The ultimate Franschhoek getaway: Babylonstoren

The ultimate Franschhoek getaway: Babylonstoren

Luxury creature comforts on an historic working farm make this one of Franschhoek’s finest.

It’s the little things…

A beautifully curated collection of books in every room
Warming wood-burning fires
Silky sarongs
Gorgeous L’Occitane grooming treats
Sturdy wellies for walking your way around
A gentle knock on the door at 7pm, presenting a glass of perfectly chilled white wine and a jar of mint-marinated farm olives.
It’s the little things…

Babylonstoren room interior
Mountain bikes to explore the farm (or to pedal over to Babel for dinner, with a moonlit detour through the garden, of course)
The child-friendly atmosphere that encourages happy laughs
The wholesome sense of coming home
And a spaciousness that ensures supreme privacy without feeling isolated.
It’s the little things…

A heavenly mix

This heavenly mixture of laidback farm-style delights and world-class creature comforts appears to be effortless but it must’ve entailed tremendous planning. It’s clear that owner Karen Roos combined the very best experiences from her travels abroad, and masterfully merged those with the very best local flavours. From Provençal-inspired gardens bearing fruit that made the Cape of Good Hope a vital pitstop, to luxurious suites that are replicas of the old farms worker’s cottages, to food fit for the gods. Karen’s innate sense of style (nonchalantly teaming a Kartell side table with a deep, old-fashioned bathtub) and her scrupulous attention to detail puts the city’s most lavish hotels to shame.

Bablyonstoren bathroom

Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a family weekend, a special event or just the pure pleasure of experiencing the fresh air, legendary gourmet offerings and pampering atmosphere that is Babylonstoren, it’s the little things that will delight you.

And they add up to quite a lot, actually.


Babel: It’s no surprise that it’s near impossible to get a booking at the surprisingly informal, yet still sleek and sophisticated main restaurant. Dinnertime entails being thoroughly entertained by the waiters’ knowledgeable presentation of what’s on offer – totally tantalising, and fitting foreplay for what’s to come. The simple menu, that changes seasonally to maximise what’s on offer in the farm’s garden, is just genius. For example, a pre-dinner drink comprising vodka, grapefruit juice and vanilla sets the tone for the simple, fresh and beautifully orchestrated flavours, such as sublime fillet on the bone done to perfection (not well done!) and salads with heady mixes of freshly picked fruit and vegetables. The indulgent breakfasts are no different: delicately prepared eggs, bacon and farm sausage, magical mueslis, Provence-sized hunks of cheese and delights such as gluten-free polenta-bread (and rice milk) on tap.

Babel at Babylonstoren

Garden tour at 10am: Sure, it’s utterly lovely to amble through this garden of biblical proportions on your own, but even those who are indifferent to plants will be floored by the sheer scale of the stream of stories offered by Liesl or Gundula.

Sip and savour: Every room comes with complimentary bottles of Babylonstoren wines (best enjoyed at sunset on your picture-perfect private verandah), but there’s more in store for your taste buds… Head over to the wine cellar and tasting area for a superb wine tour (complete with a side show on the farm’s formidable olive oil enterprise) and end it off with a languid hour or two in the elegant simplicity of the modern glass-fronted tasting room. Here, heavenly platters (farm-fresh bread, moist biltong, exotic fruits and moreish veggies, duckliver pâté, goat’s cheese truffles…) complete the picture. TIP: do not leave before trying their bubbly and inimitable Nebukadnesar flagship red blend.

Ah… spa: Whether or not your opt for a treatment in the lush and oh-so-zen spa, guests are still welcome to use the fabulous facilities (heated indoor pool with shoulder-massaging water jets, sauna, steam room and an outdoor plaasdam-style pool and a sandpit strip, for sun seekers).

Cost: From R6 600 (depending on season)
Location: Babylonstoren