The remarkable Majeka House is located in ‘Paradyskloof, or Paradise Gorge. Whatever inspired the naming of this area by early settlers all those years ago certainly lives on in the Paradys that is found here today. Just on the outskirts of historic Stellenbosch and within easy reach of renowned vineyards and award-winning restaurants, interesting shops, galleries, museums and the town’s alfresco café culture, is where the Dequeker family have created an irresistible private hotel.
Originally the family home, Majeka House has since 2008 been lovingly transformed into a fully serviced five-star establishment that offers the best of everything. Taking its name from Marie-Paule, Jean-Claude and their daughter Karine. Majeka is now owner-managed by Karine with the support of her husband Lloyd, together they have taken the hotel on as their own. Karine’s ’piggie’ collection and their wonderful sculptures, paintings and pottery offer a personal touch. I spent an unforgettable night of spoiling here to learn more. From the warm smile on arrival, I knew it would be bliss. The lounge was catching the afternoon sun, bouncing golden rays onto the leather couches, comfy oversized chairs, light fittings and dark teal walls. The ice clinked in cut glasses as the barman served drinks to happy guests. Coffee table books and mirrors absorbed the warmth and everything about the moment invited the beauty of the mood. Stepping into the garden is a look at varied shades of green and blue. Umbrellas over loungers offered shade to those wanting to escape the last of the Summer’s sun. There was a gentle migration to the indoor pool for laps and chats, while the adjacent Spa quietly held his clients for beauty and body treatments.
I swam 70 lengths of this pool to ready for Chef Tanja’s Kitchen Table. There are nineteen rooms; twelve premiers, two poolside, three garden views and two mountain view rooms all found clustered in different parts of the large property. Each room is individually styled to perfection. Mine was a poolside room of particular opulence. The wallpaper overhead, wood-panelled wall, king-size bed, large bathroom with claw-footed bath and double volume shower. Impeccable touches and a private plunge pool just outside. All rooms have Nespresso coffee machines, excellent wifi and a DVD player with a choice of movies. There are locally-sourced snacks, onsite filtered water, a fully stocked mini-bar, fluffy towels to take down to the pool and fun extra touches. Even the details of a jogging route laid out, should you wish.
Dinner is served in Makaron where Chef Tanja Kruger brings a creative flair to her seasonal menu with fresh, modern cuisine grounded in French influence. Makaron is airy, open and contemporary in style, yet I wasn’t to dine there. My invitation extended to her recently renovated space as a guest at her Kitchen’s Table. Here in the window, back to the restaurant floor, I was served five vegetarian courses off her selected set menu. Each was personally introduced by Tanja as she provided descriptions, background and anecdotal connections to her choices. Brave and inviting, characterised by her individual charm, each course was a palate-pleasing triumph, a celebration of the honest ingredients that Tanja pays homage to, ever balancing their real flavours on our plates. All the while the kitchen team worked in harmony, chatting to us in their quieter moments. It felt like dining with friends in their kitchen. Seriously talented friends though, in a kitchen designed by an award-winning designer, but in a friend’s kitchen nonetheless. A privilege to be offered insight into this happy creative space. It’s obvious why Tanja and Makaron are regularly listed as among South Africa’s finest.
The restaurant’s front-of-house is managed by Dean Cole alongside sommelier Esmé Groenewald. Esmé’s selection of wines (and bubbly) worked perfectly, leaving me with huge admiration for the way she puts forward the ones she knows work best, staying true to her choice. A panoramic shot would be required to do the breakfast spread of the next morning justice. I’ve never seen anything like it at a boutique hotel. Homemade yoghurt, green power veggie juices, cheeses, pastries and unrivalled eggs Benedict. Among much more. Scents of jasmine wafted in the air as we sat outside enjoying it, the gentle rustle of wind in the trees for company. This place was turning me into a foodie. Who’d have guessed? Simply put, this is one of the most stylish spots I’ve seen. Ideal location, incredible luxury, and personal touches. The sophisticated bar, outstanding restaurant, charming garden, and giant pool. The professional Spa is quiet and private. The people, lightness of touch, laughter and the way in which everything is considered. This isn’t an overnighter. It’s a place to settle in and pretend as home. At least for as long as luck allows …
Connect with Majeka House to stay in touch with their news. To book accommodation or a treatment at the Spa call: +27 21 8801512. Thank you to Ian Manley of Manley Communications who arranged my stay and dinner on a complimentary basis, in order that I too may ’taste, sleep, drink, eat, touch and celebrate’ all that Majeka House has to offer.