About Babylonstoren

An inspired restoration of one of the oldest estates in the winelands breathed new life to the term ‘farm hotel’ . Founded in 1692 as a wine and wheat farm, Babylonstoren was skillfully restored by Karen Roos and team into a unique destination with magnificent fruit and veg gardens at its core. Karen’ s passion for Cape Dutch style and an unerring eye for design created an authentic yet contemporary restoration of this historic estate.

An inspired restoration of one of the oldest estates in the winelands breathed new life to the term ‘farm hotel’ . Founded in 1692 as a wine and wheat farm, Babylonstoren was skillfully restored by Karen Roos and team into a unique destination with magnificent fruit and veg gardens at its core. Karen’ s passion for Cape Dutch style and an unerring eye for design created an authentic yet contemporary restoration of this historic estate.

Babylonstoren has a rare integrity about it. The historic werf, with handsome buildings and unusual spatial geometry, is among the best preserved in the Cape. The traditional H-form house, storerooms, gabled henhouse and pigeon loft, wine cellar, stables and workshops, provide an insight into a self-sufficient rural past. Blessed with wild olives and oaks, some centuries old, and extensive low-slung whitewashed stone walls, the farm is fed by a stream from the Simonsberg.

The house and farm buildings have been renovated in that spirit: skillful restoration of the original fabric and feel, combined with an infusion of 21st century design. Simple, modern furnishings and an exacting choice of detail, antique, modern and whimsical, all make for timeless but generous spaces where visitors are encouraged to enjoy and share.
The interiors are plain yet utterly luxurious, a mix of modern with antique pieces and stylish touches: a Magis Puppy Dog, a canvas wardrobe, a Xavier Lust hat-stand. These touches are clearly Karen’s, but she stresses that the revitalisation of the farm is the result of a team effort by Babylonstoren’s great staff.

As a working farm, Babylonstoren’s acreage is divided between fruit orchards and vineyards, with wheat fields and even a rice paddy. The heart of the farm is a magnificent formal fruit and vegetable garden, 8 acres of abundance. Inspired by Van Riebeeck’s great garden supplying ships sailing between Asia and Europe (the reason for Dutch settlement in the Cape in the first place), it also makes a playful nod to the fabled hanging gardens of Babylon. Patrice Tarravella, who recreated the celebrated medieval monastery garden at Prieure d’Orsan in France, was the architect. And this is where hotel guests are encouraged to come down to earth, not only in exploring the garden’s riches, but also in picking whatever they fancy for preparation in the superbly equipped kitchens of suites.

There is no short supply of good food on the farm thanks to the botanical diversity of the gardens that keep Babylonstoren’s two remarkable restaurants, farm shop and bakery stocked with seasonal produce. The old cowshed and sheep kraal were converted into a cool milk-white restaurant, Babel, recently extended to double its capacity due to high demand. This is where the presiding culinary genius, Maranda Engelbrecht (award-winning stylist and food consultant to Woolworths) came up with a unique new style of menu, which focuses on fresh produce from the garden and the region. Like much else at Babylonstoren, a meal at Babel is a rediscovery of “the honest essence of things”.

The Greenhouse, a large French conservatory, is an essential experience. Here light meals are served picnic-style in wooden crates and weck glass jars, with fresh bread from the bakery. It’s a relaxed, informal experience at the rear of the garden, perfect after a self-guided walk or garden tour. The farm shop and bakery sells cheese, biltong and preserves, plus glassware and linen.There’s a Fragrance Room adjacent with an olfactory experience of fine soaps and candles.

Babylonstoren is at the heart of the wine country, with the Simonsberg mountains as backdrop and possibly the finest terroir in the Cape. The new Tasting Room opened recently to coincide with their first sparkling wine, called Sprankel. Varietals include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Shiraz, Rose and two Bordeaux blends.
Babylonstoren offers a new kind of country getaway that is very much in tune with nature, whilst every inch a luxury hotel. Here guests are encouraged to set their own pace, using the hotel’s five-star cottage suites as a base from which to explore the gardens, spa, restaurants, farm shop and tasting room. And while it remains a working farm that produces fruit for export as well as wine and olive oil, it presents a unique experience in the most magnificent of settings.

“Above all,” says Karen, “We would like visitors to ground themselves again. To enjoy the mountains all round as much as we do, pick their own healthy fruit and veg, play pétanque, swim in the plaasdam, enjoy an hour in the spa, eat a simple fresh dish at one of the restaurants, walk up the conical Babylonstoren hill, await sunset with a glass of wine in hand, and then slip in between sheets of crisp linen and drift away ... More or less.”


Babylonstoren
+27.218633852