“Opulent living in this Cape Dutch country house set deep in a tranquil valley on a working wine estate, 1 hour from Cape Town”
The 7 bedroom suites are as palatial and elegant as you could hope, yet still homely and airy. Wonderfully chic touches include leather cases housing the tea/coffee sets, pewter vases with fresh roses, delicate china trinket boxes and deluxe Malée toiletries.
Upstairs in the thatched main house are 3 loft rooms which share a communal lounge - perfect for a family or group of friends, who could take over the entire floor. They're surprisingly cool in summer and, being a little darker, quite a relief from the midday glare too; in winter they're wonderfully cosy. Although the rooms' footprint is generous, those over 6ft (1.8m) should watch out for overhead beams between the rooms.
Downstairs are the 3 Elegant Suites, each with a private patio, lounge and dining area. Their bathrooms are definitely a highlight. They have 2 entrances as well as double wash units, each with a generous basin and drawers. Huge mirrors in gilded wooden frames sit on top of the cabinets and stretch up to the ceiling, while the freestanding clawfooted bathtub sits under an entire wall of mirrors (if you don't like looking at yourself, book a loft room!). A large shower opposite is separated by cheerfully striped footstools.
A little way from the manor house is the Romantic Cottage, with 2 bathrooms (1 with a shower, 1 with a jet bathtub), a large and gorgeous lounge and dining area, and a long staircase leading up to a romantic loft bedroom.
Wherever you stay, expect kingsize beds (some are extra long), luxurious 300-count bed linens, allergy-free down duvets and pillows, iPod docking stations with a radio and alarm clock, and chocolates at turn-down. Bathrooms have underfloor heating, heated towel rails and both a shower and a bathtub.
Breakfast is a truly decadent affair: help yourself to a buffet of healthy mueslis, nuts and yoghurts, tuck into continental breads and pastry goodies with homemade jams and juicy fruit… then fling caution to the wind with pancakes or omelettes from the hot menu, or even a full Wellington breakfast (same as the English one but all ingredients are sourced and produced in Wellington).
If you’re staying put for the day, the kitchen will whip up a delicious light lunch or snack for you. A good idea is to picnic on the estate, so alert the kitchen in advance, or have a chat with co-owners and hosts Angelo and Tina Casu, and they will arrange a basket of goodies (or a backpack if you’re hiking or biking). Alternatively, ask them about the wine farms in the short meander towards Stellenbosch - most serve food, and there are more options just down the road in Wellington town centre.
Come back in time for tea and you'll find dainty pastries and delicious rolls filled with salad, ham and goats cheese. Later on, guests get together over a glass of sparkling wine, or one of Doolhof’s own award-winners from the free bar, whilst savouring the magnificent sunsets on the veranda, or the warmth of the fireside on winter nights.
Then sit down to a romantic 3-course table d’hôte menu which leans toward locally-sourced ingredients like game (eland, springbok, gemsbok) and fresh seafood. The Cape has an eclectic culinary history drawing on tastes from Europe and Asia, so each night is quite a gourmet adventure. You’ll be presented with the menu upon arrival (or at breakfast), so let the kitchen know if you have any special requests or food allergies, or if there’s anything that you don’t eat.
If you want to try dinner at a local restaurant, try Oude Wellington, or if you don't mind driving a bit further, there's the Grand Roche Hotel and Terra Mare Restaurant in Paarl (20-25 minutes' drive).