Beautiful Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren is a historic Cape Dutch farm that boasts one of the best preserved plaaswerwe (farmyards) in the Cape. Beloved for its garden that is laid out over 3,5 magnificent hectares (8 acres), the structure divides into 15 sections that include fruit, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, a clivia tunnel and a plethora of trees of historical and botanical import.

The farm sits at the heart of the wine country, with Simonsberg as backdrop and possibly the finest terroir in the Cape. Varieties on the farm are chardonnay, chenin blanc, viognier, shiraz, mourvèdre, sémillon, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, petit verdot and pinotage.

Every aspect of Babylonstoren is informed by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden – this includes the contemporary Farm Hotel and Garden Spa, the Farm Shop, Scented Room, Bakery, Cheese and Meat Rooms, the Tasting Room, Greenhouse and Healing Garden.

Babylonstoren Accommodation

At Babylonstoren’s Farm Hotel, the overall effect is relaxed yet well-heeled with some of the existing farm buildings transformed into sophisticated guest accommodation. Set adjacent to a 3, 5 hectare (8 acre) cultivated fruit and vegetable garden, the hotel is characterised by thick whitewashed walls, elegant gables and hearty fireplaces that emulate an authentic farmstay experience. There are six one-bedroom suites, as well as three one-bedroom cottages and four two-bedroomed cottages. The one- and two-bedroom cottages have a lounge area and basic kitchen.

The Farmhouse suites include nine one-bedroom suites. These all have access to an outdoor swimming pool and a hot spa area that includes a salt room, sauna and vitality pool as well as a lounge area.

Farmhouse Suite

Comfort is key in the one-bedroom Farmhouse suites where a moody interior theme comprising swarthy four-poster king-size beds, dusted moss walls, luxurious en-suite marble bathrooms and generous walk-in cupboards are paired with contemporary furniture and accessories such as extra-length MDF Italia sofas. In addition to the underfloor heating, each room is fitted with a cast-iron stove. Bookshelves filled with a wonderful selection of books and free Wi-Fi are just a few of the things that await you. A well-stocked personalised pantry as well as breakfast are included in the room rate. All our suites are serviced daily.

One Bedroom Suite

Each open-plan suite has a luxurious en-suite bathroom and lounge area with thick walls, elegant gables and a hearty fireplace. The interiors take on an altogether contemporary feel when paired with the modern lines of furniture by international design brands such as Kartell, Magis, Philippe Starck and the Bourellec Bros. Bookshelves are filled with a wonderful selection of books while underfloor heating and free Wi-Fi are just a few of the things that await you. A well-stocked personalised pantry as well as breakfast are included in the room rate. All our one-bedroom suites come with a king-size bed or twin beds and are serviced daily.

One Bedroom Cottage

Each of the slightly larger open-plan cottages has a luxurious en-suite bathroom and lounge area with thick walls, elegant gables and a hearty fireplace. Into this pristine Cape Dutch style, a contemporary glass cube has been seamlessly added to house a kitchen area. The interiors continue this pairing with modern four-poster beds and furniture from international design brands such as Kartell, Magis, Philippe Starck and the Bourellec Bros. Bookshelves filled with carefully selected books, underfloor heating and free Wi-Fi are just a few of the things that await you. Suites are either garden or vineyard facing, with access to the garden and the farm. A well-stocked personalised pantry as well as breakfast are included in the room rate. All our one-bedroom cottages come with a king-size bed and are serviced daily.

Two Bedroom Cottage

The pristine Cape Dutch style of our two-bedroom cottages emulate a farm stay experience with thick walls, elegant gables and a hearty fireplace. A contemporary glass cube has been seamlessly added to the 18th-century structure to house a dining and kitchen area. The interiors continue this contemporary pairing with modern four-poster beds and furniture from international design brands such as Kartell, Magis, Philippe Starck and the Bourellec Bros. Each bedroom also has a luxurious en-suite bathroom. Bookshelves filled with carefully selected books, underfloor heating and free Wi-Fi are just a few of the things that await you. Our cottages are either garden or vineyard facing. A well-stocked personalised pantry as well as breakfast are included in the room rate. All our two-bedroom cottages are serviced daily and come with a king-size bed, and a king or two single beds in the second bedroom.

Manor House

Our Cape Dutch Manor House dates back to 1777. This exclusive house has five bedrooms accommodating ten guests. All rooms have a king-size bed, with two of the rooms having the option of twin beds. Rooms are serviced daily and breakfast is included in the room rate, as well as a well-stocked personalised pantry. The interior has been beautifully restored to its former glory, but with a definite contemporary touch. Bookshelves are filled with a wonderful selection of books and the traditional farm kitchen boasts a roaring old wood-burning stove. Guests have access to the garden at all times, with games set up on the private lawn. Curl up in front of the hearty fireplace and admire the architecture, or enjoy refreshments in the garden whilst savouring the exquisite views.

Babylonstoren Garden

Set within 3,5 hectares (8 acres) of cultivated fruit and vegetables, the big garden at Babylonstoren is at the heart of the farm. It was inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town, which supplied sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company with fresh vegetables and fruit during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia. But we also link back to the mythological hanging gardens of Babylon. Those were thought to have been created by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BC, for his wife who longed for the mountains and valleys of her youth.

Become a volunteer

As we are passionate about our garden at Babylonstoren, we welcome fellow gardeners, horticulturists, botanists or those who are interested in learning more about gardening. If you’re happy to get your hands dirty (you’ll be planting, harvesting, pruning and mulching) and eager to learn and/or share your knowledge, we’d love to welcome you as a volunteer at Babylonstoren. You’ll work with our gardeners in every aspect of the garden but most importantly get a chance to contribute to the garden in a real way.

Join our Garden Tour

Our daily guided garden tour starts at the Farm Shop at 10h00. One of our experienced gardeners will be your guide on this tour, during which we encourage guests to pick, taste, smell and touch while walking through our garden. Each of the 300 plant varieties is edible or has medicinal value. The beautiful garden is not only pleasing to the eye, but also provides the restaurants with fresh produce, harvested daily. Our enthusiastic guides will share some of the garden’s special stories with you and give practical gardening tips. We hope you will enjoy our garden and be inspired when you leave to plant your own!

Garden History

In 2007, owner Karen Roos commissioned French architect Patrice Taravella to plan the layout of the garden. His work at Prieuré Notre Dame d’Orsan in France had impressed her greatly. There Patrice had reconstructed a medieval cloistered garden on the site of a restored 12th-century monastery. “I was drawn to Patrice’s inherent discipline. It is almost Cartesian in the tradition of classical French gardens,” says Karen. “And he’s remarkable in that he really understands the movement of people: how to make a garden hold you and calm you down.”

Taravella gave the garden geometric bones. His creation sits on an axis that extends east to west along the traditional lines of the old whitewashed Cape Dutch werf (farmyard), then north to south from Babel Restaurant to the Babylonstoren koppie. It comprises 15 clusters spanning vegetable areas, stone and pome fruits, nuts, citrus, berries, bees, herbs, ducks and chickens, a prickly pear maze, and more. Gravity feeds water from a stream by rills into the garden, flowing through ponds planted with edible lotus, nymphaea lilies and waterblommetjies.

Every one of the 300 varieties of plants in the garden is edible or has medicinal value. They are also grown as organically as possible and in a biologically sustainable manner. The fruit and vegetables from the garden are harvested all year round for use in two farm-to-fork restaurants. Along the edge of the garden, a natural stream flows from the Simonsberg mountain to the Berg River, creating a space for indigenous wild olives to flourish. In their shade a collection of some 7 000 clivia lilies explode in a spectacular display every spring. Our head gardener Liesl van der Walt and her team tend the plants that have flourished beyond expectation – so much so that it’s quite hard to believe that the gardens are still relatively young.

Babylonstoren Spa

Like everything else at Babylonstoren, the Garden Spa is inextricably linked to the garden and the ever-changing seasons. We like to think of it as a living spa, set within a forest of bamboo with tranquil greenery and a myriad leiwater channels to set the tone. Some of our traditional treatment rooms are housed in our pavilion constructed of bamboo, which comprises a hammam, chill room and a gym.

Every morning, fresh herbs such as rosemary, lavender and lemon thyme are picked for use in the Spa’s daily rituals and for our palate-cleansing spa food menu. Dictated by what is ripe and delicious, our spa menu is focused on fresh juices and whole fruits from our garden, as well as unusual varieties. You’ll leave our spa feeling refreshed, replenished and restored.

We have a wonderful selection of classic treatments to be enjoyed in our light and spacious spa rooms. From hydrating body wraps to bespoke facials and deluxe pedicures, our spa menu will cater to your every need.

Spa Treatments

Hammam

Experience an ancient cleansing ritual that is supremely good at relieving stress. The treatment increases circulation, relieves muscle tension, increases metabolism and keeps skin fresh as it rinses out toxins.

Massage

Our massages are so relaxing it may well send you to sleep. Our fascination with the bamboo plant is rooted in heritage – we’ve used it to create outdoor spaces in which we perform our rejuvenation treatments and also use it during our signature deep-tissue bamboo massage.

Wraps

Our Lilian Terry wraps include a full-body scrub, wrap and application of a body oil.

Facials and beauty

Available as parent-and-child treatments. We use two natural, organic product ranges at the Garden Spa. Dr. Hauschka is a German product and Esse a local product.

Hands and feet

Available as parent-and-child treatments.

Babel

Housed in an old cow shed, Babel is a wonderful mix of Cape Dutch architecture with contemporary glass walls that makes for a simple yet edgy environment in which to try our tasty yet often unconventional combinations. We have a farm-to-fork philosophy, which means we like to serve food that is seasonal and that reflects our “pick, clean and serve” approach.

Because our menu is guided by what is available in the garden, our food always reflects the season, and so in summer we may serve you a yellow salad of pineapple, gooseberries, granadillas, yellow tomatoes and apricots while in winter a slow-cooked leg of lamb in red wine is more likely. Dessert subscribes to four flavours, namely salty, bitter, sweet and sour. And while our meals are creative, we don’t like to tamper unduly with our food. Our meals are always clear in structure, so that fruit and vegetables gathered daily from the garden is often served with its skin on. Helpings are generous and depending on the weather you can take your meal in the glass-enclosed restaurant or under the plane trees in the courtyard.

Breakfast: Open daily, 8h00–9h30

Lunch:  Wednesday to Sunday, 12h00–15h30

Dinner: Open daily from 19h00

Booking is essential. Reservations open two months in advance and can be made between the hours of 8h00 and 17h00 on +27 (0)21 863 3852 or enquiries@babylonstoren.com.

Hotel guests enjoy priority for restaurant bookings.

Please enquire about options for groups. For groups of 13 to 18 guests, a set menu will be offered and a 50% deposit is required to secure the booking. Should you wish to bring a larger group, we have private function venues available.

The restrooms at Babel restaurant are wheelchair friendly.

Kindly note that all pathways on the farm are gravel, and covered with peach pips in some areas of the garden.

The Bakery

Our Bakery offers scrumptious Italian-inspired evening meals, but also supplies our shop with freshly baked bread to be enjoyed with delicious cheeses from our Cheese Room. We grow our own wheat on the farm which is stoneground after harvest. This flour is sold in the Farm Shop, but is also used by our own bakers who, under the guidance of our head baker Ernie Beck, make sure we have freshly baked bread early every morning for our restaurants and the Tasting Room. We have a variety of breads, including sourdough, rye, white and whole wheat.

At dinners in the Bakery, we serve our food family style – guests dish up for themselves from wooden boards placed on their table. Our Italian-inspired set menu starts with an antipasti and salad offering. Main course may be enjoyed to your heart’s content. We round off the meal with a delicious dolce and our famous coffee.

The Bakery is open Wednesday and Friday evenings from 19h00 to 21h00. The set menu costs R290 per adult and R150 per child under the age of 12 (excluding drinks).

Booking is essential. Reservations open two months in advance and can be made between the hours of 8h00 and 17h00 on +27 (0)21 863 3852 or enquiries@babylonstoren.com.

Priority will be given to hotel guests for bookings.

Please enquire about options for groups. For groups of 13 to 18 guests, a 50% deposit is required to secure the booking. Should you wish to bring a larger group, we have private function venues available.

Kindly note that all pathways on the farm are roughly surfaced and not intended for high heels.