“Fabulous historic homestead with rooms and a self-catering cottage, set on a working farm and nature reserve with a lake, mountains, and vineyards beyond”
The 5 comfortable bedrooms have been individually styled using designer fabrics and crisp white linens. Polished wooden floors, original family antiques and paintings give the farmhouse a warm, homely feel and the overall style is fresh, elegant country living with delightful Victorian touches. Beautiful shiny doorknobs, a generous wraparound veranda and a brolly and wellie stand at the entrance add a wonderfully colonial flair. Four, the Luxury Rooms (Agapanthus, Arum, Disa and Nerina), are inside the main house, with views over the gardens; the Orchid Suite is separate, with its own private terrace looking over the veld to the mountains.
The spacious bathrooms all have Victorian-style free-standing baths with plenty of hot water (ours had a mural of a country scene and wildflowers painted above the taps). You'll also find fluffy bathrobes, a generous selection of soft towels, and toiletries made using herbs from the surrounding fynbos.
Unseen hands place little treats in the bedrooms - a crystal decanter of sherry at dusk, a cutting of local fynbos on your pillow with a description, chocolates and weather reports for the following day at bedtime. Hot water bottles warm your bed on cold winter nights.
No children under 16 are accepted in the main house, but they're welcomed at Wild Olive House, a self-catering option in the grounds that's ideal for families and independent folk. The airy and open-plan house has cool flagstone tiles, high ceilings and French doors opening out to a shady terrace with barbecue facilities, a private garden and its own swimming pool. Inside are 2 double bedrooms, a single room which can be made up with bunk beds (ideal for small children) and 2 bathrooms. The spacious kitchen, sitting room, dining room and well-equipped kitchen provide plenty of space to spread out and relax. Meals can be an entirely private family affair, or adults can eat in the dining room at the main house whilst the children are looked after by trained babysitters.
Within the gardens of Wild Olive House is another little cottage with a double bedroom, a bathroom and a sitting room. It’s a popular sanctum for older siblings or grandparents when an entire family descends on Bartholomeus Klip.
The sumptuous food is one of the highlights of a stay at Bartholomeus Klip, and you should definitely arrive hungry! Chef Louise Gillett honed her craft in London at Chiswick restaurant Fish Hoek and, assisted by her enthusiastic team (many of whom grew up on the farm), she combines traditional French cooking with a huge dollop of local inspiration. Most of the ingredients used come from the surrounding area or straight from the farm itself, including the butter, milk, cream and yoghurt.
Meals are served in the spacious conservatory-style dining room, decorated in the evening with candles and sparkly silverware, at the deckhouse overlooking the lake and mountains, or outside on the veranda. The food is included in the rates for guests staying in the main house or the Orchid Suite; those staying in Wild Olive House can join in for an additional charge (adults only) or cook for themselves in its fully equipped kitchen.
A typical day starts at 7.45am with coffee, homemade rusks and pastries before you set off on your morning game drive. Brunch is served on your return between 10am and 11.30am - expect crunchy muesli with the farm’s own honey, creamy yoghurt and fruit, freshly baked bread and croissants, smoked salmon and savoury tarts, followed by a full English if your stomach can stretch to it.
Next stop is high tea - a feast of homemade scones, cream and jams, delicious cakes, pastries and meringues, all elegantly served on the family silver. It’s difficult to hold back from the Alice-in-Wonderland-like spread, but with nibbles on the patio at sunset and a 4-course dinner still to come, it may be prudent to rein yourself in.
A set dinner is served at 8pm and the daily-changing menu is presented at breakfast so you can convey any dietary requirements to the kitchen. You might sample minty pea soup and local salmon layered with coriander and ginger, or spicy gem squash and basil and ricotta ravioli followed by lamb with honey, lavender and a crispy potato bake. Or you might have fresh beef carpaccio drizzled with pecorino and parmesan oil, caramelised duck breast lazing on a crispy potato rosti, or a grilled kabeljou (a native fish) fresh from the sea. Dessert might be orange-scented crêpes, cream panna cotta with confit strawberries, or baked fruit crumble with homemade ice cream. Whatever the kitchen has chosen for the night, it’s destined to be sensational and will be accompanied by a good wine list full of local choices.
Lunch isn’t served as you simply wouldn’t be able to find room for it, but picnic baskets can be prepared if you're planning to go off for the day - just ask and they’ll be waiting for you on departure.
No guests under the age of 16 are allowed in the main house, but children of all ages are accepted at Wild Olive House. This is ideal for families, with 2 double bedrooms, a single room which can be set up with bunk beds, a large kitchen, living and dining areas, a private pool and a further cottage in the grounds. Adults staying in Wild Olive House can eat in the main house for an additional charge (trained babysitters are available to look after the children) and children's meals can be delivered to Wild Olive House on request.
Bikes, baby cots, a high chair and children's DVDs are available at Wild Olive House and kids can also make full use of the facilities at the deckhouse. Children's baking classes, separate morning game drives and tailored farm tours are available for families and a children's welcome pack containing colouring books, crayons and a disposable camera can be provided.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Babysitting can be arranged on request.
High chairs, baby cots and children's crockery and cutlery can be provided on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
A range of children's meals can be delivered to Wild Olive House.
Children's baking classes, special game drives and tailored farm tours are available.