Down on the Farm at Babylonstoren…where the Cape Winelands meets French Provence and ϋber-stylish Swedish design

““Babylonstoren has cleverly differentiated itself in two distinct ways for me that will surely secure its position in the luxury market.””

““Babylonstoren has cleverly differentiated itself in two distinct ways for me that will surely secure its position in the luxury market.””

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When we heard that another Cape Dutch estate in the heart of the Winelands had been redeveloped and was to launch as an exclusive hotel, we were intrigued but at the same time also a bit skeptical – having seen this theme become a fairly regular occurrence in recent years. In an area already famous for exclusive wine estates and hotels, and at a time of economic downturn, the challenge for Babylonstoren was surely to create its own niche.

So off our esteemed Head of Travel Mandi Johnston–Aliverti went with her family in tow to spend a night there and check it out.

The fact that two weeks later Mandi is still raving about her stay (and has booked our team Christmas lunch there!) is a pretty clear indication that they managed to far exceed her expectations.

Mandi says:

“Babylonstoren has cleverly differentiated itself in two distinct ways for me that will surely secure its position in the luxury market.”

Firstly the concept as an ϋber-chic, yet exclusively “down to earth” Farm hotel and the whole experience surrounding it, is something really unusual for the area. I didn’t quite know what to expect and whilst keeping the classic Cape Dutch Manor House, the design of the 14 separate farm cottages is actually very different. Hugely spacious the cottages have a minimalist and modern feel to them, crisp white accessories and furnishings complemented with touches of dark wood.  They reminded me of exclusive Swedish décor and layout – mixed with expensive accessories and electronics that makes them very opulent. But the ambiance and feel is of a more understated luxury and not so “in your face”. I can honestly say: no other wine estate in the area looks like this.

Secondly the layout of the estate with its focal point being the 8 acres of designer vegetable gardens is so different and intriguing. Influenced by the company gardens of the 17th century East India Trading company, the farm is literally filled with vegetables and herbs of all shapes and sizes. But this is no ordinary vegetable patch; it looks more like an art gallery meets the gardens of Babylon.

However – very much a working garden it is. All the cottages are positioned around the gardens and equipped with their own baskets, straw hats and wellies, so as guests you are encouraged to roam and pick the seasonal produce that you want prepared for your dinner.

“Babel” the restaurant is also stylish yet informal, surrounded by lots of glass, opening out onto a courtyard and the gardens. At both dinner and lunch the following day we had excellent farm style food with a creative edge. The open plan kitchen is definitely focused on simplicity and we enjoyed joining the chefs in the garden choosing the herbs to accompany our chicken and lamb dishes.

Babylonstoren officially opened on 1st December 2010 with the completion of the spa rooms (in a separate cottage) and a huge round old style swimming pool. Other activities include taking walks through the estate and into the mountains, bird watching and canoeing on the farm dam. Of course the surrounding wine region also offers plenty to do, but for a couple of days of solitude and seclusion my real advice is just to kick back and go with the pace of the farm.

 I definitely recommend Babylonstoren for honeymooners; the separate cottages create a real intimacy and privacy. But it is also a great place for families and kids (mine loved it!) with lots of space and a farmyard full of animals from ducks, chickens and even a new baby donkey.

With prices starting close to R 4,000.00 per cottage in high season, the rate reflects the exclusivity of the location.

We were super impressed with Babylonstoren and if you yourself wish to find out more about this exclusive farm, click here for more information.