I recently had the absolute pleasure of spending 24 hours at Babylonstoren. It is the most exquisite farm imaginable and even though I go often, there were still so many nooks and crannies to explore. I stayed in their newish Fynbos cottages which are set above the citrus orchards in a totally private part of the property. Overlooking a dam and the Paarl valley you get the sense of being much further away.
The whitewashed cottages in Cape vernacular style have modern all-glass annexes which house the kitchen. My only regret was not being able to stay long enough to cook there. It’s the kind of place you know you will not want to leave the minute you arrive. A bowl of juicy in-season citrus welcomes your arrival and connects you with the orchard you just came bumbling through on your golf cart. The cottages have been beautifully decorated in a pared-down farm way but with immaculate attention to every detail. It is totally luxurious.
I was spoilt with dinner and breakfast at Babel Restaurant, a farm to fork experience that connects you completely with the edible garden. I enjoyed a seasonal 3-course winter menu.
The 3.5-hectare Babylonstoren garden is at the heart of the farm, and I love to explore it during any season. I shot a campaign for Delicious Australia a few years back when the trees were filled with foliage and there was an abundance of flowers. The winter garden, although starker and less lush has its own appeal. The first blossoms signalled a turn towards Spring and warmer weather, and the bees, a very big part of the garden’s ecosystem busily got to work gathering pollen. Every one of the over 300 plant varieties on the farm is either edible or has medicinal value and are grown in a biologically friendly way. As a guest of the farm, you can book a daily farm walk around the broader farm or a more detailed look at the garden on a separate tour.
Breakfast was a veritable feast with farm bread, pastries, charcuterie, cheeses, and pressed juices brought directly to the table. Along with your choice of cooked breakfast, this was one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve had in a while.
The farm shop is a cluster of a few different shops and production rooms and is quite irresistible to any foodie. They have their own bakery, cheese, room, meat room and lekker (sweet) room. The main shop sells everything seasonal and edible from the farm along with preserves, wine and their own stoneground flour from wheat sown and reaped on the farm.
Across from the farm shop is The Barn which houses the Scented room, an essential oil distillery, a soap factory, the juicer, and water bottling facility and the balsamic vinegar cellar. Various tours and immersive experiences in these creative places can be pre-booked.
I was treated to a tour of their wine production facility and a fabulous tasting in their subterranean cellar. Each of the estate’s wines is paired with a snack that enhances the characteristics of the wine. This guided tasting with pairings is highly recommended for a more serious affair, alternatively, the tasting room which overlooks the vineyards is more relaxed.
I have wanted to experience their hamman water ritual treatment in their spa for the longest time and it was one of the most unique and heavenly treatments. Lying on a heated slab of marble in a beautiful steam room connected with my inner water baby and I simultaneously got the kind of deep skin clean only a Turkish bath can achieve. The Spa is a little oasis on the farm with a variety of treatment rooms and a heated pool.
This ever-evolving farm is a treasure trove of so many wonderful experiences and activities it fully merits its international recognition as a world-class farm and tourist destination.
*I was invited as a guest of Babylonstoren
More about Babylonstoren:
Spicy honey and Rooibos tea granita gin & tonic (and all about the Babylonstoren bees)