In order to join our VIP club, all you need to do is buy a subscription to Elle Decoration Magazine and you automatically get DECO VIP status.

One of the best things about subscribing to DECO’s VIP club, is that existing and new subscribers stand the chance to win a weekend away to either a luxurious retreat in the Midlands or Calitzdorp.

This magnificent country farmhouse owned by Trevyn and Julian McGowan is the idea place for a weekend away. Owned by one South Africa’s most creative couples, this cool country farmhouse retreat is every bit the designer escape, but is equally reminiscent of life in the Klein Karoo a hundred years ago.
Inside, the whitewashed 100-year old interiors are laid-back and yet oozing with eclectic inspiration and the best of contemporary South African design and ceramics. You’ll find original art (children’s art rubs shoulders with Kentridge), antiques, recycled furniture and beautiful linen together with thoughtful touches – Harper’s, Tatler and Vogue, and loads of DVD’s for adults and kids, plus puzzles and toys.

Choosing your bedroom could be difficult – will it be the one with the Droog-inpired ostrich chandelier above the Cape Dutch gable headpiece? Or the botanical prints as wallpaper? Or the four-poster master suite in black and white?

The large airy kitchen with its clotted cream Aga (and fabulous pots and glasses) is a gathering place for friends preparing for slap-up farm breakfasts or meals outdoors in the garden (there’s a full gas hob and bbq) or around the boma fire pit on balmy, starry evenings… all perfect ingredients for a farm holiday that’ll restore and revive.

Winter time is special here: pack your bikes, light the fires and laze in the sheepskin-lined Adirondack chairs on the sunny stoep. Come spring, the mountains burst into swathes of purple, lavenders and pinks and there’s water running everywhere – time to walk and come back to good food. You can’t beat slow-roasted local lamb.


Sleeps 12:(5 adults, 3 kids in The Farmhouse, 2 adults, 2 kids in The Stable)
Swimming pool.

The Farmhouse (4 bedrooms sleeping five adults and three kids):
The master bedroom off the stoep is ensuite with a children’s bedroom leading off the bedroom (bunk).
A double bedroom with a separate walk-in shower room.
A third single room leads off the dining area and onto the stoep.
The double and single room share a bathroom (rolltop Victorian bath and shower).

The stable (3 bedrooms sleeping two adults and two kids):
A huge building with its own entrance and converted into a master suite with a large en-suite, a living area and a kids’ bedroom leading off it. The third en-suite guest room has its own entrance.

Allendale is a typical Natal style, late 18th century farmhouse with a distinct colonial feel – lots of dark wooden cupboards, vintage crockery, horns, zebra hides along with gorgeous antique Persian carpets on the floors.
The bedrooms are simply, beautifully decorated, with crisp white bed linens, blankets for chilly evenings, floor length sumptuous curtains, modern bathrooms. It has a wraparound stoep with wicker armchairs to sit back in and contemplate the returning hunters in days gone by with a gin and tonic in hand.

Allendale sits in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site which is an entire valley in the “Little Berg” of the Natal Midlands. An hour and a half’s drive from Durban and four and a half hours from Johannesburg. It is perfect for absolute seclusion and wonderful game and bird viewing – there are herds of about 300 eland and Mountain Reedbuck. The land is crisscrossed with numerous streams and rivers which you can visit.


sleeps 9
3 x king size beds with en-suite bathrooms
1 x double and single bedroom with en-suite bathroom
gorgeous down duvets and pillows on the beds
heated towel rails in the bathrooms
1 separate en-suite bedroom in adjacent cottage (for overflow or staff)
modern kitchen, great prep area
2 double door fridges for all the groceries
washing machine
informal dining for 8 people
formal dining room seats 14 people
fireplace in the main lounge
separate TV lounge (with cable TV)
verandah at the front of the house has an outside dining area and lounge
the verandah at the back has BBQ facilities
self catering and the house is serviced twice daily
hiking, horse riding (entirely at own risk), take your mountain bikes, swim in the river and quietly go trout fishing.


Subscribers can also look forward to a Vintage Whiskey Masterclass with The Glenrothes at The Bascule Bar

The Glenrothes is a universally acclaimed, exceptional Speyside Malt. The maturity of The Glenrothes is determined not by age but by Vintage, captured forever in specific expressions of this remarkable spirit.

The first 30 DECO subscribers who RSVP to, will attend this exclusive invite-only event at the Cape Grace, so look out for your invitation which will be sent directly to your mailbox.

(Please note that this prize is only for winners in Cape Town)


All you need to do to stand a chance to win these fantastic prizes is to subscribe to DECO’s VIP Club.

The winner will be announced by the 26 July 2013

For more information on these destinations, as well as a host of other magical retreats, check out