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January 24, 2023

Babylonstoren Hotel: The Best of Cape Winelands Luxury

Expect burnt terra cotta walls, cozy minimalism and grand duplexes that celebrate the very best of rural living.

By Luke Abrahams

First things first: Babylonstoren is one stunner of a farm stay, and this is largely thanks to one of its owners, former magazine editor Karen Roos. With impeccable precision and attention to detail, her South African country retreat offers up the very best of Cape Winelands luxury on a grand and very glossy scale.

There are over 500 acres of whimsical magic here in the form of a plush spa, mammoth kitchen garden with over 300 varieties of edible plants, healing garden, dam-style swimming pool, and a farm shop complete with butcher, bakery, coffee shop and dairy hall. Out on the prairie, ducks waddle and a gated herd of homestead usual suspects — cute donkey included — delight cowboys and girls.

Style wise, it’s a touch of rural Cape Dutch meets a bit of Scandi chic, with a touch of Alamo-esque farmhouse glamour in between. Expect burnt terra cotta walls, spaces that scream cozy minimalism (it’s a thing here) and grand duplexes that celebrate the very best of rural living: genuinely fresh food, bowls of grapes and olives, and tables topped off with rustic loaves and great big lemons.

[See also: The Most Anticipated Hotel Openings of 2023]

Stay

Fynbos Cottages follow the same style as Babylonstoren’s Garden Cottages / ©Dook Photography

Homey and snug, the new Fynbos Cottages follow the same style as Babylonstoren’s Garden Cottages: a chic yet cozy open-plan setup with enormous klompie (a traditional fireplace hewn from Dutch brick).

Beds are vast, as are the bathrooms, and there are cute shuttered windows that look out onto the patios with next-level views of the vineyards and craggy peaks that surround the estate.

[See also: The Best Wine Hotels in The World]

Kitchens are filled with everything you’ll need to rustle up your own farm-to-table banquet and come stocked with complimentary bowls of seasonal fruits, olive oil, rooibos tea and a bottle of wine produced right on the estate, of course.

Elsewhere, the cavernous lounge is stocked with a curated collection of coffee-table books, South African knickknacks and rows of wellies. Out front, views of the neighboring Simonsberg mountain stun from all sides — plus you’ve got easy access to the hot tub for romantic sunset cocktails.

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Dine

The headline restaurant here is Babel. Just about everything on the plate comes directly from the Babylonstoren garden. Walls are festooned with art and tables draped in white linens.

The salads are the major highlight, so much so that the team has managed to conjure up three seasonal ‘red,’ ‘green’ and ‘yellow’ Maranda Engelbrecht (Babel’s founder) plates that seriously impress the taste buds.

[See also: The Best Fine Dining Restaurants in South Africa]

Succulent meat, much of it served on the bone, is another highlight here, and thanks to the size of the portions, will keep you full until dawn.

Explore

A view of the farm from the skies above Babylonstoren / ©Dook Photography

Morning guided walks with horticulturists provide a deep dive into all the garden wonders Babylonstoren offers, from its vegetables to healing herbs, fruit trees and more. Tours of the wine cellar serve up an insight into the estate’s famed bottles.

For sightseeing, hit up Jarat Tours for an epic drive around the Cape of Good Hope. You’ll see Chapman’s Peak, Cape Point, Boulders Beach (the penguins!), Simon’s Town and Kalk Bay.

From $850 per night. Contact enquiries@babylonstoren.com, +27 218 633 852, babylonstoren.com

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