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The traditional Cape Dutch farmstead of Babylonstoren is slap bang in the middle of the Cape Winelands, within easy reach of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch and - of course - the world famous vineyards.
The hotel is surrounded by 600 acres of vineyards and orchards full of pears, plums, lemons, oranges, olives and mandarins. As you can imagine, a lot of the food served here is straight off the farm. As to the accommodation, there are plenty of Dutch gables and thatched roofs and the interiors are pleasantly cool in summer thanks to thick walls, and heated by open hearths in winter. There are private suites with glass-fronted kitchens and exquisitely furnished interiors and the historic Manor House itself is available for exclusive hire. The latest addition, a host of Farmhouse Suites, all offer exclusive access to a new swimming pool, vitality pool, sauna, salt room, and an experiential shower and lounge.
A disused kraal or cattle stockade has become the restaurant Babel, serving up dishes with the emphasis on simplicity and the quality of local ingredients. Many of these come straight from the eight acres of gardens with almost every kind of herb and vegetable grown between walkways, private gardens and pergolas of sweet-scented climbing roses. Babel restaurant expanded in late 2015, adding more dining space housed in an old milkery and a charming courtyard - the perfect spot for a summertime lunch.
Guests can enjoy wine-tastings, swimming, a sauna or a decadent tea-time treat. The Tasting Room at Babylonstoren is nestled within the vineyards, and is open for tastings seven days a week. The spa has a range of indulgent body treatments designed for maximum pampering effect.
Babylonstoren is one of the best preserved werfs (farmyards) in the Cape, with a manor house dating from 1777 and elder parts such as a wheat store, cellar and pigeon loft dating back to 1690.
Nick, Original Traveller