One of the things that I love most about my job is that I get to meet inspiring people that are following their dreams in beautiful parts of the world, and hear their story. That and discovering a whole new part of a city I thought I knew. Which is exactly what happened when I headed for a weekend of relaxation and pampering at Silver Forest Lodge & Spa with Airlink, who conveniently fly to Cape Town from Pretoria’s Wonderboom National Airport daily.
Silver Forest is a luxurious and tranquil private five star lodge and spa on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in the Cape Winelands, that offers an escape from the ordinary on a 7000 square metre property immersed in nature.
I made my approach on the winding road that offers regular glimpses of False Bay in the distance. My arrival was met with a big smile and glass of bubbly, before I was shown to my incredible Forest Suite with private balcony tucked up in the corner of the property. The first thing I noticed was the rich textures, the wall paper, thick comfy blankets, beautiful curtains, wooden finishes and elegant shades of silver mixed in with forest green.
In the middle of the room a giant luxury king-sized bed, couch, desk, double wardrobe and fully equipped station with tea, coffee and mini bar. The bathroom gave off a soft gentle green light, highlighting the large bath and shower, a print of green leave-heavy trees visible when you close the doors. This is a space to immersive yourself into.
As soon as I’d settled I headed up for High Tea, served every afternoon in the lounge. Here I found Penny, the owner and creator of Silver Forest, with her husband and partner Keith. Together they have built this place up from a dream, doing much of the handiwork, interior decorating and branding themselves.
Hospitable, warm and incredibly professional in an era where owner run properties are hard to come by, I instantly want to learn more about the path that led them from running a successful hotel and function venue in Wales, to creating a boutique lodge and spa in the Cape. Over tea and carrot cake (something I am incapable of saying no to), we talk and I learn more.
The motto is ‘nothing is too much trouble at Silver Forest’, which is evident from the moment you arrive.
This set the tone for my days to come, chatting, eating, sleeping in, enjoying treatments at the Spa, doing my best to get the attention of the resident pup Fudge, and allowing myself a true feel of both Silver Forest, it’s guardians and the Helderberg.
There are ten suites at Silver Forest Lodge and I was lucky enough to be in the Forest Suite, an extra luxurious room with it’s own private courtyard with outdoor shower, wood fired hot tub and dining area overlooking the forest.
Outside my room, the deck with outdoor wood-fire heated hot tub and loungers. I actually fell in love with the fabric on the outside furniture, only to learn that Penny had ingeniously designed them herself from yacht sail fabric. Of course they’re perfectly themed to the silver forest.
The seven stunning Garden Suites each have their own patio with loungers, and are furnished in rich fabrics and finishings, with the wall paper setting the mood and colour tone as soon as you walk in. The Garden Cottages have extra long King Size beds with large en-suite bath and shower rooms, a separate open plan lounge, dining and kitchen area with all kitchen facilities, including an oven and hob, toaster, microwave, kettle, crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils should you opt to self-cater.
All rooms offer free Wifi and have all the mod cons you could want for, the best selection of wall plugs with international, local and usb ports as well as desks should you wish to stay in touch or do a bit of work or writing while there.
All accommodation is air-conditioned and equipped with 43-inch flat-screen smart TV’s. A dining area, Nespresso coffee machines, mini fridge with complimentary wine, beers and soft drinks and well sized bathrooms with bathm and separate shower.
The Spa and Wellness
The Spa at Silver Forest is all about health, rejuvenation and healing, with wonderful Thermal Suites that include Steam, Sauna, Rasul, Jacuzzis and a Hydro jet massage pool. Each therapy room is named for a season with a softly lit ceiling depicting the changing colours of the leaves. The treatments on offer are varied and revitalising. I had a detoxing body scrub and chocolate body mask, followed by a deep massage with Karen and her magic hands, and felt completely realigned and like new afterwards.
Enjoy a Manicure or Pedicure in the tranquil lounge. Before or after your treatment you are encouraged to take time out on the deck or on one of the couches, allowing you to linger into the spoils of the environment.
One of the products used in the Spa is the South African Spalicious brand, with numerous others carefully selected to match the specific treatment, each connecting you to deeper to nature and wellness.
The outside bar area with it’s tiled detail and leaf themed carpet is under shelter, and equally inviting in Winter as in Summer. Be it for sundowners, an afternoon coffee or chats with the other guests.
Loungers scattered around the large pool, one you can actually stretch out and swim in, or simply slip into for a cool down.
Eating at Silver Forest
The food at Silver Forest is excellent and my Butler Ryan could not have been more charming and attentive. Each afternoon high tea is served in the lounge, with sweets and savouries on offer, as well as an incredible selection of teas and coffee to match your preference. Breakfast is an indulgent affair with the table heavily laden with cut fruit, yogurt, cereals and pastries, juices, local cheese and fine charcuterie. Coffee is on tap and the hot meal arrives to order, ensuring an excellent start to you day.
On the one night we sat around the main table with the other in-house guests and designed our own pizza, which was duly prepared and served up with giant bowls of salad. On the second night the focus was more on fine dining, and the newly appointed Chef was asked to create a vegetarian three-course menu. Starting with beetroot carpaccio with parmesan shavings, we proceeded a delicious aubergine stack on garlic mashed potato with a rich tomato ragout, capping it with tiramisu in a bowl. I ate till bursting!
Silver Forest offers light lunches and meals to in house guest and spa visitors with their focus on quality meals, beautiful food and products sourced from as close to home as possible.
Things to do in the Luxury Helderberg
Right on the doorstep is the Helderberg wine region, which directly translates to ‘bright mountain’, a perfectly suited name for the slopes that offer a background to Somerset West and overlook False Bay. Five minutes away is the Helderberg Nature Reserve, a good place for walks, picnics and bird watching.
Also, within easy reach of Silver Forest, are a host of other top attractions from whale watching in Hermanus, walks on the many close-by beaches, golf at the Erinvale Golf Club, trail runs and mountain biking. Should you wish to dine out at some of the country’s top restaurants, numerous are to be found within half an hour’s drive. With a collection of incredibly well known wine estates such at Waterford, Vergelegen, Lourensford, Annadale, Ken Forrester within half an our’s drive away drive away.
On the Saturday after my revitalising spa treatment, my hosts Keith and Penny took me for a brief introduction to what is on offer in the area. We started at the magnificent Lourensford Wine Estate and even though we were enjoying some much needed rain at the time, it was still magnificent with the garden in flower and the tasting room a cosy retreat from the cold. We opted for the pairing of their wines with Belgian chocolates; the Limited Release Chardonnay with Orange Dark Chocolate, Lourensford Estate Merlot with Dark Cherry Chocolate, Lourensford Estate Shiraz with Dark Chill Chocolate and the unique Honey Liqueur with Dark Mint Chocolate. I couldn’t get enough of it.
From there the historic Vergelegen Wine Estate with it’s impeccably restored Cape Dutch homestead, sculpted garden and ancient camphor trees. Founded on 1 February 1700, Vergelegen means ‘situated far away’ and has been under the ownership of some of the world’s great explorers and visionaries, each influencing and shaping Vergelegen to what it is today. We had a walk through the Stables Bistro, around the gardens and peeped in at the renowned Signature Restaurant, before settling in for a wine tasting in the purpose built and beautifully designed tasting room.
Olive oil tasting at Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate was incredibly enlightening – and delicious, and I have a new appreciation for the craft. I also saw the owner Giulio Bertrand there, who at 90 could not be a better advocate for wellbeing based on an olive oil rich diet. I came away having bought a few bottles of their Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Truffle Oil and Olive Paste, which I am still enjoying.
All of this within a ten minutes drive from Silver Forest, reaffirming that destination #LuxuryHelderberg is a must visit.
My absolute highlights
For me the discovery of a whole new area within an hour’s drive of Cape Town. The tall trees that tower protectively over the lodge from the adjacent land. The alone time in my beautiful luxury room, the fire lit and my bed turned down when I returned after dinner each night. The private hot tub on my deck with the water perfectly warmed by wood fire; slipping into it and decadently lingering there with my own thoughts, only the dark sky and Southern Cross as witness.
My Spa treatment and the healing hands of my most incredible therapist Karen. The company of Penny and Keith, an unexpected bonus that I selfishly indulged in. Discovering more of the Helderberg region and the quality estates and attractions it offers. Their shop supporting fine local products and carefully selected designer items. Meeting Fudge, the most adorable wire-haired Jack Russell and co-host, who is guaranteed to steal your heart at first sight.
The exciting fact that Silver Forest is still evolving as Penny and Keith put their heart and expertise into improving what already appears perfect, daily.
This is a success story in the making, with all sorts of wonderful still to come. An environment where the service and superior product leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and in balance, which is exactly how I came away.
Getting there with Airlink
Silver Forest offers the perfect retreat for a weekend or mid week break, and that doesn’t have to be be restricted to Capetonians who are lucky enough to have the lodge under an hour’s drive away. Up country residents, especially those in Pretoria, can conveniently book flights from the Wonderboom Airport to Cape Town International Airport with FlyAirlink, and from there it’s only a 20-30 minute drive away. To learn more, take a look at www.wonderboomairport.co.za and for flight schedules contact 012 5669400 or visit www.flyairlink.com. The flights are really affordable and you can earn voyager miles from your bookings too.
I like the idea of flying into Wonderboom, there’s something rather intrepid about landing at a lesser known airport which adds to the appeal. So very like Airlink to service these more interesting flight routes.
NOTE that if you book your flight with FlyAirlink, Silver Forest Lodge & Spa will offer you a special on your stay. Just drop Penny a note with the booking details and reference Airlink.
The Essential Details
- Contact Details Silver Forest Lodge & Spa at Tel 021 1400040 and Email: email@example.com.
- Website: http://www.silverforest.co.za/
- Connect with them on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- How to find them: From Cape Town, take the N2 from to Somerset West, turning on to the R44 and following the signs to Somerset West and Stellenbosch. At the lights take the right turn onto Main Road Somerset West. Then the First Left turn onto Helderberg College Road. Follow this road until it becomes Silverboomkloof Rd. Continue to the end of Silverboomkloof Rd and Silver Forest is on the left hand side.
- Bear in mind that Silver Forest has a luxury vehicle complete with scatter cushions on the back seat, that can be booked for airport and dinner transfers, as well as touring the area. This means that should you opt to just fly in and not get a rental car, but rather immerse yourself into the Lodge and surrounds with the occasional local exploration, this is easy to arrange.
- Understandably, no children under 14 years old.
Most importantly, look out for the specials. They have Pay 2 Get 1 Free, Girls Night spoils and Romantic Getaways with at up to half price off to indulge in. Also join their VIP Club, which gets you all sorts of special deals and unlimited access to their Spa and Grounds. Truly incredible value for money.
You need at least two nights to get a real feel of the place, to relax in your room and lounge next to the pool, chat to the bar man over a craft G&T and take up some of Penny and Keith’s precious time over a coffee or meal, their passion is infectious.
Some places overwhelm with the warmth of their welcome and the genuine hospitality that prevails during your stay, and this is certainly one of them.
*I was invited by FlyAirlink and The Roving Ambassador to experience Silver Forest Lodge & Spa, and generously hosted by Penny Rodenhurst and Keith Barnett throughout, including visits to #LuxuryHelderberg’s Vergelegen Wine Estate, Lourensford Estate and Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate. With special thanks to them, FlyAirlink and Andrew Shapland for creating this opportunity for me.
**As always, opinions are my own.