Visiting Grand Dédale Country House
The town of Wellington in the Cape Winelands is home to a little-known panhandle of paradise. When settlers arrived in this particular corner of the Cape many years ago they named the farm Doolhof, meaning labyrinth (characterised by having one way in and one way out), and they really could not have christened it better. A long winding dirt road nets out in a breathtaking valley, which is home to Doolhof Wine Estate and Grand Dédale Country House. Daedalus was the Greek mythological inventor, sculptor and architect who is said to have built a labyrinth to capture a Minotaur. Certainly some of that mythological magic seems to have been perfectly captured here.
The gorgeously appointed farmhouse has a juxtaposed interior design that seems like it wouldn’t work, but does. Euro chic meets Cape Dutch farmhouse, with subtle touches of Greek influence. The interior is slick with tiled white floors that shine brilliantly; set against this are elegantly soft fabrics in white and pale blue and handpicked silver finishings – this is country house living at its most luxurious.
Rooms are individually designed and decorated with different influences. Upstairs rooms are set in the eaves of the Cape Dutch vaulted thatch roof giving them a cosy, warm and eclectic feel. The rooms are spacious with all the modern amenities you would want – a king size bed, iPod dock, robes, slippers and my personal nirvana – under floor heating in the bathroom. It took us a few minutes of looking to locate the shower, which turned out to be a showerhead that stands over a ball and claw bath sans a glass enclosure of any kind. While it sounds like it won’t work, it does. Like everything at Grand Dédale, each detail has been thought through with the utmost attention.
We arrived to afternoon high tea which we took on the magnificent stoep overlooking the horses grazing in the paddocks. We indulged in decadent dark chocolate truffles and mini lemon meringue cupcakes that were filled with zingy curd and topped with the fluffiest cloud of meringue. Figuring we needed to work off some calories we took a stroll down to the paddocks to greet the horses and down along the riverside. The estate is very popular for mountain bikers and also has several easy walks and hikes through the property, making it the ideal place to recharge and to get back in touch with nature.
Of course Doolhof is a winery, so if hiking feels like too much hard work, you can pop into the tasting room and sample the wines which follow the story of the estate’s Greek mythology background.
For meals at Grand Dédale intimate tables for two or more pop up completely unobtrusively in the lounge area and disappear again afterwards. Grand Dédale offers a four course à la carte dinner in the evening, but we were dining off the estate. We opted to get a little afternoon nap before heading out, which was absolutely blissful in these peaceful surroundings, far from city life.
After a restful night’s sleep, we enjoyed a beautiful breakfast the next morning. A number of hot options were on offer, as well as a fruit, yoghurt and muesli buffet, continental meats and cheeses and heavenly pastries.
Angelo and Tina Casu run the guesthouse and do so as a well oiled machine. Their experience in the industry is evident and they prioritise their guest’s personal needs and wants. The country house offers six rooms as well as a stunning separate honeymoon cottage – keeping numbers small allows for personal attention and care that is beyond exceptional. Staff members all round were unobtrusive and seemed to appear just at the right moment.
Grand Dédale is a superb place to visit to celebrate a special occasion and to really luxuriate in style and comfort. This is a sophisticated space set amongst mountains and valleys that seem to encircle and protect it; you will no doubt find it hard to leave its warm embrace just as we did.