“A blissfully peaceful rural retreat with superb food, close to the sea, the Winelands and the Overberg mountains (2 hours from Cape Town)”
Blue Gum has just 12 guest bedrooms: 5 spacious suites in the Manor House, 5 mountain facing cottages and 2 smaller Blue Gum Cottages, the latter are found to the side of the Manor House. Beds are big, with percale linen, duvets and a double bank of pillows.
The Manor House Suites (both Junior and Deluxe) are enormous, decorated in an Afro-colonial style with dark wooden furniture - including many family heirlooms - and ethnic prints, figurines, pots and cushions. All open onto decked verandas with long views across the valley, and the Honeymoon Suites have a private garden.
The 5 adjacent Mountain View Cottages are also cheery, light-filled spaces but here the decorative cue is more English country, with a cream and white colour scheme, pine floors and a mix of stripey and floral prints. They all have private verandas, wraparound views of the rocky Klein river range and armchairs and cosy fireplaces inside. For more space, choose the Mountain View Family Cottage which has an additional twin room.
With the exception of the Blue Gum Cottages, all bathrooms have both a bathtub and a shower - some of the bathtubs in the Manor House suites are within the main bedroom itself - and grab views out to the valley. You are treated to a full range of Earth shampoos, creams and soaps, as well as scented candles and bath salts.
There's always a vase of freshly cut fynbos flowers waiting after your day’s excursion, plus a glass of local wine and a selection of local cheeses.
It is the food that lifts Blue Gum high into the ‘special’ category; its restaurant opens to hotel guests daily, and also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner - from Tuesday to Sunday - to devoted local foodies. Head chef Isaac has many years of creative culinary experience, and resolutely sticks to a ‘keep it fresh and local’ formula when sourcing his ingredients.
His breakfasts are huge buffets, laid out in Blue Gum’s light-filled restaurant. Ours included fresh muffins, cereals and yoghurts, a whole range of delicious Cape cheeses, as well as a huge fruit salad, stewed and candied fruit, juices and a big cooked breakfast to follow. Lunch is served in the restaurant from Tuesday to Sunday, but afternoon tea is always served in the conservatory - make sure you try the homemade scones and jams.
Dinners at Blue Gum are superb: a set menu that can be adapted to meet individual dietary requirements. You dine in the rather formal restaurant or - far nicer, we think - on the garden-facing deck. Sundowners and nibbles are served here before dining. You can also order limited room service if you'd rather dine more privately.
Our starter was chicken tikka salad, followed by a fillet of the leanest beef, served on harissa potato fondant with butternut squash, beetroot and a red wine sauce - just scrummy! And dessert was a Dutch Cape classic: a rich apricot Malva pudding. The wine recommendations for each course are always listed on the menu. We followed their advice and couldn’t fault the Beaumont Chenin Blanc, nor the Raka Shiraz. Guests at Blue Gum can also try the estate’s own Cold Mountain red.
We felt Blue Gum would be a perfect place for a family holiday, the owners have 2 kids of their own and have travelled extensively with them in South Africa and Europe so they know what is required from an establishment. It's pretty easy terrain for a pushchair. There are 6 extra beds available to add to suites and cottages. All suites and cottages have bathtubs. Usefully, there's a mobile phone signal everywhere in property. Children under 10 are not allowed in the Manor House rooms.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
To the side of the Manor House, there are 2 Mountain View Family Cottages; each has a double room and a twin room plus space for a rollaway bed and a baby cot. Adjacent, the Mountain View Cottages can accommodate an extra bed and a baby cot. The Blue Gum Cottages are also a good choice for families with older children as the rooms can be made up as doubles or twins, and they can interconnect. Both of these room options offer privacy for the parents and the child as they have their own bedroom. If the child is younger the Mountain View Cottages are better as they are adjoining rooms. For the older child the Blue Gum cottages are better.
Babysitting is available by arrangement, the sitter will be English speaking.
Baby monitors available to borrow
Baby cots are available on request - there are 4 available. High chair, pram or pushchair to borrow, children's backpack (to carry a toddler in), baby bedding, potty, baby bath.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Food is available all day. Children under 12 are not allowed in the dining room after 7.30pm, but a children’s supper is served a couple of hours before dinner, and of course if your child has particular likes or dislikes, do let them know. They can also serve half portions of adult mains for children. There's also a microwave available for guests to use for bottle warming.
There's an on-site outdoor children's play area. Bike hire is available, with smaller bikes for kids. Kids will also love the pool which has a shallow end. There are games consoles to borrow, plus children's DVDs and a playroom with toys and books.
Farm animals can be seen at the local cheese farm which has a petting zoo. Horse riding also nearby.
The pool is unfenced. The nearest doctor is about 10 minutes away.