A Stay at the Luxurious Babylonstoren Farm Hotel & Spa
When I knew we were heading to Babylonstoren Farm Hotel & Spa on possibly the rainiest weekend of the year so far, I had my husband pulling out dusty suitcases from the recesses of our cupboards in search of a pair of wellies I know I own. I needn’t have worried though because, at Babylonstoren, every last detail is thought of – including placing pairs of Wellington boots in every room.
It is a working farm after all and the team are well-versed in hosting city slickers who’s wellies gather dust for most of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love city living but I also harbour desires to wake up to the sound of a cockerel crowing, to take deep lungfuls of fresh country air and enjoy things at a slower pace. At Babylonstoren that’s all in a day’s work and then some.
Slowing Down at Babylonstoren Farm Hotel & Spa
Babylonstoren is synonymous with style and it literally oozes this at every turn. The whole farm has been imbued with its very own brand of farm chic that is just unmistakably ‘Babylonstoren’. From the iconic pink oyster mushroom cover of Babel, the cookbook, to the Delft blue tin that holds the farms cold extracted olive oil. Everything is purposeful, considered and beautiful.
The nature of it
The heart of Babylonstoren is the garden and much of the flow of the farm stems from it. It is a literal living, breathing entity in every sense and is the lifeforce of the farm.
The garden truly is mesmerising as anyone who has visited will tell you. There is something incredibly soothing about the symmetry of it, rich red gravel paths are meticulously mapped out creating mini gardens within the garden, each with their place and purpose.
From abundant herbs to flourishing citrus trees, cacti taller than you and beautiful plum flowers budding just ahead of spring. It’s a heady combination of textures, colours, sounds and smells and nothing will ground you quite like a stroll through it.
Babylonstoren Farm Hotel
The Babylonstoren Farm Hotel & Spa consists of 22 cottage suites of varying sizes that are all immaculately designed. We loved how our suite seamlessly blended uber contemporary pieces with traditional farmstead elements.
Glass doors with chromed steel hinges sit juxtaposed to heavy wooden doors, clear acrylic chairs are set against farm-style wooden tables with turned legs. Ultra-modern, mirrored, all-white bathroom was quite at home inside the whitewashed walls and thatched roof of our cottage. The result is a stylish, modern space that echos that unique Babylonstoren sensibility.
The Heavens Hath Opened
We arrived at Babylonstoren right at the peak of a much-needed deluge of rain and were met at our car by a team member, clipboard in hand, ready to take us to our room. Once we donned our Wellington boots (I never did find mine) we headed to the wine cellar for a cellar tour.
We were joined by three other couples and our guide, Kerwin, took us through a tour of the farm, from viewing the hill of Babylon for which Babylonstoren is named, through the olive extraction room to the cellar and finally the tasting room.
Candid about Candide
From the fire-warmed centre of the glassed tasting room, we were taken through a flight of Babylonstoren wines. We decided our favourite was the Shiraz but also loved the latest addition to the range – Candide, an unusual blend of four white varietals, namely Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay and Semillon. The fruity notes of the wine had us longing for summer days, which we know will be upon us sooner than we think.
If you’re wondering about the relevance, it is named for an observation made by Candide, the title character in the book of the same name, by French philosopher and writer, Voltaire, when he said that we should all tend our gardens. Being that the garden is the centre of the farm, it seems fitting.
Dining at Babel
Babel restaurant is another iconic extension of the Babylonstoren story and is probably one of the most compelling ways to experience the ethos of the farm.
The philosophy is very simple and the menu adheres to this – it is about celebrating the bounty of the garden in the most natural and connected way.
The starter section of the menu is simply titled, Yellow, Red, Green and each dish is built around fruit and veggies from the garden in these colours. The red dish brings together radicchio, tree-ripened almonds, beetroots and Franschhoek trout. Yellow is a warm citrus and root veggie-take on carpaccio.
For mains, we enjoyed succulent and generous portions of pork belly and bone-in fillet, which are served with an abundance of garden veggies and crackingly good potato wedges. Every detail of every course speaks to the natural treatment of ingredients and minimal intervention. The produce of the garden shines on the plate as much as it does in the soil.
Goodnight, Sleep Tight
Wellies had not felt like appropriate dinner gear, so we had opted not to don them for the evening. In hindsight, however, we might have been smarter and left our lofty city notations in our cottage. Instead, we had to make a mad and rather muddy dash from Babel to our room, as the heavens had opened and rain was coming down in torrents with absolutely no respite. There’s nothing like 6 ºC weather, bucketing rain and the promise of a cosy bed at the end of it to make you run with haste!
We enjoyed an incredibly restful night’s sleep in one of the most comfortable beds ever; our room had been warmed by a crackling fire in the indoor fireplace. Our bed, toasty from fluffy hot water bottles, was the perfect sanctuary from the elements and we happily went to sleep to the sounds of precious rainfall.
A Babel Style Breakfast
Breakfast at Babel had so many highlights, from homemade farm granola and fermented jersey yoghurt to croissants, blue gum honey and an array of fresh fruits and veggies from the garden. This all before a traditional farm-style cooked breakfast too.
After tucking in we explored a little more of the farm, including meeting Morne and Meisiekind the donkeys, spotting turkeys, hens and roosters, and visiting the farm shop, butchery and bakery. Phew!
There is still so much more to discover at Babylonstoren and we really just scratched the tip of the koppie so to speak. From trout fishing to guided garden tours, the spa, ritual tea ceremonies and the greenhouse, you need more than just a day to fully embrace all that it has to offer.
One thing is for certain though, you’ll leave feeling relaxed, well-fed, reconnected to the earth and with a profound appreciation for Mother Nature.
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