Babylonstoren, South Africa
This historic Cape Dutch working wine farm in the heart of the Cape Winelands (less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town) is a 600 acre wonderland where guests can get involved with the daily workings of the farm - whether it be picking grapes, harvesting honey, collecting eggs from the historic fowl house or baking bread in the bakery! Those up early enough can accompany the duck herder and his 250 ducks out into the vineyards to ‘harvest snails’.
Inside the garden room
An ‘avenue’ of traditional Cape farm cottages and suites house the contemporary guest accommodation, all with views of the surrounding mountains. They echo the style of Cape Dutch farm buildings of the 17th and 18th century...outer walls are whitewashed and decorated with ornate gables and thatched roofs. Interiors are pleasantly cool in summer (due to the thick walls) and are heated by open hearths in winter. There are six One Bedroom Suites, as well as three One Bedroom Cottages and four Two Bedroom Cottages.
The original Farmhouse has also been transformed into a separate boutique hotel comprising nine Farmhouse Suites. The Farmhouse combines authentic architecture with a modern botanical-themed design with four poster beds, dusted moss walls and European stoves in each room. A green communal library known as The Butterfly Room contains a rare collection of butterflies bequeathed to the farm. The loft above it has become one of the most sought-after honeymoon suites in the Cape! The Farmhouse also has its own private spa and swimming pool for Farmhouse guests only.
The six Fynbos Cottages, set on the crest of a ridge through the vineyards and past the dam, offer the same Cape Dutch style, but with even more seclusion. They are almost entirely 'white' living spaces with elegant clean lines, Oregon pine floors, pitched ceilings and private outdoor patios with swing nest seats. Light streams in through the glass walls with views over water and mountains while a floor-to-ceiling bookcase offers a chance to engage your thoughts in local history and botany. Guests staying here also have access to a private pool, lounge and bar area.
For larger families, Babylonstoren's new Fynbos Family House is a luxury five-bedroom country residence under the gaze of the Simonsberg and Franschhoek mountains. Each room has its own snug fireplace and en-suite complete with marble floors and elegant freestanding baths, while the spacious lounge and kitchen are delightful communal spaces. The charming courtyard and swimming pool brings the whole house together, the pool fed by a shallow channel, mimicking the streams found throughout the rest of the property.
The fruit and vegetables are harvested year round for use in the two farm-to-fork restaurants. Everything is grown as organically as possible and in a biologically sustainable manner. Babel, the signature restaurant with its renowned 'from the garden to the table' philosophy, is housed in a former cow shed whilst the Greenhouse restaurant is set in a vintage conservatory custom-built for Babylonstoren. The dining concept is 'honest food with little fuss' …hence the emphasis on fresh garden juices, artisanal bread, hand-crafted cheese, homemade herb oils, chutneys and fresh garden salads. Lunch in the Greenhouse is often served picnic-style in wooden crates.
Pick your own salad from the kitchen garden for lunch or forage from the farm shop for your evening fare.
Babylonstoren also makes its own wine and boasts a state-of-the-art winery. There are currently eight wines in the Babylonstoren stable and a 'must' is a visit to the tasting room with its floor-to-ceiling glass walls which offer breathtaking views over the vineyards towards the small rocky peak that gave the farm its name, while indoors, the striking central bar, bedecked in vivid green tiles, mirrors the lush vineyards beyond.
Herbs are picked daily from the garden for use in the Garden Spa. Guests can choose from a wonderful selection of classic treatments, followed by a delicious fresh juice served in the relaxing bamboo garden. The quintessential spa experience is the Private Hammam Water Ritual in the marble hammam. With Franschhoek and Stellenbosch close by, this is the perfect base for exploring the Winelands.
Being a working farm, there are offers lots of opportunities to get involved each day, from the farm tours, harvesting with the farmers, daily garden tours and cellar/wine tasting. You can explore the walking (or running) tracks or relax with a picnic or sundowners at the dam. Chickens, geese and turkeys also wander around the farm whilst the donkey family enjoy being fed carrots picked from the garden! Join the baker at 11am to learn how to bake fresh bread Babylonstoren-style! Children can run free and there are bicycles to cycle around the farm. The walk up Babylonstoren koppie (all 41 metres of it) is perfect for hikers, old and young. You can also go canoeing on the farm dam.
Where is Babylonstoren?
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