The buzz of bees creating fresh honey, the gentle breeze sifting through olive tree branches, and the undulating mountains framing every vantage point are just a few of the sights, sounds, and smells that encapsulate a visit to Babylonstoren. This farm and vineyard is more than a producer; it is a hotel experience designed to recharge and rejuvenate any visitor through its relaxing environment and rustic meals. Karben Roos purchased the land in 2007, transforming Babylonstoren into a hotel and invigorating the property with elegance and purpose.
The mission is simple: to help visitors reestablish a connection with their surroundings. This can be seen in their dedication to both farm-to-table practices as well as simple and elegant interior decorating. A mix of basics and antiques welcomes visitors home after a day of exploration; once inside, linens, white walls, and streamlined furniture come together to invoke a serene, Dutch-style cottage with contemporary influences.
While the villas satisfy any need for luxury, the multiple restaurants dotting the grounds further enhance the Babylonstoren experience. At this rustic farm-style hotel, a meal “promises to be both an adventure and a rediscovery of the honest essence of things.” Roos encourages any traveler to pick and eat from the garden. Every meal is sourced from this vast, seasonal garden and then supplemented with local produce, creating menus that merge the Cape Dutch culture with local cuisine. Whether you opt for dinner in the cowshed, greenhouse, or bakery, Babylonstoren’s culinary experiences will leave you wanting more. To complement your meal, there are over five types of wine stemming from 13 grape varieties, all crafted by resident winemaker Klaas Stoffberg.
After you have had your fill, there is still much to explore and experience. Outdoors, guests are encouraged to pick produce, swim in the nearby plaasdam, taste local wines, venture up Babylonstoren Hill, or play petanque (a game similar to bocce); the possibilities are seemingly endless. A luxurious spa offers a unique, private hammam water ritual. This consists of a full-body exfoliation, a dynamic stretching session, a moisturizing full-body massage, and a cleanse. Cold spring water and fruit from the garden are the perfect end to this treatment.
Babylonstoren is an experience that will leave any traveler satisfied, grounded, and recharged. The hotel fully immerses you in the convergence of luxury and nature, allowing you to appreciate the little things.
Below is one of our favorite recipes from Bablyonstoren’s cookbook, Babel. This warm baked sweet potato and apricot with fresh shaved kohlrabi and a ginger-apricot dressing is a fresh and vegetarian option perfect for a summer night.
Preheat the oven to 180Æ C. Bake 1 to 2 medium whole sweet potatoes on a baking tray in the oven for 30-45 minutes until soft.
Place in the bottom drawer of the oven to keep warm.
Preheat the oven grill.
Place about 6 halved apricots and some vine tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Place under grill for 10 minutes and remove from the oven. Keep 4-6 apricots to the side (this will be used for the dressing) and place the rest on a serving platter along with the vine tomatoes and the sweet potato.
Slice sweet potato open on top and drizzle with a little honey. Add thinly shaved kohlrabi and drizzle with fresh lemon juice.
Serve with the ginger and apricot dressing.
In a blender combine 6 pitted grilled apricot halves, 5ml preserved ginger, 10ml white balsamic vinegar and 30ml honey until smooth.
Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Visit Babylonstoren’s website here. Photos courtesy of Babylonstoren.