Just an hour’s drive from Cape Town lies Babylonstoren, one of the Cape’s oldest and most historically significant properties. A private homestead until 2010, it was recently converted to 12 cottage property, owners making sure to preserve its original 17th and 18th century Cape Dutch architectural style. Each of the immaculately restored whitewashed cottages have ornate gables and thatched roofs, decorated with care by owner Karen Roos, former editor of Elle Décoration in South Africa.
The elegantly simplistic interiors are pleasantly cool in summer and heated by open stone hearths in winter. Set on a 692 acre working fruit farm comprised of vineyards, fruit groves and 12 acres of contemporary gardens with more than 300 varieties of edible plants, visitors are promised an unexpected combination of aesthetic and culinary gratification. Guests are encouraged to pick their own salads to eat at the hotel’s restaurant, Babel, a converted cowshed offering a bevy of locally sourced seasonal produce. Even the pool’s design reinforces the pastoral experience – it resembles a traditional farm dam.