The Cape Winelands serves as a natural choice for anybody who appreciates the finer things in life.
Be it for an escape from reality as you indulgently fly in for lunch, sip bubbly after a spa treatment, or enjoy an extended stay in a tucked away private villa – the discerning traveller is certain to find what they’re looking for among the vine-covered mountains and valleys.
I wrote about Ultra-Luxe Winelands Experiences for the Connoisseur, now up on the Visit Winelands website. Or, as included below.
1. Take High Tea in The Conservatory at Cavalli Estate (Somerset West)
Located in the dramatically beautiful Helderberg, Cavalli Estate with its award-winning wine, stylish architecture, manicured gardens and collection of art, has quickly become a well-recognised lifestyle brand. Stretching across over 100 hectares of prime land between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, it is home to 26 hectares of vineyards, 10 hectares of indigenous fynbos gardens and a world-class equestrian centre. It is also the best place to go for a decadent high tea.
Served in The Conservatory with its beautifully bright, glass-enclosed private dining area that overlooks the lake, the tea is a wonderfully personalised experience with Chef Michael Deg designing a spread specific to the guest’s preferences. On offer are an array of sweet and savoury treats that include finger sandwiches, bite-sized profiteroles, chocolate and strawberry macarons, carrot and cheesecake, and freshly baked scones with a side of strawberry jam and cream.
All accompanied by the tea or coffee of your choice. Of course, should you prefer a glass of estate wine or Method Cap Classique, that will readily be served?
More Information: http://cavallistud.com/ Reservations essential.
2. Appreciate the work of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef at La Motte Estate (Franschhoek)
La Motte Wine Estate is found on the approach to Franschhoek, and the Museum here not only offers insight into the Rupert family, focusing on Dr. Anton and Mrs. Huberte Rupert and the musical career of their daughter Hanneli Rupert, but also features the history of La Motte and its magnificently renovated buildings, with a brief review of Cape Dutch architecture.
But it’s the permanent collection of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef that is housed here, and must be appreciated: ‘A Tribute to the life and art of one of South Africa’s greatest masters, JH Pierneef.’
Acquired in 1970 by the late Dr. Anton Rupert, an internationally respected industrialist and committed conservationist. Dr. Rupert and his art-devoted wife played an important role in the preservation of South African art. Today La Motte is one of three wine estates owned by the Rupert family and as much as there has always been a dedication to producing top quality wine and food, it’s the Pierneef collection that shouldn’t be missed.
While there enjoy a meal in the restaurant, a wine tasting, try one of their hiking trails and meander through the sculptor garden.
More information: https://www.la-motte.com/
3. Take a helicopter to lunch, or wine tasting (Anywhere)
Why drive when you can fly?
Depart the city or airport for a 40-minute scenic private helicopter flight over the Cape peninsula with some low-level coastal flying along False Bay and the mountains to set the mood, before arriving at the wine estate of your choice for lunch. Many have helipads and can accommodate your arrival, literally on to their front lawn. Among them are Delaire Graff, Waterkloof, Jordan Wine Estates and Creation Wines.
After lunch and your share of the estate wines, your pilot will fly you back to the city.
Better still, hire the helicopter for the day and indulge in the ultimate wine tasting experience as you explore South Africa’s most celebrated wine regions in style, and have your private charter helicopter take you on a wine tasting excursion in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and the Hemel and Aarde Valley.
More information: http://www.silvercross.co.za/
4. Get soaked in the Hamman at Babylonstoren, outside Paarl
The Garden Spa at Babylonstoren matches the ethos of the property and is inextricably linked to the garden and the ever-changing seasons. The epitome of relaxation, the treatments are designed to relieve stress and to exfoliate, massage and stimulate the body, leaving you feeling cleansed from head-to-toe. But it’s the Signature treatment Private Hammam (Turkish Bath) Water Ritual that we recommend.
It includes a full-body exfoliation, dynamic flexing, body butter application, as well as a head and scalp treatment. Guests opting for this treatment are invited to relax in the chill room or the bamboo garden afterwards and sip on some fresh garden juice. Perhaps even head over to Babel, consider a Tea Ceremony or walk in the garden too.
There are five treatment rooms here, a gym, swimming dam salt room built from blocks of Himalayan salt, tropical rain showers, as well as a sauna, a steam room and indoor heated vitality pool. To make sure you’ve got enough time to enjoy it all, you may want to stay over in the Farm Hotel. The Spa, and the Hamman, beckon you to spoil yourself.
More information: https://www.babylonstoren.com/
5. Explore the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden (Stellenbosch)
Eight years in the making, the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden is a place of vistas, scents and the sounds of nature, with tranquil plantations, hidden paths and lush indigenous vegetation. The project began by chance in 2009 when Lewis on a whim, hired an excavator and began shaping the contours of what would become the seven-hectare sculpture garden.
Over 60 sculptures constituting a comprehensive record of Lewis’s full artistic development as an artist, have been carefully placed in harmony with the landscape: the human form, shamanic figures, monumental abstracted fragments and his iconic great cats. Along four kilometres of paths, one is led on a journey through different ‘rooms’, from the heather hills dominated by earthy male images to the meditative poplar grove with its sensual female torsos.
The garden focuses on indigenous species, particularly fynbos. Although planted to give year-round colour, it peaks in July and August into September, when its many buchus and ericas are in fragrant flower. Book a private tour to get the most of your visit, where you will be walked through both the layout of the fauna, and the artworks.
More information: www.dylanlewis.com By appointment only.
6. Self-Drive an Exotic Sports or Vintage Car around the Winelands (Anywhere)
Ever wanted to feel the wind in your hair as you hit the open road in an exotic sports car?
Explore Sideways offers an immersive experience that allows you to self-drive an exotic sports car for a day in the Winelands. Choose from a range of Audi R8’s, Ferrari’s, Maserati’s and more. Once you’ve chosen your vehicle, you have the option of a personally designed itinerary based on your interests, or you can simply go your own way and enjoy the freedom of being behind the wheel.
If you’re worried about blending wine tasting with your driving experience, know that there are plenty of experiences in the Swartland, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek valleys that will entertain you without too much indulgence in the fine wine.
Should it be more your style and preference, a Vintage Car can be booked too.
More information: https://exploresideways.com
7. Why take a room, when you can book the whole house? (Elgin)
A completely private place of discerning style and luxury, Lothian House in the Elgin Valley is like no other villa. This 2000+ square meter architectural wonder on the Palmiet River enjoys uninterrupted views of the surrounding vineyards, orchards and private lake, and feels a little like stepping off the edge of the world into a bubble of luxury, despite being only an hour from the city.
Accommodating up to 16 people and rented out for exclusive use only, extraordinary care and attention has been taken to create 8 double en-suite rooms, each with patio; ensuring opulence, privacy and peacefulness. The summer and winter lounges, formal lounge and dining room runs the length of the glass-encased mansion, with the glass doors opening on to the natural elements with a large pool, indoor and outdoor play areas, and water sports on the private lake and river.
Lothian House lends itself to a relaxing family retreat or a decadent escape for guests seeking absolute seclusion. No matter the size of your group.
More information: https://www.lothianvineyards.com/
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** Read my other Published Work here. Photos are mine or were supplied by establishments listed.