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babylonstoren south Africa

LOCATION

Set on the doorstep of Simonsberg in Franschhoek wine valley, Babylonstoren is a rambling farm oozing calm. Ideally situated for exploring the Cape’s Winelands, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are less than a 30 minute drive away.

With some of its buildings dating back as far as the 1750s, Babylonstoren is one of the best-preserved examples of a Cape Dutch farm. The authentic historical exterior highlights the romance of rural Dutch Cape, but the insides have been considerately updated thanks to Afrikaans designer-owner Karen Roos, former editor of South African Elle Decor who purchased the property in 2005.

Set within eight acres of cultivated fruit and vegetable gardens, the cottages surround the big garden at Babylonstoren – the heart of the farm. Verdant gardens rich in biodiversity balance the clean and contemporary cottage interiors. Characterized by whitewashed walls, elegant gables and oak fireplaces, the accommodations emulate an authentic farm experience.

WHAT MAKES THIS HOTEL UNIQUE?

Karen Roos’s design touch has elevated this traditional farmhouse to something truly magnificent. Contrasting the historic, rough outbuildings with clean, contemporary elements, she’s brought the cottages into the 21st century in style. But her influence doesn’t end here: this juxtaposition between old and new extends to the restaurant, the spa, and the main hotel building. And outside, the garden was inspired by The Company’s Garden in Cape Town (South Africa’s oldest). Boasting eight acres of cultivated gardens, every single one of the 300 plants is edible or can be used for medicinal purposes.

It’s the kitchen garden that is at the heart of Babylonstoren, with the abundance of produce celebrated at every turn. The restaurants operate with a “farm-to-fork” philosophy, creating delicious dishes using their own produce. Their main outlet, Babel, is a triumph. Housed in the old cow shed, it’s a beautiful blend of Cape Dutch architecture and contemporary glass walls. From the enormous breakfast spread to the salads, it sets the bar for sustainable gastronomy.