“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 farm dates back to the beginning of the 17th century and was stylishly renovated in 2009 to show off its traditional Cape Dutch architecture. Inside, the manor house is exquisitely decorated with 6 opulent rooms and suites, plus a separate Romantic Cottage done up in an elegant European style - pastel wallpapers, clawfooted bathtubs, Cath-Kidston-esque fabrics - that might make you forget you're in Africa. But not for long. Sit back on the wide veranda and drink in those classic Cape views: over a valley filled with verdant paddocks, orange orchards and vineyards, up a grassy hogsback peppered by tall blue gums and ancient oaks, and towards the cliffs of the Limietberg... breathtaking. Best of all, it retains such a relaxed air that you can kick off your shoes, pour yourself a drink and pretend that you’re Lord of the Manor!
- Set in a "cul-de-sac" valley, which adds to the seclusion and intimacy of the place
- Fridges in the house and poolside, so you can help yourself to drinks without worrying about bills (even local wines are included)
- The complimentary wine tasting at the neighbouring Doolhof winery is an added treat
- We loved the complimentary high tea - a delicate foretaste of the excellent dinner menu showcasing local produce
- The vast, nouveau-Victorian bathrooms - you just have to see them!
- The Jacques Potier Suite has limited privacy, as it’s set just off the veranda and is next to the front door
- Although the valley is blissfully quiet, sounds do carry around the house
- As you’re on a farm, your room may be visited by noisy crickets
- Not child-friendly, unless you book the whole place (which - for family celebrations - would be bliss)
- Not cheap - but better value than similar places in Franschhoek (and rates include afternoon tea, wine tasting and almost all drinks)
Best time to go
Local festivals include the Wellington Harvest Festival in March, Riebeek's Olive Festival in May, its Shiraz and Art Weekend in October and its annual MedFest in March (celebrating the wine, olives and culture of the area), plus the Pinotage on Tap festival at Diemersfontein (Wellington) in October.”
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Over 12s welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
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.
Downstairs in the thatched main house 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. A large shower opposite is separated by cheerfully striped footstools.
Upstairs are the 3 loft rooms, which share a communal lounge - perfect for a family or group of friends, who could take over the entire floor. The loft rooms are less flamboyantly elegant than the suites. They are, however, ultra-stylish but with a laid back, tucked-away feel. We stayed in a Superior Loft, which boats a lovely, homely communal living area full of quirky trinkets and squashy sofas.
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, TVs hidden in elegant cabinets and chocolates at turn-down. Bathrooms have underfloor heating, heated towel rails and both a shower and a bathtub.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
- Twin sinks
- Underfloor heating
Breakfast is a truly decadent affair: help yourself to a buffet of healthy muesli, nuts and yoghurt; tuck into homemade breads and pastries with 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. Later on, guests get together over canapés and 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 fish. The Cape has an eclectic culinary history drawing on tastes from Europe and Asia, so each night is a gourmet adventure. We were treated to salmon and trout followed by steak with mustard croquettes, goat cheese mousse, beetroot and wild mushroom. Dessert was dark chocolate mousse with watermelon ice cream and candied pistachio. Sitting on the veranda and looking out across the valley while we ate made it feel all the more special.
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).
- Coffee / tea making
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Lounge by the pool, on the veranda or pick a shady spot on the lawns, and enjoy the absolute peace and quiet of the valley
- There are leisurely walks within the estate, along the river or through vineyards, as well as some pretty hardcore hikes for more active guests - rocky crags, river pools and flowering fynbos - up the Bain's Kloof Pass or in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, a short drive away
- Being part of the Doolhof Wine Estate, you can sample the full range of their award-winning wines in the tasting room; or head to any of the Cape’s famous wine routes - Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington - or the Brandy Route around Paarl and Worcester
- Explore the picturesque Riebeek Valley nearby, a favourite with artists who love the soft light and olive- and vine-studded landscapes; plenty of interesting festivals too
- Two mountain bikes are available for guests to use around the estate. Mountain biking is a serious business in South Africa so be warned, these trails aren’t for the faint-hearted!
- Horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and quad biking can be arranged nearby - all at a surcharge
- Trout fishing in Worcester, hot-air ballooning over the Swartland, paragliding and canyoning are all available nearby
- There are a few highly rated golf courses within a 45-minute drive, and guests can enjoy preferential rates at Pearl Valley Golf Club
- Go kayaking on the Breede river by Worcester (du Toitskloof Pass), 45 minutes away
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Clay pigeon shooting
- Horse riding
- Hot air ballooning
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Quad biking
- Wine tasting