Tucked away in the heart on Stellenbosch, right on iconic Church Street, is a beautiful courtyard complete with giant oak trees, an idyllic swimming pool and lush green lawn. Surrounded on four sides by Oude Werf Hotel, a national heritage site and South Africa’s oldest hotel, this might be one of the winelands’ best kept secret spots.
There’s something endlessly magical about waking up to the sun illuminating the vines on a working wine farm, but every Stellenbosch trip should include a stroll through the vibey town, coffee at one of the streetside cafés, a couple of glasses of wine at a bustling wine bar as the sun goes down, dinner at one of the many great restaurants and a night in the middle of it all.
I recently spent a couple of nights at Oude Werf, shooting some images and soaking up their hospitality. It felt pretty cool staying at the oldest hotel in the country, and I love the way they’ve managed to merge the old features – like exposed original brickwork, and a giant oak tree shooting up through the ceiling of the restaurant – with the new. It feels both homey and luxurious at the same time.
One of the things I loved about Oude Werf is the food! Their signature South African plate is a trio of heritage dishes that give you a taste of what local food is all about. They also have afternoon tea every day that includes three cakes (one of which is their famous cheese cake), savoury treats and a selection of sweets, tea and coffee for just R75. The buffet breakfast is also next.level, with absolutely no calories spared!
As soon as you step out of the hotel, you’re only a minute away from a huge variety of coffee shops, restaurants, wine bars, shopping, chocolatiers, ice cream shops, and nightlife. I recommend Schoon for baked goods and coffee, De Warenmarkt for lunch and Balboa for cocktails after dark.
So next time you plan a food and wine-centric holiday, you know where to go. Of course you’re within very close proximity to Stellenbosch’s famous wine farms, so you can spend every day exploring, tasting and eating your way around.
*Thank you Oude Werf for hosting me, and giving me the opportunity to photograph your lovely hotel