Time seems to stand still at Babylonstoren, which dates back to 1692 when the farm was first established to resupply the ships passing the Cape of Good Hope with fresh vegetables and fruit on the long journey between Europe and Asia. Today this historic Cape Dutch farm – which boasts one of the best-preserved farmyards in the Cape – has been meticulously restored and offers a serene and sophisticated farm-stay experience. Central to Babylonstoren is its magnificent fruit and vegetable garden laid out over 3,5 hectares (8 acres), inspired by the Company Gardens of the Cape.
The Farm Hotel is relaxed yet luxurious, with some of the existing farm buildings transformed into sophisticated guest accommodation. Set adjacent to the garden, the hotel is characterised by thick whitewashed walls, elegant gables and inviting fireplaces that emulate an authentic farm-stay experience. A wide range of sophisticated accommodation – from one-bedroom suites to one- and two-bedroom cottages – guarantees a wonderful stay. Bookshelves are filled with a wonderful selection of books, while underfloor heating and a well-stocked personalised pantry make you feel completely at home. The nine one-bedroom Farmhouse suites have access to an outdoor swimming pool and a hot spa area that includes a salt room, sauna and vitality pool as well as a lounge area.
Decor throughout is simply beautiful (no surprise once you realise one of the owners is Karen Roos, former editor of Elle Decor South Africa). Comfort is key, and the interiors take on an altogether contemporary feel when paired with the modern lines of furniture by international design brands such as Kartell, Magis, Philippe Starck and the Bourellec Bros.
The Cape Dutch Manor House dates back to 1777. This exclusive house has five serene en-suite bedrooms – each so individual and utterly gorgeous that is all but impossible to choose a favourite. The interior has been beautifully restored to its former glory but with a definite contemporary touch. Relax in the library-cum-study (where cabinets of curiosities are filled with the owner’s collections and fascinating finds dug up on the farm) or in front of a roaring wood-burning stove in the traditional farm kitchen. Guests have access to the garden at all times, with games set up on the private lawn.
The exquisite Babylonstoren garden – designed by French architect Patrice Taravella – has the charm and tranquillity of cloistered medieval gardens. The fresh produce is used in Babel, the light and airy restaurant that serves up inventive and delicious ‘farm to fork’ fare in an old cowshed enhanced with contemporary glass walls. The conservatory is where you’ll find The Greenhouse, which serves tasty deli-style lunches and teas. Dinners in the Bakery (where the farm’s wheat is stoneground into flour and then transformed into mouthwatering and fragrant baked treats and bread) are served family style – dish up for yourself from wooden boards placed on your table.
Babylonstoren is a living, fresh celebration of Cape Dutch style revisited to deliver a tranquil stay steeped in life’s simple pleasures, all underpinned by contemporary sophistication and sheer luxury.
Things to do
• Explore Babylonstoren’s famous garden during a garden tour, or join in the harvesting, pruning, planting or picking of the many fruits, herbs & vegetables.
• Spa, gym & swimming pool
• Guided wine cellar tours & wine tasting
• Guided farm walks, complimentary mountain bikes & canoeing on the farm dam
• Kids’ paradise: children love exploring the farm, visiting the resident geese & donkeys, & collecting eggs laid by the farm’s chickens
• Farm shop
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