regarded as the best villa rental specialist in the country, with an eye for detail and commitment to guest experience that has set the benchmark for villa holidays in southern Africa. We ask her why, and where to next.
What makes an Icon Villa?
“Over the years I have come to realize that luxury does not lie in the choice of finishes, the breadth of facilities, or the quality of the detailing – these are a given in any Icon Villa. What I really seek is something more intangible: the soul of a place, which must somehow root the visitor in this thrilling continent. It’s a subtle play of elements, such as a generosity of space, decorated with flair and subtlety, and seamless flow between indoor and outdoor to maximise our sublime weather. I like the confident mix of the weathered and the manicured, and rooms that tell a story.”
Why do you think you are so sought after as a villa rental specialist?
“The truth is, I deal essentially in experiences, not properties. I want my guests to experience the best of the country, which is why we have a dedicated concierge service; to cocoon families and friends in a holiday home that is the equal of, or better than, their own. Aside from the stringent selection procedure, every villa is inspected before arrival, and we personally check our guests in to ensure they know we are at their beck and call.”
What do you still want to achieve?
“I am fortunate enough to do something I feel incredibly passionate about. It is my dream to grow the portfolio throughout the continent, and to continue promoting what I believe is the best way to experience any of its countries – spending a week or more relaxing with friends and family in your very own African villa.