Luxury hotel group Leeu Collection (www.leeucollection.com) has taken a 10% stake in Alajmo S.p.A (www.alajmo.it), the Italian family business established by brothers Massimiliano (Max) Alajmo, the world’s youngest three-star Michelin chef, and Raffaele (Raf), the company’s Chief Executive and maître des lieux.
The purchase mirrors previous investments made by Analjit (BAS) Singh, the owner of Leeu Collection, all of which have a family focus; companies such as South African Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines and Indian chef Ritu Dalmia’s Riga Foods and Mamagoto.
Alajmo S.p.A. operates four fine-dining restaurants and six café-bistros, including Le Calandre and La Montecchia restaurants in Padua, Caffè Stern in Paris and Grancaffè & Ristorante Quadri in St. Mark’s Square, Venice, as well as a line of food products and a special events business, all overseen by Max from Le Calandre, his vibrant culinary laboratory, which has held three Michelin stars since 2003.
Leeu Collection currently has three properties (Leeu Estates, Leeu House and Le Quartier Français) in Franschhoek, South Africa, with Linthwaite House in the Lake District due to re-open following a year-long refurbishment in June 2018. Two further hotels are under construction in London and Florence.
Said Raf Alajmo, CEO of Alajmo S.p.A., “Having, last year, bought back the shares once owned by Italian investment firm Palladio Finanziaria, my brother and I decided to open our doors to a foreign shareholder. A chance meeting with BAS in Milan has led to him purchasing a share of Alajmo S.p.A., in what we sincerely hope will be the first step towards a strong alliance between our two companies.”
In response, Analjit Singh said, “I am always attracted to invest in family businesses that share a similar vision to mine and, because there are a lot of synergies between Leeu and Alajmo, I feel sure that the results of this partnership will be seen for years to come.”
Notes for editors
LEEU COLLECTION: (in Sanskrit singh means lion, which is leeu in Afrikaans) comprises three five-star boutique properties in South Africa (Leeu Estates, a 17-room country house retreat and boutique winery in the Franschhoek valley; Leeu House, a 12-room hotel in the heart of Franschhoek village; and Le Quartier Français, a 32-room hotel including two independent Villas also located in the Village) and Linthwaite House, a country retreat overlooking Lake Windermere in England’s scenic Lake District (this boutique hotel, situated on 5.6 hectares of landscaped gardens, is now closed for renovation and will re-open in June 2018).
Extending beyond the offering of luxury accommodation, Analjit Singh (or BAS as he is affectionately known) is a partner in Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, which produces award-winning wines in the Swartland wine region some 80km north of Cape Town.
Several restaurants complement the Leeu Collection hotels in Franschhoek. Heritage Square is home to Marigold, Franschhoek’s first Indian restaurant, and, adjacent to Leeu House, stands Tuk Tuk, a craft beer microbrewery in partnership with the award-winning Cape Brewing Company team, which serves bespoke brews and Mexican food.
Everard Read in partnership with Leeu Collection is a considered space in Franschhoek showing modern and contemporary artworks by Southern African artists. The Gallery includes a sculpture garden, interspersed with herbs and vegetables and is located adjacent to Le Quartier Français.
ALAJMO S.p.A. is an Italian restaurant group owned by brothers Massimiliano (Max) and Raffaele (Raf) Alajmo. The group’s flagship restaurant, Le Calandre, is located just outside the town of Padua and was originally opened by the Max and Raf’s parents in 1981. The restaurant has been honored with three Michelin stars since 2003 and has appeared on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants since 2006.
Il Calandrino, a casual bistro and pastry shop, is located next door, while In.gredienti, a gourmet food shop with dine-in tables, is located across the street.
The family also operates La Montecchia (* Michelin) and abc Montecchia, located inside an elegant golf club near the Euganean Hills, near Padua.
In 2010, the culinary collection expanded to Venice with the takeover of Quadri, home to Ristorante Quadri (* Michelin), Quadrino and Caffè Quadri, a historic coffeehouse in St. Mark’s Square. Also in Venice, the Alajmo brothers opened AMO, a café/restaurant located inside the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi building.
In 2014, the Alajmo brothers opened Caffè Stern. Located in the heart of Paris in a former letterpress shop, Caffè Stern is a French national historic monument that has been transformed into a stylish Italian restaurant.
In order to support growing and diversified internal needs, in early 2018, the Alajmo group opened MammaRita lab, a large production facility and new home to their corporate offices. The lab also acts as space for research and development.
Two more properties are due to open by the end of the year, a restaurant in Marrakesh and a new concept in Milan. The Milan opening will be managed by a new company.