A historic Cape Dutch farm in the Cape Winelands set in exquisitely laid-out gardens a mere hour’s drive away from Cape Town, Babylonstoren is truly a magical experience not to be missed. One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms dating back to 1692, the estate offers guests serenity in beautiful surroundings with a luxury Farm Hotel offering unique guest accommodation, two superb restaurants, a bakery and even a Spa for those seeking to rejuvenate body and soul. In fact Babylonstoren is all about getting back in touch with nature, enjoying beautiful produce from the garden, drinking fine wines and feeding your soul.
Situated between the two famous Winelands towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, Babylonstoren is a must-visit destination while you’re in the Cape. Beautifully designed gardens stretching over 3.5 hectares (8 acres) filled with an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, indigenous plants and fragrant herbs (all edible or of medicinal value) blend together seamlessly with the grandeur of historic Cape Dutch buildings.
There are ponds with waterblommetjies and edible lotus flowing into streams and even a prickly pear maze and decorative bee hives with chickens and ducks roaming freely on the estate. The garden lies at the heart of Babylonstoren and has been expertly designed by the French architect Patrice Taravella who used the old whitewashed Cape Dutch farmyard walls to give the garden its geometric bones. In fact, every aspect of Babylonstoren is carefully led by its garden’s incredible botanical diversity.
The luxury farm hotel has been beautifully designed with tranquil white interiors that blend perfectly with the elegant gables and thick whitewashed walls of the existing Cape Dutch buildings. The interiors are sophisticated yet warm with hearty large fireplaces in all the suites that further add to the authentic, unpretentious farm stay-feel. The hotel boasts six one-bedroomed suites with a further three one-bedroomed and four two-bedroomed cottages, all open-plan and en-suite with four-poster beds, lots of natural light, a contemporary feel with designer touches and bookshelves filled to the brim with skillfully selected books; the cottages also boast a stylish glass cube that has been added to accommodate the kitchen area.
There are nine larger luxurious, one-bedroomed farmhouse suites with en-suite marbled bathrooms, lavish walk-in cupboards and access to a hot spa area (including a sauna, salt room and vitality room) and outdoor swimming pool. Should you wish to book an exclusive house for a larger party the beautifully restored Owners House (dating back to 1777) can be booked for 10 guests complete with a traditional farm kitchen, a private lawn with breathtaking views and access to the gardens at all times.
There are two incredible restaurants to explore: the exquisite Babel (housed in the old cow shed) which expertly blends contemporary glass walls with historic Cape Dutch architecture and serves beautifully prepared dishes that are seasonal and reflect Babylonstoren’s ethos of ‘farm-to-fork’; and The Greenhouse Restaurant which boasts a vintage conservatory (custom built in France) and lies at the rear of the garden between majestic oak trees and serves laid-back picnic-style food in wooden crates such as artisanal breads and cheeses, home-baked treats and beautifully prepared fresh garden juices and seasonal salads. At both restaurants you can sample the elegant and well-balanced Babylonstoren wines.
A stay at Babylonstoren is an experience that promises to tantalize all your senses. A must-visit destination that is the perfect start or finish to your South African holiday.