Should you find yourself fortunate enough to be spending a leisurely few days in the picturesque Cape winelands this summer we highly recommend making a reservation at Oude Werf Hotel.
Situated in the heart of town in scenic Stellenbosch, Oude Werf Hotel has a history almost as old as the town itself. The site where the present day hotel stands was once home to South Africa’s first church, which was built in 1687 and destroyed by fire in 1710, hence the name Oude Werf – ‘the old churchyard’.
Old Meets New
Oude Werf’s other claim to fame is that it is the country’s oldest continuously-operating hotel. The ‘old churchyard’ first became home to the Cape Dutch-style Wium’s Inn, then the two-story Arcadia, and then finally the 58-room hotel, Oude Werf Hotel, which is currently owned by the Petousis family and run by 65-strong team.
Upon stepping into the foyer it is easy to see that this Stellenbosch gem exudes an elegance that acknowledges the past, combining modern Cape style pieces with Victorian antiques.
Oude Werf has hit the hospitality sweet spot by providing guests with a place to stay that feels both opulent and homey at the same time. The architects have done well to restore the buildings carefully in a way that preserves their integrity and memory, and the decor has been carefully considered, blending old with new in a seamless fashion. All rooms are equipped with 21st century comforts such as a luxury bathroom, satellite TV, free wi-fi and a Nespresso machine, ideal for those who need their daily dose of caffeine upon rising. Of course, staying in the country’s oldest continuously running hotel comes with its own set of unique features – the original brickwork of the building has been incorporated into the architecture and the restaurant has been built around a giant oak tree which shoots through the ceiling. History buffs are also in for a treat – a little stairway near the restaurant leads to original 19th century foundations of the hotel, including an original grave site, which can be viewed from behind a glass panel.
From The Kitchen
The hotel restaurant boasts a rather impressive dinner menu and wine list, and guests can look forward to dining on dishes with distinctly South African flavours and an added gourmet twist. Choose from the likes of curried potato, coriander and yellow lentil pancakes, beef biltong and oxtail soup, char grilled charmer beef fillet, and pomegranate roasted pork belly to name but a few. And don’t forget about dessert – we can personally vouch for the sticky date pudding with mascarpone and candied orange zest.
The continental buffet breakfast served each morning is a rather indulgent affair on its own so come hungry. Start your day off with fresh barista coffee and a selection of seasonal fruit, local cheeses, meats and patisserie, as well as a traditional cooked breakfast.
In terms of location is just doesn’t get much better than this. Oude Werf is situated in the heart of Stellenbosch on the very popular Church Street and opens up to a charming court yard, with lush lawns and a crystal clear swimming pool, all surrounded by majestic oak trees. Step outside the hotel and you’ll find yourself amongst the vibey hustle and bustle of the town. Take a stroll and enjoy the small town charm of sidewalk cafes, wine bars and boutique galleries. An array of arguably some of the best vineyards in the world are just a short drive away, as are a number of other must visit foodie hot spots.
The staff are friendly and highly knowledgeable, and the overall service is impeccable to say the least. That being said, if you’re embarking on a weekend (or week!) of exploring and wining and dining in the picture perfect Cape Winelands, then there is no better place to begin than by checking in to Oude Werf Hotel.
Visit the website: oudewerfhotel.co.za
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