Tatler Magazine has just named Babylonstoren as one of their top hotels for 2012, calling it ‘the most delicious new opening of the year’. ‘Nowhere else in the Cape Winelands do the worlds of contemporary and historical South Africa collide with such style.’ We couldn’t agree more. Karen Roos, owner of Babylonstoren (and former DECO editor), flew up to London last week to celebrate the accolade. Formerly a fruit farm, Babylonstoren is now run as a working farm, with one of the best preserved werfs (farm yards) in the Cape Dutch tradition.
‘We wanted to pay homage to this tradition, and the garden at Babylonstoren contains echoes of the famous Companies Garden at the Cape.’ A disused kraal has been converted into the restaurant Babel, while whitewashed cottages and the Cape Dutch homestead offer guest accommodation.
But the star of the show, as Tatler puts it, is the garden. ‘The Babylonstoren garden is at the heart of the farm. It was inspired by the Company Gardens of the Cape, where for centuries ships would replenish with sweet water, vegetables and fruit at the halfway station between Europe and Asia. It also hales back to the mythical garden of Babylon. Spanning eight acres, the Babylonstoren garden is formal in structure. Every one of over 300 varieties of plants in the garden is edible and it is grown as biologically as we can. Fruit and veg are harvested year round for use in our restaurant. The garden is divided into fifteen clusters spanning vegetable areas, berries, bees, indigenous plants, ducks and chickens and includes a prickly pear maze. Gravity feeds water into waterways from stream into the garden as it was done for 300 years.’
Babylonstoren is DECO’s MUST-visit hotspot this summer. To see the wide range of activities on offer, visit babylonstoren.com
STOP PRESS! Karen’s new Tea Room, the latest addition to the Babylonstoren brand, will be opening in a few days time. Watch this space for more news.