The Story of Glenda's Guest Suites

Posted on Fri June 14, 2024.

Born in Virginia and raised in Johannesburg, Glenda's journey has been one of resilience and passion. After exploring the world post-university, she returned to South Africa, working in hospitality and conference management before founding Glenda's Guest Suites in 2005

Located in Beaulieu, Glenda's began with a single rented rooms and has grown into a charming guest houses, offering comfort and a homely atmosphere. Despite challenges, including the pandemic and personal losses, Glenda's dedication and community spirit have ensured the guest house thrives.

Today, Glenda's Guest Suites stands as a testament to hard work and the magic of hospitality, where every guest is treated like family. If you're in Beaulieu, experience the warmth and comfort of Glenda's Guest Suites, where Mama G's magic makes every stay unforgettable.

From Backpacking to Boutique Hospitality: The Story of Glenda Fourie and Glenda’s Guest Suites

When you first meet Glenda Fourie, affectionately known as Mama G, her infectious smile and warm hospitality instantly make you feel at home. Her journey from a trading store in Virginia, Orange Free State, to the bustling guest house owner in Beaulieu, Johannesburg, is a tale of adventure, resilience, and passion. This blog post delves into Glenda’s life story and the evolution of Glenda’s Guest Suites, a charming retreat that has welcomed guests for nearly two decades.

Early Years and Academic Pursuits

Born in Virginia, Glenda’s early years were spent on the Gold Mine compounds where her parents owned a trading store. At the tender age of four, her family relocated to Johannesburg, where she began her education journey at Bryanston Nursery School, followed by Bryanston Primary and Bryanston High School. She graduated from high school in 1978 and proceeded to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to pursue a BA in Psychology and English, followed by an Honours degree in Psychology.

From City Girl to World Wanderer

Upon completing her studies in 1982, Glenda took a gap year to explore the world. With a backpack, some money, and plane tickets, she embarked on a Contiki tour across Europe, followed by solo travels revisiting favourite spots and discovering new ones. Her journey took her from London to the United States, Canada, and finally to a kibbutz in Israel, where she worked in the kitchens. This year of travel was, as she describes, the best year of her life, filled with unforgettable experiences and lifelong friendships.

Professional Endeavours and Personal Milestones

Returning to South Africa, Glenda managed a new branch of Mike’s Kitchen before becoming the Front of House Training Manager, writing the training manual for the franchise. After a series of traumatic events, she transitioned to a role as National Field Manager for a market research company, and later a conference producer. Her entrepreneurial spirit shone when she successfully ran her own conference production business, notably organising the first-ever all-political party conference in 1993.

Glenda’s personal life saw significant changes as well. She married a friend and former boss from Mike’s Kitchen in 1993, only to divorce shortly after. Her career took an exciting turn when she was appointed Conference and Logistics Manager for CODESA, playing a pivotal role in South Africa’s peace process and the historic 1994 elections.

In 1996, Glenda met Neels during an adventure triathlon. They married in 1999, the same year they built their home in Beaulieu and welcomed their first child, Caley. Their second child, Robin, was born in 2001.

The Birth of Glenda’s Guest Suites

The idea for Glenda’s Guest Suites began out of necessity and a touch of serendipity. In 1996, Glenda and Neels purchased a 1-hectare stand in Beaulieu, drawn to the spacious properties. Initially, they built a lapa for weekend visits and gardening. Over the years, this lapa evolved into a cottage for Glenda’s parents, and after their passing, it was converted into guest rooms.

The guest house officially started in 2005 with the conversion of a small room into a rented space for a local chef. Word spread, and soon they were hosting guests from nearby B&Bs, eventually leading to the transformation of their own bedroom into guest accommodation. Each room, from the initial suite to the more elaborate Room 8 cottage, tells a story of creativity, hard work, and community support.

Expanding and Adapting

As demand grew, Glenda and Neels continued to convert and build additional rooms, often making personal sacrifices. The dining room was added following requests from business clients, and Glenda’s culinary background ensured guests enjoyed hearty breakfasts and dinners. Their children’s playroom was converted into a guest room, demonstrating their commitment to the business and their guests.

Challenges and Triumphs

The journey wasn’t without its challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic forced them to relinquish rented cottages, and personal losses, such as the passing of Glenda’s parents, added emotional hurdles. Yet, through resilience and community spirit, Glenda’s Guest Suites continued to thrive.

From Wanderer to Wonder Woman

Today, Glenda’s Guest Suites stands as a testament to Glenda and Neels’ dedication. The guest house offers a cozy, welcoming atmosphere where guests are treated like family. Despite the demands of the hospitality industry, Glenda cherishes the ability to work from home and be a hands-on mom.

Glenda’s story is one of determination, adaptability, and a love for hospitality. Her journey from a psychology student to a beloved guest house owner is inspiring, showing that with passion and perseverance, dreams can indeed become reality. If you ever find yourself in Beaulieu, a stay at Glenda’s Guest Suites promises a blend of comfort, warmth, and a touch of Mama G’s magic.