Babylonstoren: 15 Reasons To Visit This Award-Winning Wine Farm

Babylonstoren: 15 Reasons To Visit This Award-Winning Wine Farm

A veritable Garden of Eden in the Cape Winelands…

Dating back to 1692, this 200-hectare farm, lies in the Drakenstein Valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands, almost halfway between Franschhoek and Paarl. Here, owner Karen Roos has masterfully created the ultimate farm haven, where the luxury is in the integrity and authenticity of the setting.

Excellent wine aside, Babylonstoren is also home to a stylish hotel, a 5-hectare garden that supplies three restaurants and a juicery, a serene spa, modern wine-tasting centre, a farm shop that is a foodie’s dream with a bakery and coffee roastery, plus a boathouse with row boat, endless dirt roads (which hotel guests can explore on available mountain bikes) and a pervasive sense of tranquility that follows you everywhere.

Here are 15 reasons it should feature on every visitor to the Cape’s hitlist. (If we’ve left out a reason, please add it in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.)

1. The Garden at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren Wine

The 5-hectare garden, modelled on the famous Company’s Garden in Cape Town, is probably the farm’s main attraction, provides the central backdrop to everything that happens on the farm. The Garden of Diversity pays tribute to the gardening traditions of the Cape; for centuries the halfway station between Europe and Asia, where ships would replenish with water, vegetables and fruit. There are over three kilometres of paths through the garden, which provide hours of walking pleasure, or join the daily guided garden tour led by one of the gardeners.
Good to know A once-off entrance fee allows you to register for Babylonstoren Garden Membership with the free Babylonstoren app. This will give you unlimited admission to Babylonstoren for 12 months.
Opening times Winter: Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Summer: Monday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Cost R100 (this gives you free entry for the following 12 months)
Free (children under 18 and RHS members)
Good to know Entrance fees are payable at the ticket office. Babylonstoren Garden Membership is a one-off entry fee that allows you to register for membership using the free Candide app. This will give you unlimited admission to Babylonstoren for 12 months. Your annual membership allows four friends or family members to join you on the day of your visit.

2. Babel

Babylonstoren Garden

Housed in the homestead’s original cowshed, Babel is a laidback yet sophisticated restaurant, dressed in a delicious blend of Cape Dutch architecture and contemporary decor. During winter expect comforting dishes, such as slow-cooked leg of lamb in red wine jus, while in summer, be bowled over by a vibrant colour-coded salad made with produce from the garden. Naturally, there’s a superb list of wines to accompany your meal.
Good to know Booking is essential
Opening times Breakfast: Daily, 8am – 10am
Lunch: Wednesday – Sunday, 12.30pm – 3.30pm
Dinner: Daily, 6pm – 9pm

3. Wine-Tasting at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren Wine Tasting

Next to the vintage wine cellar is a warm yet modern tasting centre, with floor-to-ceiling glass panes that maximise the breathtaking views of Babylonstoren Hill, Simonsberg and the Banghoek Mountains. Sit back, relax and enjoy this stylish space with a glass of excellent Babylonstoren wine. And, maybe a platter to share – our favourite is the Deli and Dairy Platter: Babylonstoren beef charcuterie, cured pork loin and biltong, Dalewood brie and Klein River Leyden cheese, Babylonstoren fior di latte caprese salad, hummus and homemade preserves.
Daily two-hour cellar tours take place at 10am, 1pm and 4pm (booking and advance payment essential)
Opening times 1 May – 31 August: Daily, 10am – 5pm
1 September – 30 April: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Cost R110 per person (tasting of seven wines)
R50 per person (express tasting of three wines)
R365 per person (cellar tour, including tasting of seven wines)

4. The Wine Museum at Babylonstoren

In true Babylonstoren style, a wander through this temple of all things wine combines sensory, aesthetic and story-telling pleasure. The Story of Wine explores terroir, wine history, even wine poetry with an informative and intuitive audio guide. And don’t miss out on the cinematic vat screening room.
Cost Free

5. The Garden Spa at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren Spa
Paarl Online

Set within a forest of bamboo, greenery and flowing water channels, the Garden Spa offers a world-class oasis of peace and relaxation. Complete with an outdoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, indoor heated vitality pool, tropical rain showers, a salt room (built with blocks of Himalayan salt) and a gym, the spa promises to meet your every need, and more. Enquire about the variety of treatments, including the hammam: an ancient cleansing ritual aimed at relieving stress; massage; wraps; facials and reflexology. The spa is open to day visitors as well as hotel guests.
Opening times Daily, 9am – 5pm
Contact 021 300 3929, spa@babylonstoren.com

6. Greenhouse Restaurant at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren Restaurant

At the far end of the garden is a greenhouse conservatory that was custom-built in France for Babylonstoren. Inside the greenhouse, or in the shaded courtyard next to it, no-fuss food is the order of the day. Expect home-baked treats, fresh garden juices, artisanal breads with handcrafted cheeses and cold meats, as well as fresh garden salads and, of course, teas and coffees.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm (summer); 9am – 5pm (winter)

7. The Spice Garden at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren Spice Garden

Situated within a domed conservatory, this exotic space contains an array of aromatic spices associated with the spice trade, such as turmeric, ginger and nutmeg cloves. Tropical Asian fish swim about in two glass aquariums (and beneath the deck) – an homage to the continent from which these spices originated.
The Spice Garden is available to host private functions for between 13 and 24 guests. There are different menus for winter and summer, but each will feature spiced tea or coffee, freshly baked bread, handcrafted butter and Babylonstoren olives, salad, soup, various herbs and vegetables from the garden, and a delicious dessert.
Opening times Daily, 12pm – 4pm (booking is essential)
Cost R330 per person
Contact 021 863 3852, reservations@babylonstoren.com

8. The Healing Garden and Tea Ceremony at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren Tea Ceremony

Created for quiet reflection, this restful space in the garden has a central layout that intuitively follows the form of the human body, and beds spilling over with herbs to heal various parts of the anatomy. Informative labels describe the healing properties of the herbs, or just wander and inhale their restorative aromas.
Good to know Children under 10 years are not permitted in the Healing Garden.
Opening times Tuesday, 9.30am
Cost R335 (50% deposit is required to secure your booking.)

9. The Scented Room at Babylonstoren

A tempting mecca of gorgeous aromas and beautiful things scented with essential oils distilled from the gardens, this is the place to find natural skincare products, soaps and potions which you can see being made in the adjoining glass-walled workshop.

10. The Garden Shop at Babylonstoren

A sun-soaked greenhouse glass cube is home to a brand-new garden shop (or Tuinwinkel) next to the Scented Room. A haven for the green-fingered, it tempts with bespoke garden tools, fascinating plants and even rare bonsai trees. And there’s a cosy reading nook to browse the dedicated book section.

11. The Bakery at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren Bakery

By day it bakes up a storm of breads for the Farm Shop and restaurants, but on Monday and Friday evenings, The Bakery transforms into an eatery and hosts Buonissimo Italian evenings. The three-course set menu starts with an antipasti or salad offering, followed by a woodfired pizza or a homemade pasta for mains, with a delicious dolce and coffee for dessert.
Opening times Mondays & Fridays, 6pm
Cost R520 (adults)
R260 (children)
On Wednesday and Sunday evenings, The Bakery turns into a meat-lover’s paradise, with Carnivore Evening. The meat comes from Chianina cows (an age-old Italian breed of cattle). Chefs Shelvin Jacobs and Eddie Plaatjies braai the meat to perfection while you sit back and enjoy the strains of live accordion and a glass of wine.
Time Wednesdays & Sundays, 6.30pm
Cost R850 (adults, includes two glasses of wine)

12. The Coffee Roastery at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren: Coffee Roastery

The aroma of coffee wafts from the barrel drum roaster at Babylonstoren’s brand-new roastery. Next to the Farm Shop, it’s decorated with a collection of antique coffee grinders, where you can watch the roasting process. And it’s home to Babylonstoren’s own new coffee blend, composed of four different single-origin beans, individually roasted to get the perfect balance of richness. The brew has chocolate and caramel notes and just a light touch of fruit.

13. Food shopping for the soul

The Farm Shop at Babylostoren keeps on adding to its fabulous food repertoire. Take a basket and do your grocery shop here, strolling through a series of beautiful rooms dedicated to cheese, charcuterie, exquisite pantry items, fresh produce from the farm, a meat room, and the bakery.
Opening times Winter: Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Summer: Monday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm

14. The Gelateria at Babylonstoren

A charmingly repurposed chicken coop has been transformed into a retro gelateria near the garden gate, so you can stroll the gardens with a sugar cone of ice cream in your hand. And not just any ice cream… artisan gelato is made with milk from Babylonstoren’s water buffalo herd and comes in a variety of seasonally-inspired flavours.

15. Luxurious farm accommodation at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren Pool Winelands Accommodation

For those who wish to immerse themselves in this garden paradise overnight, the hotel at Babylonstoren offers a delicious taste of idyllic country life: 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 farm workers’ cottages, to food fit for the gods.
This heavenly mixture of laidback farm-style delights and world-class creature comforts comes courtesy of owner Karen Roos, who has drawn on her extensive travels abroad, and masterfully merged those with the very best local flavours. Karen’s inimitable sense of style (nonchalantly teaming a Kartell side table with a deep, old-fashioned bathtub) and her scrupulous attention to detail puts some of the city’s most lavish hotels to shame.
Cost From R9 400 (depending on season)
BOOK ACCOMMODATION

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 04 August 2023

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