The last time I was in South Africa with my family was fifteen. Needless to say, the beautiful wine country and the wine of the country it produced were somehow lost to me. While I was just entering the phase of life where you’re constantly trying to smuggle a Smirnoff ice cream, I was definitely not old enough to appreciate a really good Sauvignon. When then True to the brandKnowing one of my favorite holiday labels and asking me to go to South Africa to make their new collection for them, I knew I had to go to Franschhoek, a world famous wine region, two hours from Cape Town. And if you go to Franschhoek, you have to go Babylon blinds.
I have long heard of Babylonstoren, an almost legendary oasis in South Africa that not only offers beautiful rooms and extensive, breathtaking gardens, but also one of the most beautiful rosés I have ever had (get a bottle to drink the sun this spring ). Babylonstoren is really a great lesson in how to make unobtrusive luxury, not to mention “farm to table” in the truest sense of the word. Too often these two terms are used in the hotel and food industries, although it’s often more of a marketing trick than a philosophy. Not so with Babylon blinds, Everything revolves around the blooming gardens and vineyards. From the soap in your room to the figs with honey, which are served at sunset with a glass of white wine right outside our door, almost everything is made and grown on site. Meat and fish are sourced as locally and sustainably as possible. The whitewashed architecture of all Cape Dutch-style rooms, restaurants and outbuildings is perfect for all this sunshine and the green, flowery surroundings. From the outside, the rooms seem thick-walled and cozy, but inside they are flooded with light and high with roller baths, white four-poster beds and double glass doors on the back, which lead to a private sun trap with wood, hammock and loungers, which in the morning are served with a glass of wine or a cup of hot rooibos – beg tea. There is also an open fire for cooler evenings if you want to make yourself comfortable. After settling in, we strolled to the Greenhouse Restaurant to enjoy a chilled lunch (and some of the best potato chips ever) before looking at the gardens. I would have liked to take one of the free garden tours, but our schedule didn’t allow it this time, so we just walked around and explored on our own and came across prickly pear cactus farms, fruit trees surrounded by blue and white mosaic tiles and rows of colorful flowers and vegetables. It’s really magical with the perfectly laid out, popular gardens set against a dramatic mountain backdrop. You can also take a bike from reception and roll through the gardens on two wheels and enjoy an iced tea or lemonade in the greenhouse. After clearing and rehydrating our heads after a long, horrible, dirty flight (but that’s another story), we went to the farm’s special wine tasting bar to try the literal fruits of the farm’s work. We ended the day by going to the spa and braising in the sauna and whirlpool before we went home and showered before dinner. Dinner was special with every course (although it’s a small tip, don’t forget to pack some nice light knitwear or long-sleeved shirts; South Africa can get cold at night when it is autumn and I was always a little cold in the evenings ) seasonal and full of vegetables and flavors. You are definitely not stingy with the portions. No pretentious tiny portions here, we barely had room for pudding, but I’m glad we pushed it in. Every sip from start to finish was delicious.
The next morning, after the most amazing breakfast spread (try some of the lesser-known fruits like a num-num), including an omelet dripping in basil oil and roasted tomatoes, we roamed the gardens again and soaked up the sunshine and hello to the locals Donkeys. One that we soon discovered was pregnant, so there is a cute little foal that I somehow gutted that we missed. You can also visit the farm shop to pick up some olive oil, jam and textiles from the farm. If you drive to a Cape Town rental then you can even take bread and eggs with you. A stay here is really fantastic and I couldn’t imagine a better starting point for exploring the wine country if you have a few days. I feel Babylonstoren is my kind of retreat. healthy, real food, a dreamy spa, nature on your doorstep, but no gimmicks. Even if you can’t stay here, it’s worth stopping by during the day. Anyone can come and admire the gardens, wine and farm shop, so be sure to mark it on your Franschhoek map.
Packed with food, a few new freckles, a new hat (one of the best I’ve found in ages and made on site) and half a bottle of rosé, it was time to go after just one night, but honestly we have milked as much as possible from our 24 hours Babylon blinds and it was definitely enough to really fall in love with the place. I have received so many messages from people who have been there when I was there. Everyone seemed to feel exactly the same and wanted to go back, so I’m definitely not the only one. Even if you only have one night, Babylon blinds It is definitely worth taking your time. Oh, and keep your ears open for rumors that there may be an outpost of Babylon gates in the UK this year.
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