This 200-hectare farm, dating back to 1692, lies in the Drakenstein Valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands, almost halfway between Franschhoek and Paarl. In addition to producing excellent wine, the farm is also home to a stylish hotel, a 3.5-hectare garden that supplies three restaurants, a serene spa, modern wine-tasting centre, 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.
Owner Karen Roos has masterfully created the ultimate farm haven, where the luxury is in the integrity and authenticity of the setting.
The Gardens at Babylonstoren
The 3.5-hectare gardens, modelled on the famous Company’s Garden in Cape Town, are probably the farm’s main attraction, providing 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 gardens, which provide hours of walking pleasure, and the hotel has a daily guided tour lead by one of the gardeners.
Good to know Regrettably no dogs are allowed, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am –5pm
Cost R10 (adults weekdays, children under 12)
R20 (weekends and public holidays)
Free (RHS members)
Babel Restaurant at Babylonstoren
Housed in the homestead’s original cowshed, Babel is 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.
Opening times Breakfast: Daily, 8am – 9.30am
Lunch: Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3.30pm
Dinner: Daily, 7pm – late
Greenhouse Restaurant at Babylonstoren
At the far end of the garden is a greenhouse conservatory that was custom-built in France for Babylonstoren. Here, 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, 10am – 4pm
Wine-Tasting at Babylonstoren
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 Cellar Master’s Platter: bresaola, salami, Leyden cheese, Babylonstoren fior di latte, Caprese salad, olives and homemade preserves. Daily cellar tours take place every hour, from 11am to 3pm.
Opening times 1 May – 31 August: Daily, 10am – 5pm
1 September – 30 April: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Cost R60 per person (tasting of five wines)
R75 per person (cellar tour, including tasting of five wines)
The Bakery at Babylonstoren
On Monday and Friday evenings, The Bakery hosts Buonissimo Italian evenings. The three-course set menu starts with an antipasti or salad offering, followed by a woodfire pizza or a homemade pasta for mains, with a delicious dolce and coffee for dessert.
Opening times Mondays & Fridays, 7pm
Cost R340 (adults)
R175 (per children)
On Wednesday evenings, The Bakery turns into a carnivore’s paradise, with Carnivore Evening. The meat comes from grass-fed Chianina cows (an age-old Italian breed of cattle). Chefs Jaco Koegelenberg and Eddie Plaatjies braai the meat to perfection while you sit back and enjoy the strains of live accordion and a glass of wine.
Opening times Wednesday, 6.30pm
Cost R490 (adults, includes two glasses of wine)
The Healing Garden and Tea Ritual at Babylonstoren
This restful space in the garden was created for quiet reflection. The central layout of this garden innovatively follows the form of the human body, with herbs to heal various parts of the body. During the Tuesday Tea Ceremonies, you’ll learn how to brew your own herbal tea, while learning about the healing property of plants around us.
Good to know Children under 10 years are not allowed in the Healing Garden.
Opening times Tuesday, 9.30am
Cost R335 per person (50% deposit is required to secure your booking.)
The Spa at Babylonstoren
Set within a forest of bamboo, greenery and flowing water channels, the Babylonstoren 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. There are a variety of treatments, including the hammam: an ancient cleansing ritual aimed at relieving stress; massage; wraps; facials and reflexology. The spa is open to hotel guests as well as day visitors.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Contact 021 300 3929, email@example.com