The guest suites echo Cape Dutch farm buildings. The style developed in the Cape Colony of the 17th and 18th century: outer walls are whitewashed and decorated with ornate gables and thatched roofs. Interiors are pleasantly cool in summer (due to thick walls) and are heated by open hearths in winter.
Babylonstoren has an exceptionally well-preserved werf. It consists of a main residence, old cellar, koornhuis (where wheat and hay was stored) and row of service buildings, bell tower, ornate fowl pen and dove cote surrounded by the traditional low whitewashed walls. Some of these have been converted into guest accommodation, while a disused kraal was turned into our restaurant, Babel.
A garden of diversity pays tribute to the gardening traditions of the Cape. For centuries this was the halfway station between Europe and Asia, where ships would replenish with sweet water, vegetables and fruit. Homage is paid to this tradition, and the garden at Babylonstoren contains echoes of the famous Companies Garden at the Cape.
Restored Labourer’s cottages
Open all year
The days are intentionally unscripted at Babylonstoren, leaving guests free to do as they please. Stroll out onto the farm of 200 hectares and see fruit being picked in the orchards or vines being pruned – depending on the season. Enjoy a walk in the remarkable fruit and vegetable garden (guided if you feel like learning, or unguided for relaxation). Pick your own salad or enjoy a meal in the superb restaurant. Perhaps a massage in the spa after lunch? Or a stroll along a clivia lined stream? Then a swim in the farm dam or a bout in the gym, before sundowners at a picnic spot? Or rather sample some of the excellent wines grown on the slopes all around the Simonsberg, possibly the finest terroir for wine in Africa? You can choose. Or simply lounge and read, in summer in a hammock strung among tree trunks, in winter curled up before a fire.