The clouds rolled and bulged, slate grey and heavy with rain. A reminder that it is still very much winter here in the Cape. But, that was no damper on my mood because I was on my merry way to spend a totally pampered evening at the Pearl Valley Hotel by Mantis, located on the sweeping Val de Vie Estate in Paarl!
My sodden drive through the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley took me through what is, on a sunny day, some of the most spectacular scenery the Cape has to offer, with its verdant fields, grape vineyards, historic architecture, and frame of rugged mountain peaks. Today, however, my eyes were firmly on the road ahead of me as the mist swirled and the rain bucketed down. On the upside, my car got a much-needed wash. Then, the sign I had been looking for came into view: Pearl Valley Golf Course and Spa. My destination! I turned into a long driveway divided by flowering pincushion proteas and red-hot pokers, and after a brief panic that I’d taken the wrong turn, the grand entrance to the hotel reared into view. Oh, I was in for a treat!
The Pearl Valley Hotel at the Val de Vie Estate strikes a comfortable balance between high-class luxury and country-style living. The elegant décor, trimmings, and amenities are all befitting of a five-star resort and spa, and yet the hotel is anything but uppity; rather, it feels like a home away from home. And so, I walked into the main reception area looking a little drowned from the downpour in the parking lot and was immediately greeted by friendly staff, rather than escorted off the property for looking like a total scruff.
Administration out of the way, I went for a short walk around the Pearl Valley Clubhouse, which houses the reception for hotel guests, the clubhouse for the golfers, a golf shop, offices, and the sophisticated restaurant, which overlooks the rolling Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course greens and the cloud-shrouded Simonsberg Mountain beyond. The hotel itself is located a fair way from the clubhouse and so, getting to and from your accommodations is facilitated by chauffeur-driven golf carts. Deciding that I was ready to get horizontal, I alighted my noble carriage and was whisked off to my suite, which, as it turned out, was bigger than my own home. And far more luxurious.
My accommodations were a two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite with an open-plan kitchen, dining area, lounge, and a balcony that overlooked the sprawling golf course with its stately stands of pine trees and the mountains beyond. I threw my luggage on the couch and began the inspection that we all do when – by some fortune of fate – we end up in a place like this. I marveled at the view, the soft white bed sheets, and the fragrant complimentary hand creams, soaps, and shampoos in the bathroom and immediately made nefarious plans to steal them. In anticipation of my arrival, there was cool water in the fridge and the air conditioning had been turned on to blast warm air into the bedrooms. Bliss!
I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed the Val de Vie magazines that had been thoughtfully arranged on the coffee table, and climbed into the king-sized bed in the main bedroom to learn a little more about the luxurious settings in which I found myself.
The Pearl Valley Hotel by Mantis is a part of the Val de Vie Estate, an award-winning village, and community in the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley. Home to residential developments, a wine farm, citrus orchards, world-class polo facilities, restaurants, a coffee brewery, a stunning hotel, and, of course, the Pearl Valley Golf Course, this sprawling estate, which is only in its infancy, is essentially a slice of heaven on Earth. And it’s to Val de Vie that scores of families and individuals from all over South Africa are flocking, eager to secure themselves a beautiful and safe home here in the Cape.
Large flat screen TV blaring in the background, I put aside the magazines and wondered how on earth my words could possibly do this magnificent place justice. I looked down at my pajama-clad legs and was plunged into even deeper hopelessness at the sight of how appalling my supposed-to-be-white pajamas looked next to the crisp, blindingly white sheets. Oh well! I had a wine tasting to prepare for and, with the arrival of my plus one, became distracted yet again by the opulence of my hotel suite, seen anew through the eyes of my friend. Excitedly gibbering like schoolgirls, we soaked in the luxury and privilege of being able to stay in such a place, donned on our best, and called up reception to arrange for a golf cart to pick us up. On the menu for the evening was an interactive wine tasting class accompanied by hearty country fare at L’Huguenot wine cellars.
It’s no surprise that, after all the indulgence and spoilage, I found myself making the resolution to relocate to Val de Vie Estate when I finally, if ever, grow up. And when I woke up the following morning in a swirl of poofy and impossibly white duvet blankets, my resolution had only strengthened. Regardless of the relentless rain! Whether you make your way to Pearl Valley Hotel and Spa at Val de Vie to enjoy a weekend of golfing, relaxation, or exploration of the picturesque Franschhoek-Paarl Wine Valley (or all of the above), you simply won’t find a more hospitable, rejuvenating, and beautiful place to stay.