A refreshing, inspiring and wonderfully different take on the winelands. This is a place to visit, and a place to travel back to in its own right. The new wine tasting rooms, with bakery, cheeses and meats promises to make Babylonstoren a must on all driving tours of this region.
Babylonstoren is inspired and awe-inspiring. Cradled in the lee of the Simonsberg mountains, an 8 acre formal garden is laid out in the midst of vineyards and fruit orchards that arch up towards the craggy, teeth-like wilds of the mountains beyond. Little white cottages are immaculately restored and designed in the Cape Dutch style, with clean, clear, comfortable minimalist interiors, from which to best enjoy the flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables of the gardens. With its spa, vast barrel-round pool created from an old feeding trough, and cutting-edge clean, utterly refreshing restaurant and tea room, guests enjoy plates full of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers…a real taste of paradise.
There is something magnificent about having created accommodation because you needed to share your garden. But this is the story of Babylonstoren… a garden so abundant and delicious that it needed people to wander, pick, pluck and eat. All this is the creation of Karen Roos, once editor of Elle Décor. She then designed accommodation that would work best alongside the garden…Thus the little cottages, each with a glass box kitchen, with a thick wooden table at which to dress your salads and tuck into sumptuous ‘farmhouse’ delights in the sunshine.
This is the mood of Babylonstoren, and the restaurant (open to guests for memorable fresh and delicious breakfasts, and for lunches and Friday and Saturday nights), is clean and clever and new. Plates are adorned with garden produce as juicily and beautifully as if fruit and flowers had never been served before. The whole experience feels as cleansing as their mixed fruit/veg juices and as intriguing as their pudding menu… salty, sour or sweet…
Children love the freedom and magic of the garden, ours played joyfully with the ancient irrigation system that waters the many parts of the garden with small sluice gates to lift and close, they hid in the bamboo maze and danced on magical stones that made sprinklers sprinkle. They swam, fed the ducks, picked strawberries and talked to the donkeys, and read and played games under the trees.
But truly there is a grown up peace here, and ultimately it is a grown up place. Fabulous, grown up food, views, wines, style… ah, a joy in the spa area (no children here, please!) and a quiet beneath the trees… this is a real winner all round.