For over 20 years, the Castle Kyalami has been a Midrand landmark. Located atop the highest point in the region, with vistas that stretch for miles, the castle is now home to the Church of Scientology. But once upon a time, it was the personal palace of a Greek architect and his extended family.
Constructed in 1992, in Arthurian style, it has twelve crenellated turrets, Gothic arched windows, more than a dozen outdoor terraces and plenty of luxe details like a grand porte-cochère, Carrara marble-filled entrance, classic Greek fountain, wrought-iron chandeliers, coffered ceilings and beautifully crafted wood mouldings.
The castle was originally configured with three self-contained apartments. One bedroom—for the owner’s son—had a spiral staircase connecting it directly to the kitchen, because as the architect reportedly explained, “Boys get hungry at night.”
In those days, the grounds also included a 22-horse stable, garage and a yacht-building workshop (quite striking, given its landlocked location) where the architect indeed built a yacht and sailed away to Spain.
In 2001, the property was sold and converted into a luxury hotel. The stables, garage and workshop areas became a convention centre. A sunken lounge was levelled and turned into the hotel’s restaurant. And a wine cellar was created.
Today, the Castle Kyalami, which is nationally registered, is a spiritual retreat for Scientologists and includes an expansive state-of-the-art auditorium, a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating for more than 200, a café, a swimming pool and a braai-equipped gazebo. In one turret there’s an observation tower where visitors can take in hilltop views that extend for miles.
It stands as a home for the community as well as a hub of action for all who share the goal of bettering the lives of individuals and strengthening communities across this region, this nation and all of Africa.