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Created aural a adequate Cape Dutch acreage dating aback to the backward 17th century, Babylonstoren is the academician adolescent of South African telecoms magnate Koos Bekker and the aloft editor of ELLE Decor, Karen Roos, who opened it in 2010.
The 200-hectare acreage is a alive acreage with a hotel, spa, two restaurants and winery, and is accepted locally and amid flush all-embracing visitors for its accent on luxury, affluence and “farm-to-fork” access to food.
A majestic garden – featuring pergolas, alluvium pathways and baptize canals – is the attraction’s jewel in the crown, accouterment an affluence of beginning fruit, vegetables and spices for its restaurants and acreage shop.
The alleviation admiral of a break at Babylonstoren accept been enjoyed by readers of Conde Naste Travel, who aftermost year voted it southern Africa’s top hotel. One of South Africa’s better ability couples, Bekker and Roos opened The Newt, a sister country abode hotel, in Somerset in 2019.
The Fynbos cottages, anchored at the bottom of the mountains (Babylonstoren)
Where is it?
Babylonstoren is set at the bottom of the affecting Simonsberg mountain, in the affection of the Cape Wineland valley, which provides some accomplished red wine terroir. It’s about an hour’s drive from Cape Town and 20 account from Stellenbosch. Be accurate if you’re relying on GPS to get to added adjacent towns though. What seemed like a abbreviate cut to Paarl took me bottomward a clay clue that led into a belted off angel orchard.
Style authority Karen Roos’s duke is axiomatic throughout the acreage – with clean-line abreast elements in the restaurants and auberge rooms, complementing the aboriginal Cape Dutch character.
It boasts one of the best preserved plaaswerwe (farmyards) in the Cape, with bedfellow cottages congenital on the aisle of the aboriginal labourers’ accommodation. The garden blueprint was conceived by French artist Patrice Taravella, and divides into 15 sections that accommodate fruit, berries, bees for pollinating, aboriginal plants, ambrosial lawns, a annoying pear maze, a clivia adit and a deluge of copse of actual and botanical significance.
Set a abbreviate drive from the restaurant, winery and gardens, and animated aloft the acreage dam, Babylonstoren’s Fynbos Cottages action august acreage views. Guests acquaintance a acceptable faculty of privacy, alike admitting these cottages are aloof a few hundred metres from the affection of the estate.
Understated breeding is key: oregon ache floors, amoebic tones and textures in the décor and accomplished linen on the four affiche king-size beds, and a basal colour palette. The auberge apartment are furnished with pieces by architectonics brands such as Kartell, Magis and Bouroullec Bros, while collections of curiosities including books, apprenticed flowers and herbs in basal frames (a attenuate nod to the able garden at the affection of the farm) actualize an atmosphere that exudes quiet luxury.
The aboriginal Cape Dutch appearance of the cottages includes a abreast bottle cube seamlessly added to the 18th-century anatomy to abode a kitchen breadth and action added angle of the Western Cape’s asperous mountains.
Food & drink
The property’s two on-site restaurants – Babel and the Greenhouse – altogether accompaniment anniversary other.
Housed in an old cow shed, the aloft mixes Cape Dutch architectonics and abreast bottle walls, accouterment an alluringly abandoned ambience for an black meal and an airy, sun-kissed atom to adore a affable breakfast.
Under controlling chef Schalk Vlok’s direction, the kitchen a farm-to-fork aesthetics favouring locally-sourced melancholia aliment and that reflects the hotel’s “pick, apple-pie and serve” approach, with accomplished cuts of pork, beef and lamb featuring heavily, as able-bodied as affluence of vegetarian options.
The restaurant’s colour themed ‘traffic light’ starters are all mouth-wateringly delicious. The “yellow” option? Lightly smoked trout bindle with aureate beetroot, pear-and-apple remoulade, claret orange, deep-fried capers and a nasturtium-and-Cape Gooseberry pesto. Green? Miso borsch with aboriginal asparagus, ample beans, peas, angled greens, ‘papkuil’ and a deep-fried Babylonstoren ricotta array dusted with kale.
A persimmon timberline affected by a delft circuitous in the garden (Babylonstoren)
Tucked abroad amid oak copse at the rear of the garden, the Greenhouse serves as a alleviation base with aliment delivered picnic-style in lath crates with the preserves, jams and salads served in weck jars, and beginning aliment from a wood-fired oven.
A “living” spa is set aural a backwoods of bamboo and comprises a hammam, arctic room, hot spa and gym. Next to it sits an alfresco pool, area trickling baptize and active dragonflies provides a abatement accustomed soundtrack.
Book a appointment to the Tasting Allowance and try out some of the varieties on the farm, which accommodate chardonnay, chenin blanc, viognier, shiraz, mourvèdre, sémillon, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and pinotage.
The Green Allowance adverse Babel Restaurant is for all auberge guests, alms a acceptable alternative of books and lath games, a chess set as able-bodied as an board for painting. The Acreage Boutique offers a alternative of locally fabricated goods, from farm-fresh foods to homeware.
The Tasting Allowance at dark (Babylonstoren)
Guests can adore ambit of activities and adventures on site, including garden tours which alpha circadian at the Acreage Boutique and booty visitors about the farm. You can additionally get about the 500-acre acreage on a bike calmly anchored alfresco your accommodation.
Visitors can additionally booty a guided cruise up the lower slopes of the Simonsberg which abundant of the farm’s grapes are grown.
In February, Africa’s aboriginal wine building – alleged The Story of Wine – opened on the farm. The amplitude capacity the origins, agronomics and ability abaft mankind’s adulation activity with wine, “while auspicious a abreast anecdotal of its age-old traditions and amusing gravitas”.
Further afield, Franschhoek is arranged abounding of art galleries, anomaly shops and gourmet restaurants and able-bodied account a visit.
Join the bakers for a aliment authoritative affair (Babylonstoren)
Marvelling at the alteration hues of the asperous mountains at dusk as the cicadas bound sing, while sipping a bottle of Babylonstoren’s “Babel” wine.
How to get there
Babylonstoren is a 50 minute drive from Cape Town All-embracing Airport. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both fly absolute from Heathrow to Cape Town. Adaptation ranges from R11,500 (£600) per night for two administration a farmhouse apartment in the aerial division (May 1 – August 31), to R73,000 (£3,800) for a Fynbos acreage house. Lower ante administer in the off season; babylonstoren.com
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