The Fynbos Cottages
Few incidences in life lead to complete detox. Your iPhone dying, forgetting your laptop charger in your hotel room, leaving you stranded for the next 6 hours during your layover and, spending a night at the Fynbos Cottages at Babylonstoren. Breathtakingly benevolent and boasting beauty beyond boundaries, Babylonstoren has created a culture of curious and expectant tourists all year round. Meeting the demands of the eager visitors is the easy part for the farm, however, visitor’s abstinence from the farm is the farm’s greatest difficulty. You’ll find individuals visiting the working farm multiple times per month! Read below and find out why you’ll be visiting the all-organic farm soon.
The Fynbos Cottages are the newly opened guesthouses. Situated 10-minutes on the upper levels of the farm, the cottages are your secluded piece of paradise-utter sensory detox.
Not to fear, along with your complete sensory detox, you’ll be served with complete freedom in the form of a golf cart. You’ll be able to travel to remote areas of the farm, manoeuvre through the masses with ease and be shaded while travelling throughout the large farm. The Garden Cottage guests, located at the level of the working farm, restaurants and Spa, will be provided with bicycles. You, on the other hand, will be able to roam the farm with the crisp air blowing through your hair, leaving you looking like a Pekinese – smile included. Guests staying at Garden Cottages will live among the crowds of visitors who enter the farm as early as 8 am. If you prefer to be immersed within the farm-life, including being woken up by a real rooster, not your iPhone, these cottages are your best bet! We had previously stayed at these Cottages.
Each room is equipped with a kitchen, unlike some of the Garden Cottages. The kitchen area has an entrance point into the cottage too, where the golf cart is parked. A small library with novels, world Atlases and board games are available in the room. Unlike the Garden Cottages, the Fynbos cottages are more well-lit and the Feng Shui of the room lends itself to one of free-living. An entrance at both ends allows the youthful to dart out the kitchen entrance to the golf cart and explore the farm, while those seeking scenes of serenity, silence, and solitude accomplish this at the patio-while enjoying some of the most accomplished wines of the Cape.
We preferred the Fynbos Cottages over the Garden Cottages. Situated away from all the farm’s visitors and restaurants, there was not a murmur of noise. A twinkle of a rock rabbit’s noise would send ripples through wine glasses. The cottage, equipped with the kitchen is ideal for those travelling with children or those preferring to prepare sandwiches for the day ahead. Condiments may be purchased at the Farm Shop, located at the Farm.
Those that find using a golf cart to travel between to and fro the farm may not prefer the Fynbos Cottages. The travel time is only 10 minutes at a leisurely pace. We do find this level of collateral worthy of staying at the Fynbos Cottage. We found it much easier to disconnect with the world.
Fishing, kayaking, and digital detox are on the menu at the Boathouse. All equipment is available, including life jackets. There is no live supervision unless asked for. This area, especially during the early morning and late afternoon, is a romantic spot or a tranquil space for individuals. Slowly streaming down the dam, without a damn, was the highlight of my stay.
Along with the Boathouse, the exclusive pool area is an absolute reason for choosing The Fynbos Cottages over The Garden Cottages. The pool area does not allow day-spa-visitors from using this area, unlike the pool at the Garden Spa Area. The Fynbos Pool Area is equipped with a complimentary minibar. Red, white and rosé wines, gin and tonics, Nespresso coffees, Coca-Cola and other refreshments are meters away from the pool area. This is not so at the Farm Spa area. The Fynbos Pool Area does not have a sauna and steam room, however. A trade for exclusivity and convenience.
Swimming Pool and Bar
As stated, no day-visitors have access to the Fynbos Pool Area. Guests staying at The Fynbos Cottage can use the Garden Spa Area, which is shaded and is equipped with a gym. Both pool and jacuzzi are both heated-which won’t leave you feeling blue, when skies are grey. The images speak for itself.
Babel Dinner and Breakfast
I sleep like a squirrel during winter. I have my food around me, burrowed underneath the sheets and only see daylight at 11 a.m. As most of us do right? Breakfast, at Babel, has this auspicious nature about it which always seems to have me dressed by 7:30 am. Days seem much more manageable when starting the day off at Babel!
Whether we’re travelling to Babel through the early morning mist or heading to breakfast with only the sound of the electric golf cart, the destination is always greater than the sum of the efforts! Haute harvest is perfectly picked and decadently displayed each and every time at Babel. Babel’s golden child is its harvest table, reserved for seasonal fruits and vegs, freshly cultured in-house cheeses and served along with home-made bread and pastries.
Babel always remains true to the farm’s organic eating practices. Farm-to-table practices, involving represents produce which is hand-reared and only picked in season, are fused with epicurean modernity places Babel at the top of our list of favourite restaurants – along with Hotel Florhof (Switzerland).
Spa & Hammam Experience
The illustrious Babylonstoren Spa team treated us to their Hammam Spa Treatment. Intimate, encapsulating and unadulterated. A full body exfoliation, half body massage and specialized techniques aimed at rejuvenating the skin are what you can expect from this treatment. What you wouldn’t expect is the treatment taking place within a large steam room! Yes, the treatment does not take place within a conventional 4 walled, 2 bedroom layout. Rather, a large all-marble steam room, with a marble bed within the middle of the room where one by one you engage with the therapist during the ritual. I do not want to alter the experience by releasing the intricacies. I can, however, highly recommend this treatment to couples as a romantic gesture.
When booking a treatment at Baylonstoren, you receive complimentary access to the outdoor pool, indoor heated pool and jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and salt room. Complimentary water is scattered around the Spa and one is able to order food and drinks from The Greenhouse. The Spa area was on my must-visit list. I should have taken the leap months prior.
If you’re looking for a romantic day out in the Winelands, wanting to treat your parents, recently-graduated child or looking for a day outing with the entire family, I’d recommend the Baylonstoren Spa. It is your best value for money! For those looking for that something extra, pair with the unequivocal Tea Ritual at the farm – which is adjacent to the Spa area. Ample eats are also provided during the Tea Ritual, which is convenient and a healthier alternative to the food options at The Greenhouse. The Greenhouse serves the masses, in our opinion. The menu would not be something we would indulge in after a Spa treatment. If you wouldn’t like to add the Tea experience, be sure to make a booking at Babel for a lunch-an experience which evolves any occasion.
The Fynbos Cottages serve their purpose of marooning guests, welcoming exclusivity, privacy, freedom and exploration. We prefer the amenities located in the upper part of the farm. The induction of independence and inconceivable serenity contrasts the Garden Cottage lifestyle – which is most welcome!
The Garden Cottages imbed individuals within the heart of the working farm. Staff members are always able to assist within minutes, you are able to pick the garden for fresh snacks, have close access to the restaurant and Spa area and the Deli stores. Personally, we’ll continue to trade a 10-minute journey for absolute seclusion and stillness – something we rarely experience in our day-to-day.
Thinking about it, actually, how many working farms are there in South Africa that offer such amenities? It’s so easy to overlook Babylonstoren’s offering as standard ones at any hotel. Spa, gym, swimming pool, restaurant. How many establishments embedded these colloquialisms within a working farm, bursting with flowers, fruits, vegetables from all parts of the globe tethered with a winery and vanity centre? Not many. Undoubtedly, still one of my top getaways.
P.S. If you’re planning a trip to Babylonstoren in the upcoming weeks, head to their newly opened Scent and Lekker Room. At the Scent Room, you are able to create your very own face masks and body scrubs – it’s an extremely affordable and fun experience. The Lekker Room is a real treat! Follow the roasted-nuts scent in the air, and you’ll be sure to find it. Here, you can try and purchase a selection of nuts, chocolates and so much more.