Surrounded by the Simonsberg, Du Toitskloof and Franschhoek Mountains, Babylonstoren is an exceptionally well-preserved Cape Dutch farm set on 750 hectares of farmland in the heart of historic winelands in the Drakenstein Valley. The manor house dates back to 1777 and the farm itself even further back, to 1690.
Accommodation is provided in beautifully renovated farm buildings, which include grain stores, cellar and fowl houses. There are 6 one-bedroom suites, 5 one-bedroom and 8 two-bedroom cottages, 9 one-bedroom farmhouse suites and 4 en suite two-bedroom cottages. The two exclusive 5-bedroom manor and family houses are available for up to 10 guests.
Food & service
Take meals in the flagship Babel Restaurant or under oak trees in the Greenhouse. If you prefer, each guest cottage has an area for private al fresco dining. The menu offers seasonal dishes reflecting the bounty of the fruit and vegetable gardens (you can even pick your own – secateurs and gardening gloves provided!). The emphasis is on fresh food cooked simply so as to preserve flavours.
Visitors report especially thoughtful and attentive service, with specific dietary requirements readily met as well as wellies and umbrellas provided during rain! Also noted, a shared enthusiasm among the staff for the history of the place and for ongoing garden and farming projects.
Rooms are refreshingly cool in summer and with under-floor heating and open fireplaces, wonderfully cosy in winter. The aesthetic reflects the traditions of the place with its ornate gables, thatched roofs and soft whitewashed walls.
Facilities available include a spa with plunge pool, steam room, sauna and treatment rooms as well as a gym that overlooks the garden. Free Wi-Fi is also available, which has a relatively good speed.
Activities include cycling, swimming, canoeing, mountain drives, fly fishing and rowing in the farm dam, guided tours of the orchards, private gardens and vineyards, and duck herding (!). Guests can also enjoy sundowner trips up to Signal Hill, private lunch in The Spice Room or guided wine cellar tastings at the wine museum. Alternatively, simply wander the grounds on your own for relaxation – there are hammocks for reading.
Babylonstoren is a member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI).