Bloomestate

Swellendam, Hermanus & Overberg, South Africa Book from R1450

A luxurious Zen-inspired retreat in a leafy suburb of historic Swellendam
Midway between Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay, Swellendam is a natural place to break up your journey along the Garden Route. This sleepy town in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains has some of South Africa’s finest Cape Dutch architecture, and the surrounding hillsides are home to some of the country's best preserved fynbos.

Bloomestate is tucked away behind high walls in a quiet leafy suburb, whose peacefulness it shares. The layout of its 4 low, modern buildings, separated by neatly cut lawns, towering trees and beds of lavender, was inspired by the low, sober lines of classic Cape Dutch architecture. But its design and décor represent a complete break with tradition: the best of Noughties design with a big twist of Zen minimalism. Every corner of its colourful guest bedrooms and gardens has been conceived with maximum aesthetic appeal in mind, and Carla and Maarten’s fusion of state-of-the art fittings and contemporary furnishings is as remarkable as it is original.

Highs

  • The leafy, lawned garden feels like a real safe haven and is really conducive to R&R
  • Great contemporary design in the 7 vivid, comfortable bedrooms
  • The guest lounge, dining room and bedrooms all are light and airy thanks to a maximum number of windows
  • Swellendam is one of the prettiest towns along the Garden Route
  • Bloomestate is excellent value and you get a whole lot of comfort for your Rands

Lows

  • No meals other than breakfast and light lunches (e.g. salad)are on offer; but you are right next door to a decent restaurant and there are several more good eateries in town
  • You hear the faint rumble of the N2 coastal highway when sitting out in the garden
  • The terraces outside the rooms lack tables and chairs, but there are patios with benches

Best time to go

This part of South Africa has a climate very similar to that of the Mediterranean with long, hot summers, mild springs and autumns, and the possibility of rain, or even occasionally snow, during the Cape winter (June and July). The Garden Route can get busy during the months of January, February and March, so book well ahead if you plan to travel at this time of year.

Our top tips

Swellendam makes for a natural stopover if you are travelling the Garden Route between Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay. If you are planning just to see the town, a night or 2 would be enough, but book at least 3 if you want to explore the national parks or use Bloomestate as a springboard for the beaches of the Indian Ocean.

Great for...

Family
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 7
  • Breakfast only
  • Children aged 8 and over welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Cool, contemporary and chic, Bloomestate's 7 guest bedrooms are also exceptionally comfortable. The Luxury Garden Rooms (extra-length kingsize or twin beds) are housed in a 2 low buildings which looks out across the neatly tended lawns and lavender beds to an ornamental pond. Red Cloud also has a kingsize bed and has the added edge of a huge ensuite with twin red basins and clever in-room LED, sensor lighting.

Rooms are named after seasons and colours; each has a wall painted in a colour inspired by its name - like orange for Summer or lime green for Spring - with cushions, blankets and jazzy, splashy paintings in the same colours. The furnishings in each room are identical: a swish slatted headboard and a bedside table, a white wooden wardrobe and a writing desk, creamy screed floors and some classic retro pieces - Mies van der Rohe's iconic black leather and chrome chairs, Eileen Gray's circular glass and chrome table.

Bathrooms are big and functional, almost clinical in feel, with plain white mosaic tiles, underfloor heating, freestanding bowls, a bathtub and a walk-in shower, as well as designerish taps and fittings.

Beyond the chalky grey French windows is your own private slice of terrace beneath the stylish loggia, which runs the length of each building’s façade.

Features include:

  • Wifi internet
  • Tv
  • Cd player
  • Dvd player
  • Ipod dock
  • Wifi internet
  • Safe box
  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Terrace
  • Minibar
  • Coffee tea making

Eating

Breakfast is served in the dining room of the main house, which has been decorated in the same colourful, contemporary vein as the bedrooms. Light floods in from its high French windows, mingling with the sound of a trickling Zen fountain. Unusually for South Africa, you'll be served by your hosts themselves, who will also help you plan your day's activities.

After kicking off with freshly squeezed orange juice, Carla and Maarten offer a big buffet of cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit salad, local cheeses, cold meats, muffins and a selection of freshly baked breads, as well as black rye bread from Holland. And you'll be offered a different gourmet dish each day, which is prepared by Maarten and beautifully presented on sleek square plates of white porcelain.

No other proper meals are on offer but Carla and Maarten will happily prepare you a light lunch which can be brought to the lounge terrace, the swimming pool or to your bedroom terrace. This might be a seasonal salad served with warm garlic bread, an open sandwich, or a choice of breads and local cheeses.

Picnic hampers can also be prepared, which come complete with a map, a field guide to the local fynbos flora and fauna, and a pair of binoculars. You’re welcome to help yourself at any time to a selection of wines, including Bloomestate's own-label house wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz).

And there’s plenty of choice when it comes to eating out in Swellendam. The Old Mill restaurant is just across the street, with its lovely leafy terrace; and you’re just a short walk away from La Sosta which offers traditional Italian cusine. If you don’t mind jumping in the car (or making use of the guesthouse's restaurant transfer service), there are several more excellent eateries in the centre of town.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Food and wine
  • Minibar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Walk to restaurants
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Tour the local Robertson wine estate, stopping for lunch in its excellent restaurants
  • Head for the beach making sure to take in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, one of the country’s top whale-watching locations (mid-June - October)
  • The Breede River flows nearby, where you can fish, canoe or even go rafting in springtime
  • Hike in the Bontebok National Park or in the Marloth Nature Reserve. Both have great trails as well as amazing fynbos flora and fauna
  • Head up into the hills on a mountain bike and, if you’re really fit, to the top of the Tradouw Pass. The Langeberg Mountains are also good for horse riding
  • Take a microlight flight over the Langeberg Mountains, or, in whale and dolphin season, head to the coast for bird's eye sightings
  • Spend a lazy day exploring the old part of Swellendam. Don’t miss the Drostdy Museum which gives an insight into early settler life
  • Spoil yourself with a spa treatment, either in the Bloom treatments rooms or in the Rain Forest Day Spa - when we revisited in 2009, we thoroughly enjoyed our massage and facial. You can also try reflexology, or sit and drink bubbly in the outdoor Jacuzzi!
  • While away an afternoon with a good book and a pair of binoculars. You’ll see a lot of feathered activity in amongst Bloomestate’s greenery
  • There's a 9-hole golf course just outside Swellendam

      Activities on site or nearby include:

      • Kids activities nearby
      • Birdwatching
      • Cycling
      • Fishing
      • Food and wine
      • Golf
      • Hiking
      • Horse-riding
      • Kayaking
      • Museum
      • Plantlife
      • Rafting
      • Whalewatching
      • Wildlife
      • Wine tasting
      • Yoga
      • Mountain biking

Kids

Children aged 8 and over are welcome at Bloomestate. Teens will love the pool, the Jacuzzi and tearing about the ample gardens, although the pool is not fenced and there is no kids' pool. Some parents might feel self-conscious about disturbing the peaceful vibe but note there is plenty of space for everybody to relax and the owners have children of their own and are very kid-friendly. There's also a family lounge where children can play board games and computer games.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Luxury Garden Rooms each have a sofabed.

Kids Activities on site:


  • Pool and natural pond
  • Large playgrounds
  • Spacious grounds with lawns
  • Woods and orchards to explore
  • Board games and computers in the family lounge room

Kids Activities nearby:


  • National Parks
  • Sand dunes on the coast
  • Alpaca farm
  • Ostrich farm
  • Berry farm
  • Horse riding
  • Canoe trips
  • Fishing
  • Boat trips
  • Faery garden

Families Should Know:

The pool and natural pond is not fenced, and there is no kids' pool. Parents need to supervise kids around the open air Jacuzzi too.

Distances:

  • Airport: 2 hours (Cape Town & George Airports)
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 3 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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