We’re collecting passport stamps in Africa. Today, we’ve chosen the Cape Winelands in South Africa as our next destination. The Cape Winelands is the culinary capital of South Africa and boasts amazing restaurants, whether award-winning or stylishly simple, and fantastic wine estates. Searching for a place to stay where nature and style meet? Nestled in the Drakenstein Valley between Franschhoek and Paarl, less than an hour from Cape Town, in the heart of the Cape Winelands, you can find an unexpected dream retreat dating back to 1690.
The moment you arrive you’ll realize this is not an ordinary South African wine estate. This is one of a kind. In fact, Babylonstoren is the ideal mix of a luxurious wine estate, fabulous farm hotel, foodies heaven, spa hideaway and boutique beauty. We absolutely love Babylonstoren’s cool concept. But what makes this green oasis in the Cape Winelands so special? The country views, the smells, the huge organic garden, the food, the spa, the unique experience, the stylish accommodations… it’s just perfect! But, it’s the peaceful and magical garden that impresses the most. Home to tortoises, donkeys, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and beautiful birds, Babylonstoren in South Africa is a place full of love, passion and pureness.
Set amid a dramatic landscape of mountains and valleys, the Cape Dutch-style buildings offer 12 luxurious suites and 1 or 2 bedroom cottages. The designer-owner Karen Roos, once editor of Elle Decoration, decorated the white cottages in a style that marries urban sophistication with organic minimalistic elements. Simply stunning! With its almost all-white palette as well as plenty of space and glass, it’s clear that this is a soulful and restful place to stay. We stayed in cottage number five, which boasts a kitchen including high glass walls providing a dreamy view of the South African countryside. Light up a cozy fire, enjoy dinner in the privacy of your room and end your relax and romantic evening with watching a movie. Absolute bliss! Babylonstoren’s cottages are like your own South African retreat in the Cape Winelands. Moreover, we really like Babylonstoren’s little touches in the room; fresh flowers from the garden, homemade hot chocolate, brownies plus sparkling wine to perfect your stay.
One of Babylonstoren’s highlights include the famous Babel Restaurant. Babel Restaurant serves no frills bio-chic meals. Here, you can try new varieties of vegetables from the organic garden. Very inspiring! Babel Restaurant is quite small and bookings for both lunches and dinners are essential. Fancy a simple lunch? Check out the Farm shop, buy some fresh bread and cheeses, pick your own vegetables from the garden (if you can’t choose, ask for help) and enjoy it in the privacy or your cottage. Or visit the Green House, where you can make up your own sandwich and try the freshly made fruit and vegetables juices. But what’s for breakfast? Think of toasted coconut bread with smoked trout, free range scrambled eggs and avocado or muesli, Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit from Babylonstoren’s garden. The delicious homemade muesli is absolutely one of the best we’ve ever eaten!
This fabulous farm hotel in South Africa is also home to the Garden Spa. What would you say to a Private Hammam Water Ritual, Hot Stone Massage, Lavender and Rooibos Body Wrap or Africology Bespoke Facial? Heated Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, a comfortable chill room and delicious healthy cuisine? Mmmmm… We thought so. There’s also an outdoor pool. Do you want to be active? With a 350 hectares playground to explore, you can go cycling, running or walking. Also, check out the gym with garden view, where the modern Technogym fitness equipment keeps you fit.
As the name suggests, the ethereal landscape is inspired by “the mythical garden of Babylon”, as well as its geographic heritage as the halfway point for merchants traveling between Europe and Asia. The Babylonstoren garden offers more than 300 varieties of organically grown plants. Meander through the garden on your own or join the daily garden tour, which we can highly recommend. The extremely passionate gardeners can tell you absolutely everything about each plants. Another must-try is the wine cellar tour. And, of course…the wine itself.
Babylonstoren is the farm we all dream about, fabulous, enchanting and inspiring, full of style and simplicity.