Babylonstoren, South Africa

Babylonstoren, South Africa

its stunning mountain backdrop, beachside location,
inventive cafés, incredible restaurants, boutique shops and markets
galore, you could very well visit Cape Town and never leave the city.
But tear yourself away from the thrill of South Africa‘s chicest skyline
for a couple of nights and a charming and equally satisfying
retreat awaits in the form of Babylonstoren.

One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in South Africa, Babylonstoren
dates back to 1692 and sits about 45 minutes outside of the city in
the spectacular Cape Winelands. On approach, the grimier outskirts
of the city turn to motorway as the towering Franschhoek mountains
beckon in the distance. Before long, the roadsides blend into
farmlands and luscious rows of grape-filled vines are visible as
far as the eye can see. It is here, nestled down a dirt track
amidst of opulent organic fruit and vegetable gardens, that you
will find Babylonstoren. And it’s these very gardens – spanning
eight luscious acres – which attract the bulk of visitors each
year, be it to wander the curving paths with juicy oranges drooping
overhead, explore the prickly pear maze or greet the free-range
chickens roaming through the grounds.

With its focus on wellbeing, delicious food and
fresh produce, it’s easy to while away the hours between the
restaurant, state-of-the-art winery and spa. And while the buzz of
Cape Town’s city life doesn’t stop drawing you back, you’ll
appreciate some blissful respite away from the metropolis.


It’ll be no surprise that owner of Babylonstoren is the former
editor of a South African interior design magazine when you step
foot in the new farmhouse accommodation. Up a swirling spiral
staircase the Queen Bee loft suite is the perfect combination of
rustic, modern and chic. There’s a sizeable ceramic-tiled wood
burner in the centre of the room, crisp white linen adorning a
four-poster bed and wicker hanging chair to boot. Between the
walk-in wardrobes is the entrance to the bathroom: home to a
classic roll-top bath, white-tiled walls and chunky farmhouse sink.
Although all rooms at Babylonstoren are subtly different, the feel
of homely comfort with modern finishes resides throughout.

What’s for breakfast?

Breakfast is a work of art. A
central table is adorned with a feast of home-grown fruit: halved
peaches to giant plates of grapes, sliced oranges, luminous-green
kiwis and cerise watermelon chunks. Accompanying it are a range of
organic yoghurts, honey and glass jugs of every type of milk you
can think of. And that’s before you’ve even looked at the cooked
breakfast menu.

How about lunch and dinner?

The Greenhouse restaurant is a favourite for lunch, tucked away
in the middle of the gardens and serving ‘honest food with no
fuss’, from warm freshly baked olive bread to cheese, chutney and
cake. Dinner is served at the award-winning Babel restaurant – once
a cattle shed and now an inventive contemporary restaurant with
white-washed brick walls, glass sides and an open kitchen. The menu
is seasonal, but be sure to try the famous red, green or yellow
salads all year around.

Is there a bar?

Being in the heart of the Winelands, you’re never short of
fantastic places to drink at Babylonstoren. Try the elegant new
winery: a beautifully light room with wooden floors and glass walls
where you can taste a range of Babylonstoren’s own wines. Then
there’s the Butterfly Room: the bar-cum-lounge in the Farmhouse
which is a charming place to spend the evening tucked up by the
fireplace with a new book plucked from the towering library shelve,
complete with a glass of chilled wine.


The Farmhouse has its own private spa with heated pool, salt
room, sauna and steam room, while there’s another spa on site with
its own private sunbathing area. Near the reception you’ll find a
selection of mountain bikes – grab one and go exploring.

Things you should know

There’s a lot more to the Cape Winelands than just Babylonstoren
(although it is perfect enough to never leave). Nearby are the
quaint towns of Stellenbosch and Paarl, as well as a range of other
award-winning wine farms, so do explore the region while you’re

Within a short walk you can find…

A beautiful dam where you can take a canoe out on the water, go
for a picnic, get stuck into a book or enjoy an evening drink. To
make the most of this wonderful spot, sit and watch the light
bounce off the water as the sun cascades behind the mountains
below. Unbelievably romantic.

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The Ultimate South African Itinerary