If you’re looking for an escape from the daily grind in favour of a peaceful garden, a spa, delicious meal, or a night away from it all, a visit to the Vineyard Hotel is well worth it.
Set right on our doorstep in the southern suburbs, this gem offers luxury accommodation and award-winning restaurants in a beautiful and refreshingly unpretentious setting.
Driving through the leafy suburb of Newlands, you’d be forgiven for missing the Vineyard Hotel. Hidden from the main road, you may never guess that behind the walls exists a luxury hotel set on a gorgeous 7-acre riverside garden estate. But, if you have the pleasure of making your way inside, you’ll soon be swept up by the charm and history of the establishment.
Originally a country cottage built by the famous Lady Anne Barnard in 1799, the hotel has expanded over the years and now boasts 207 comfortable rooms. The original house remains though, as does the garden, which is home to a diverse range of plant life, birds and even some resident tortoises. Although the additions are modern and chic, the history stands strong in its features and surroundings – some of the older finishes remain, and Lady Anne Barnard’s sketches and journal entries decorate the walls.
In recent years, General Manager Roy Davies has re-established a small vineyard on the property – a nod to the estate’s history as one of the first vineyards in the area, as well as an opportunity to share his passion for wine with guests.
Whether you opt for a standard room, a suite or a cottage, you’ll be treated to classic, muted décor, gorgeous views of the gardens, vineyard or mountain, and en-suite bathrooms. Some of the rooms boast a separate lounge and living area, and private sundecks or balconies from which you can soak up the tranquil setting.
The gardens really are something special, and there are regular guided walks where one of the hotel’s environmentalists is available to share information about the unique space.
For children, there are a range of outdoor activities like treasure hunts in search of the resident tortoises, and other supervised games.
If the weather is rainy, take a look at the two art galleries on-site, and pay a visit to the library – a phone and laptop-free zone especially designed for peace and quiet.
The on-site spa, Angsana, has a staff of trained therapists and offers treatments like therapeutic massage and facials using natural ingredients and aromatherapy. They also have a number of rooms designed for couple’s treatments – an ideal way to spend a lazy afternoon!
For the more energetic, the health and fitness centre on the estate is located in the pool pavilion and offers all the facilities you need for a good workout. There is also a team of personal trainers available on request, if you feel like some personal attention. For outdoor jogging, there are two routes (a 3km and a 5km option), which stretch from the hotel and through the scenic surrounds of Newlands.
When it comes to food, there’s no shortage of choice at The Vineyard Hotel. The Square serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers fare that is seasonal and contemporary. Possibly the best way to taste chef Carl van Rooyen’s range of flavours is to indulge in the five course wine pairing dinner. Each course has two options, and comes with a wine to complement the dish.
The flavour combinations are intense and unique and range widely in style – for starters, for example, you may choose teriyaki cured ostrich carpaccio with coriander and mint salad and preserved ginger, or opt instead for a grilled polenta cake with wild mushroom and tofu sauté, pickled baby carrots and a cucumber spaghetti salad. For another course, there’s a choice of salmon trout or beef fillet, and the desserts are decadent – think chocolate cremeux with black sesame crumble and mulberry and rose geranium sorbet, or lemon and thyme cake with passion fruit ice cream and cashew butter. Our advice? Go with a partner or friend so that you can taste a bit of everything!
For a more informal setting, the Garden Lounge offers light meals and teas and looks over the beautiful grounds. There’s also Long Café, a coffee shop that serves coffee freshly ground and blended on site, as well as a selection of cakes and pastries. In summer, Splash Café serves cocktails around the pool, while Myoga is an independently-owned restaurant that boasts innovative ‘wow’ factor’ dishes and a range of superb local wines.