The Winelands, South Africa
At a Glance
Beautifully restored Cape Dutch buildings
Delicious food specializing in home-made produce
Take a tour of their incredible wine cellar
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
This is a wonderful year-round destination, although bear in mind the reverse seasons in the southern hemisphere - you won’t be lying by the pool in June and July, though it will still be warm. Things can get extremely hot during their summer (December-March), with temperatures hovering around 40C.
To start planning your holiday to Babylonstoren
Babylonstoren is a beautiful and unique boutique hotel located within vineyards and orchards in the Drakenstein Valley. Envision converted Cape Dutch farm buildings as your own person cottage or enjoy a luxury suite in the converted farm house.
Babylonstoren is a perfect boutique farm hotel within vineyards and orchards in the Drakenstein Valley, between Franschhoek and Stellenbosh. Every way you look the beautiful gardens and vineyards stretch out before you in the most impressive example ever of a working farm.
This stunning property boasts a total of 22 rooms, with six one-bedroom suites in the historic manor house, three gorgeous one-bedroom cottages, and four two-bedroomed cottages which are in the traditional Cape Dutch Style with a lounge and basic kitchen. Finally there is an additional nine suites in the tastefully converted Farmhouse which can be taken over elusively. This small personalized property is ideal for either families or couples. Children can run free and explore the gardens, ride on the tractors, walk with the working ducks and collect their eggs. It’s a treasure chest of surprises; a maze, a lake with boats and a surprise water fountain. Couples meanwhile will enjoy the peace and privacy of their own cottage and sampling the delicious wine from Babylonstoren's vineyard whilst cosying up in front of their fire on chilly evenings.
Babylonstoren is also great for those with green fingers, there are eight acres of gardens with over 300 varieties of plants, creatively designed. Guests can even help with the harvesting should they so desire and gardeners can take guests on a guided visit of the garden. As well as this, it is perfect for those who are keen on organically diverse menus – the seasonal fruit and vegetables are the foundation of the menu at their renowned restaurant Babel.
From Babylonstoren wander through the farm’s extensive fruit orchards and vineyards or accompany the duck herd as they wander through the farm harvesting snails. There are seven different hiking trails extending across the property. Alternatively, borrow a bike and cycle through the vineyards, around the dams and koppie. The spa at Babylonstoren is like no other, with fresh herbs picked each morning for use in the Spa's daily rituals, and a steam room, sauna, heated jet pool and cold plunge pool to relax in before having a nibble on some ripe and delicious food and sipping fresh juices in the bamboo garden.
Babylonstoren accommodation consists of 22 rooms in converted Cape Dutch farm buildings. There are three en-suite one-bedroom guest cottages and four en-suite two bedroom guest cottages which are ideal for families. All the cottages have under-floor heating and most have fireplaces.
There are nine one-bedroom farmhouse suites, each offering plush four-poster beds, spacious bathrooms and a cast-iron stove. The farmhouse suites have access to a swimming pool, as well as a rejuvenating spa area.
For families or guests travelling in a small group, Babylonstoren’s historic Cape Dutch home, the six-bedroom Manor House is available on request only on an exclusive use basis.
Each open-plan suite has a luxurious en-suite bathroom and lounge area with thick walls, elegant gables and a hearty fireplace. The interiors take on an altogether contemporary feel when paired with the modern lines of furniture by international design brands such as Kartell, Magis, Philippe Starck and the Bourellec Bros. Bookshelves are filled with a wonderful selection of books while underfloor heating and free Wi-Fi are just a few of the things that await you. A well-stocked personalised bar fridge as well as breakfast are included in the room rate.
The pristine Cape Dutch style of our two-bedroom cottages emulate a farm stay experience with thick walls, elegant gables and a hearty fireplace. A contemporary glass cube has been seamlessly added to the 18th-century structure to house a dining and kitchen area. The interiors continue this contemporary pairing with modern four-poster beds and furniture from international design brands such as Kartell, Magis, Philippe Starck and the Bourellec Bros. Each bedroom also has a luxurious en-suite bathroom. Bookshelves filled with carefully selected books, underfloor heating and free Wi-Fi are just a few of the things that await you. Our cottages are either garden or vineyard facing. A well-stocked personalised bar fridge as well as breakfast are included in the room rate. All our two-bedroom cottages are serviced daily and come with a king-size bed, and a king or two single beds in the second bedroom.
|The Owner's House||
Our Cape Dutch homestead dates back to 1777. This exclusive house is available on request. It has five bedrooms accommodating ten guests. All rooms have a king-size bed, with two of the rooms having the option of twin beds. Rooms are serviced daily and breakfast is included in the room rate, as well as a well-stocked personalised bar fridge. The interior has been beautifully restored to its former glory, but with a definite contemporary touch. Bookshelves are filled with a wonderful selection of books and the traditional farm kitchen boasts a roaring old wood-burning stove. Guests have access to the garden at all times, with games set up on the private lawn. Curl up in front of the hearty fireplace and admire the architecture, or enjoy refreshments in the garden whilst savouring the exquisite views.
Children are welcome but there are no specific facilities except babysitting which is available on request.
Attractions kids will love in the Winelands area include Bugz Play Park, the Franschhoek Motor Museum, Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens, the Stellenbosch Toy and Miniature Museum. For a chance to see some of South Africa's abundant wildlife, the Giraffe House, the Cheetah Outreach Facility and Eagle Encounters all offer excellent days out for the little explorers.
Babylonstoren features a Spa, gym and swimming pool.
Babylonstoren offers complimentary guided vineyard and garden walks, and use of the spa facilities and gym. Spa treatments are charged additionally. There are complimentary guided cellar tours and wine tastings every day, a beautiful farm dam to canoe on, and a stroll up the Babylonstoren koppie is always worth the effort for the views. Other activities in the local area include golf, walking and hiking in the surrounding mountains, fly fishing, horse riding and hot air ballooning (only in the summer).
There is also a gym on site if you want to keep up a fitness routine during your stay. Alternatively, you could do a few laps in the swimming pool which is very refreshing in the heat of the day.
Anna Coplon (Staff)
Babylonstoren is a gem amongst the country's most beautiful region, the winelands. Unlike other vineyards accommodations in the area, Babylonstoren is also home to expansive gardens, olive oil production, a renowned restaurant, and endless activities related to the working-farm and exploring the property grounds. You and your family will surely be blown away by the wine, the food, the facilities, and the genuine warmth of the staff who will work together to provide the most personal and unique experience possible. Staying at Babylonstoren is a must.
Louisa Ross-Taylor (Staff)
Babylonstoren is a stylish boutique hotel located on a beautiful wine estate about a 20 min drive from the pretty winelands town of Fraanchoek. The cottages are the former workers cottages which have been exquisitely refurbished with a minimalist white decor. The new farm house suites are aimed at adults and are located in the former Cape Dutch style farmhouse which has a cosy library/sitting room and a swimming pool and there is also a vitality pool, sauna, salt room and steam room which all guests can use.
We also had a chance to explore the estate following the hiking trail map, the paths running between the vines as well as the immaculately laid out gardens - with everything from fruit and vegetables to lavender. I would also highly recommend visiting the spa where I had the most wonderful massage.
A 500-acre Cape Dutch winery and fruit farm dating to 1692 has been reincarnated way beyond its former glory by former Elle Decoration editor Karen Roos into the Capes most authentic and comforting farm stay. Located between Franschhoek and Paarl, this meticulously restored estate is anchored by eight acres of formal vegetable, flower, and fruit gardens. The simple, whitewashed exteriors of the 12 suites, overlooking gardens or vineyards, give little hint of the graceful interiors that mingle old and new, rustic and contemporaryfrom the posy of indigenous flowers in the bathroom, to the bookshelves packed with highbrow South African literature, to the modern glass-walled full kitchens in select suites that enable fantasy DIY farm-to-table cooking (guests can pluck their own heirloom vegetables and organic fruit on-site). For those happy to leave the cooking to the pros, Babel, a restaurant in a converted cowshed, presents a fresh daily menu whose organizing principle is seasonal colors (a red salada plate of watermelon, strawberries, beets, radishes, and mulberriesfor instance) served in a dining room or under umbrellas in a courtyard. Even the pools design reinforces the pastoral experienceit resembles a traditional farm dam.
Anna Hearn (Staff)
Babylonstoren is, in our opinion, one of the very best properties in the Winelands a beautifully restored working farm, set amidst sprawling vineyards and with a fruit and vegetable garden any Alan Titchmarsh fan would die for rows and rows of perfectly planted peach, pear and apple trees jostle for position with billowing borders of lavender (six different types!) and thyme which scents the air as you walk. Guests are actively encouraged to go and forage in the garden for anything which takes their fancy, and on arrival each cottage is given an organic fruit box (complete with strawberry plant) to graze upon. If that was not enough, the farm has an artisan baker producing delicious breads and all manner of home made cakes, and there is a cold cheese room where guests can sample a variety of different cheeses and try the farms very own handmade biltong utterly delicious! The rooms are a delight light and airy, elegant and simple, very country style with cream and white walls and luxurious bathrooms each is high ceilinged, and deliciously cool. Choose to have supper at Babel, Babylonstorens signature restaurant (buy the cookbook afterwards!) and enjoy lunch at their informal tea shop. We loved every single minute of our visit to Babylonstoren and were very sad to leave this is one place where we will definitely be returning for personal holidays.
Sarah Clegg (Staff)
Babylonstoren is an absolute gem of a property. It is located 15 minutes outside of Franschhoek on a 200 acre farm in the most spectacular of settings. Craggy mountains rise up from the edge of the farm lending the place an amphitheatre like atmosphere.
The gardens are extensive and beautifully kept, endless beds of vegetables, salads, and the largest herb garden I have ever seen, lead into orchards heavy with a wide diversity of fruit.
The staff are warm and welcoming, big smiles and the very real sense that they love working here, it is easy to let yourself be swept away with the surrounding enthusiasm for this place.
Each cottage has been beautifully designed in a clean and contemporary design, nothing fussy but supremely comfortable. Each cottage is built on the foundations of the old farm workers accommodation. The large four poster beds, huge bath tubs and glass walled kitchens, leading out on to a small private garden seem to fit in with the context of the farm and its history.
What I really loved about Babylonstoren was the constant surprises the popped up as you roamed the farm. There's an amazing little spa, with a hammam, a 'chill-out 'room and an indoor exercise pool with a jet for swimming against. Around the corner, an old reservoir has been turned into an outdoor pool with a few sun-loungers along the side. Out on the farm you can borrow canoes or rowing boats and go for a paddle on the dam, or head up the koppie for a picnic. Back at the main buildings there's an amazing farm shop you could spend hours in, a butchers, a cheesemaker, a vast cool room full of drying biltong, I could go on, and I haven't even mentioned Babel...
Dominic Atterton (Staff)
Located halfway between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek Babylonstoren is all about food and wine. A working farm, its like a trip into the South African river cottage. The gardens are full of seasonal produce all of which goes into making their restaurant Babel on of the most talked about in South Africa at the moment. There are turkeys, donkeys and ducks roaming around the traditional Dutch Cape farm buildings. Its a lovely place for children to be.
The rooms are a mixture of the same Dutch Cape style and something more modern, each with an open plan glass kitchen and dining area attached. The idea here is to cook for yourself making the most of the fantastic ingredients that abound. There is also a spa complete with a brand new Hammam, which would be the ideal way to wallow away the afternoon. Its not a place for everyone, but for anyone who loves food and the outdoor life its a unique gem.
Nowhere else in the Cape Winelands do the worlds of contemporary and historical South Africa collide with such style. Until a decade ago, this 17th-century estate was run as a fruit farm. Then former magazine editor Karen Roos got her hands on it and it was soon the freshest, chicest guesthouse in the country. Babylonstoren still operates as a farm, but now the whitewashed, thatched workers cottages are guestrooms, with cool rooms that have panoramic views of soaring mountains. The gardens the star, full of pretty parterres, lavender-hedged paths, olive groves housing beehives, walls hanging with multicoloured pumpkins, miles of dreamy roses and a sea of red (beets, cabbage, rhubarb and peppers). There are more than 200 acres of vineyards, orchards and a spring-water reservoir to swim in, a simple, deliciously natural spa and a minimalist former cowshed with a look as inventive as the food within multicoloured salads, yummy passion-fruit cakes and melon, ginger and lemongrass juices straight from the garden. Groups are occasionally permitted to rent the grand 1777 Cape Dutch farmhouse, featured regularly in interiors magazines. Its a kitchen-garden wonderland, the air thick with butterflies and the whiff of rosemary.
The foothills of the Drakenstein do not provide the Cape Winelands' most jaw-dropping panorama, but Babylonstoren doesn't need views to take your breath away. One of the Cape's oldest and most historically significant properties, it is now a hotel, converted by local style-maker Karen Roos. An hour's drive from Cape Town and a great base for a few days' wine tasting, Babylonstoren is a 250-hectare working fruit farm, with 12 sophisticated cabins and eight acres of imaginative contemporary gardens (with more than 300 varieties of edible plants) flanking a perfect Cape Dutch farmyard. The whitewashed cottages on either side of an oak-lined avenue are low-key, but marry Milanese sophistication with local design; and six of them have state-of-the-art kitchens. Meals can be taken in Babel, the hotel's brilliant restaurant, or in your cottage; you can pick the ingredients for dinner from the garden and prep them yourself, or enlist the help of a chef. Come here to amuse yourself, to immerse yourself and marvel at nature and cultivation from the comfort of a bamboo lounger at the raised swimming pool, before having a massage at the spa. It's an intimate oasis, a new-style retreat with old-school values and compelling charm.
Boschendal Estate is one of the oldest wine producers in the New World, incorporating French viticulture heritage. This is also the site of the original Cape Dutch Manor House, with history dating as early as 1685.
Stroll through a beautifully landscaped indoor garden as brightly-coloured butterflies flutter around you
Cable car trip to the peak of Table Mountain
Table Mountain, at 1086 metres above sea level, forms the impressive backdrop to Cape Town. An impressive natural landmark with a 3km flat plateau at the summit, a cable car trip to the top is the best way to experience its breathtaking views.
Cape Peninsula - Active
Explore the Cape Peninsular with its local fishing villages and surfing beaches. Snorkel or stand up paddle board in rock pools near penguin colonies before venturing deep into the Peninsula reserve to discover the rich wildlife inhabiting this area.
Cape Peninsula - Family
This guided day out is perfect for the whole family with treasure hunts in Kirstenbosch Gardens, fishing in Kalk Bay, stand up paddle boarding with penguins and game viewing in the Cape peninsula reserve.
Cape Town Essentials
Our specialist guide will take you through the highlights of Cape Town, including the Green Market Square, Grand Parade, City Hall, Castle of Good Hope, Slave Lodge, Company's Garden, District 6 and Bo-Kaap.
Chocolate & Wine Pairing
This is a unique opportunity to learn how to pair sweet wines with delicious chocolates at Waterford Estate.
Cycling in Devon Valley
This half-day trip allows you to take in the picturesque view of Devon Valley, working off the delicious calories from the region's famous four-course gourmet at Clos Malverne, paired with wine tastings at two award-winning estates.
Dine at Babel
A trip to the Winelands is not complete without visiting Babylonstoren. A walk through the gardens is a fantastic experience, time your visit to take advantage of Babel's opening times. Lunch here is not to be missed!
Dinner reservation at Tokara
This evening we have booked you a table at Tokara.
Enjoy a guided tour of Thandi Estate to visit the orchards and interact with the local community.
Hike Jonkershoek: Panorama Circuit
Follow the famous Panorama Circuit, trekking around 17km or approximately 6 hours through some of the most exceptional views of the Cape Peninsula.
Hike Jonkershoek: Sossyskloof
This scenic trail takes you through 7.2km or approximately 2.5 hours to a scenic lookout point.
Hike Jonkershoek: Tweede Waterval
For those looking for a relatively easier trek in Jonkershoek, trek around 6.5km or approximately 2 hours to a beautiful hidden waterfall.
Huguenot Memorial Museum
Situated in the beautiful Franschhoek valley, the museum narrates the story of Huguenots's arrival in the Cape, how they survived and contributed to the newly-established nation.
Le Quartier Lounge Bar
Le Quartier Lounge Bar is a recently opened, stylish cocktail bar at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek. Mixologist, Matthew Roberts is quickly making it Franschhoek's evening 'hot spot' with his unique, African-inspired cocktails.
Out and about at Babylonstoren
There is so much to explore on the 200 acres of this working farm, get out with the family to wander through the vines or orchards and head up the koppie for a picnic.
Penguins at Boulders Beach
There are few places on earth where you can enjoy an experience quite like this. Get up close to the breeding colony of penguins, share their little sandy beach and even paddle into the sea to swim with them.
Private guided Winelands tour - Full Day
Exploring the Winelands with a private guide comes highly recommended. Not only do you avoid the question of who's driving, but you'll be taken to some hidden gems you'd never find in a guidebook, and the tour can be completely tailored to your interests.
The Garden at Babylonstoren
Take the opportunity to explore the wonderful acres of Babylonstoren's gardens. Team up with the gardeners for a fun and interactive experience.
Waterford Estate Vineyard Safari
Waterford Wine Estate, in the heart of Stellenbosch offers a range of tours for visitors, including a Wine Safari Tour in a safari style Land Rover, a Wine and Chocolate Tasting Tour and a Reserve Vintage Tasting Tour.
Wine at Babylonstoren
Enjoy an interactive tour of a working wine farm. Babylonstoren take you from the grape to the finished product. The enthusiasm and commitment to the Babylonstoren ideal shines through on this tour.
Southern Africa in Ultimate Luxury
Cape Town, Winelands, Sossusvlei, Skeleton Coast, Okavango Delta
from £17300 pp inc flights & transfers for 14 nights
- Takes in many of southern Africa's highlights, including Cape Town, the Okavango Delta and Namibia's hauntingly beautiful Skeleton Coast.
- Varied activities including riding safaris, boat safaris, game-drives, quad biking, optional hot air balloon flights and wine tasting.
- Contrasting landscapes of the waterways of the Okavango Delta and Namibia's arid deserts.
Location & directions
The Winelands, South Africa
Babylonstoren lies in the Drakenstein Valley between Franschhoek and Paarl. Surrounded by the Simonsberg, Du Toitskloof and Franschhoek Mountains, Babylonstoren is in the heart of the Cape Winelands.
How to get there
12-hour international flight to Cape Town International Airport. Babylonstoren is some 60km from the city of Cape Town and an easy 45-minutes drive from Cape Town International Airport. Transfers can be arranged by the hotel.
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