When I’m craving a little luxury and relaxation, I always head straight to the winelands. One of the best things about living in Cape Town is that we’re less than an hour away from some of the most beautiful countryside and delicious food in South Africa. Franschhoek is so beautiful at this time of year, with vineyards heavy with bright green leaves, and even though the drought in Cape Town is an ongoing crisis, it rained in Franschhoek this weekend!
Staying at La Clé Country Lodge in Franschhoek
My ideal weekend includes food, wine, naps and ideally some sort of relaxing activity like swimming or a spa treatment. All of this and more can be found in the exquisite Franschhoek valley. We were invited to spend a night at the stunning new La Clé Country Lodge, which is a low-key luxury property blending country charm with modern design.
La Clé Country Lodge is located on a working wine farm, in the town itself, so it’s just a short walk from the shops and restaurants that line the main road. It was designed by Jacques Erasmus of the gorgeous Hemelhuijs restaurant, and the interiors have that comfortable luxury that makes you feel like you’re home – if your home was a professionally decorated country lodge on a wine farm.
There are only 5 bedrooms, which can be rented on an exclusive basis for a weekend away with family or friends, or on a single room basis. Guests have breakfast together around the dining table, and have the option to chill at the pool, read in the living room or walk the expansive property. Of course, you’re surrounded by wine farms and restaurants, so you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to getting out and about.
Lunching at Haute Cabriére
Known for their deliciously drinkable Chardonnay Pinot Noir and (everyone’s favourite) Pierre Jordan MCC, Haute Cabriere is one of my firm favourites. The views from the property are breathtaking whether there’s sunshine or rain and now that they’ve added a tapas menu to their tasting room offering, there’s no reason to ever leave.
I have been a fan of Chef Nic van Wyk’s cooking since his restaurant Bistro13 opened in Stellenbosch, so I was very happy to be invited to eat his food again at his new restaurant. The menu features a variety of meat, fish and bruschetta options, as well as a couple of sides (hello, tripple fried chips!) and a cheese board. We ordered duck arancini, curry dusted squid, white anchovies and pickled peppers on bruschetta, mushroom and truffle duxelles, those tripple fried chips and the cheese board and we didn’t eat again until late that evening.
Everything was delicious – literally everything! It would be easy to spend a whole day outside under the umbrellas, or inside next to one of the huge fireplaces, ordering bottle after bottle of wine and eating small plates until sundown.
Relaxing at the Babylonstoren Spa
My favourite way to spend any given day is at Babylonstoren. I particularly love their magnificent spa, which is the epitome of farm luxury and natural beauty. The treatments are incredible (their Hammam treatment is the most wonderful spa treatment I’ve ever had) but I would be willing to pay just to use the facilities.
The spa is spread out within an intricate bamboo forest, with an outdoor farm pool, private chill spaces, an elevated hot spa pool, heated outdoor spa pool and sauna. The farm has access to mountain runoff water as well as a borehole, and all the water is reused.
If ever I have a day off, it’s my favourite place to go. Keenan got me a voucher for our anniversary, so we arrived early for our couples massage and spent the morning swimming and sunbathing. I love how every detail at Babylonstoren has been thought through – from the Ãesop products in the change rooms to the fresh herbs used in their treatments, which are grown on the property itself.
All in, it was a truly relaxing weekend away.
*Our stay at La Clé Country Lodge as well as our tapas lunch were hosted. As always, all my opinions remain honest and I would never tell you something was wonderful if it wasn’t, in fact, truly wonderful.