Step through the well kept gardens of Schoone Oordt
Schoone Oordt Country House: Our full report
Located at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, the town of Swellendam is known as the historic heart of the Overberg and is a convenient halfway stop between Cape Town and the Garden Route. Located in the town itself, Schoone Oordt is a Victorian house dating back to 1853 that is set in landscaped gardens and has been lovingly restored as a guesthouse.
We understand that Schoone Oordt was built as the first girl's school in Swellendam. Over the years it has had a few owners, each adding or changing aspects of the house. In 1983, the property was declared a national monument and in 2003 it was bought by Richard and Alison Walker who, after almost five years of restoration, have given it a new lease of life.
The original wooden floors have been kept and can be seen throughout the manor house, which boasts a lovely conservatory where breakfast is usually served, a comfortable lounge with a bar and open fireplace, a big dining room and a country kitchen. Other facilities include an outside swimming pool and there are also two friendly husky dogs.
There are 10 rooms at Schoone Oordt, set in extensive grounds. These are divided into eight suites, one family cottage and one honeymoon suite. All are en-suite with separate baths and showers, have air conditioning, under-floor heating and fireplaces, and are fitted with refrigerators, tea/coffee stations, satellite TV and DVD players. Extra special touches include fluffy towels and gowns, slippers and pure wool carpets.
The suites are all identical in style: spacious and quite modern, yet with high ceilings that help to retain the Victorian feel of the original manor house, and soft colours that offset beautifully restored antiques. Six of these suites are positioned around the rose garden and landscaped shrubbery and have their own private patios. The other two are upstairs, accessible from the back, and have an interleading balcony overlooking the garden. These are an affordable option for larger families or friends travelling together.
The honeymoon suite is very private, tucked away on the edge of the property and surrounded by a small shady forest with a river flowing at its perimeter. It is much larger than the suites, with a four-poster bed and large bathroom, and has a really romantic feel.
At the opposite end of the property, and away from the rest of the guests too, is the family cottage. A restored coach house, it has an upstairs loft area with two extended length single beds and an extended length king- size bed, and a small kitchenette.
Schoone Oordt Country House is a beautiful abode with a friendly and inviting atmosphere and good-quality accommodation. It offers a convenient base to explore Swellendam, and the surrounding areas.
Ideal length of stay: 1–2 nights
Accessible by: Self-drive
Owner: Privately owned – Richard and Alison Walker
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No drinks are included at Schoone Oordt.
Further dining info: No
Attitude towards children: Schoone Oordt welcomes families with children.
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: Children receive their own welcome pack on arrival and a kiddies' menu is available. A child minder can also be arranged (although don't expect one who's qualified to European standards of nursery-nursing).
Equipment: Cots and highchairs are available.
Generally recommended for children: Yes – children will love running around the garden; there are two very friendly husky dogs that we're told are good with children.
Notes: Adult supervision is needed around the pool, but parents can relax here as younger children can be entertained in the kitchen, baking cookies for example.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are no direct-dial phones in the rooms, but the area has cellphone reception. Free WiFi is available but there is currently no computer available for the use of guests.
TV & radio: All rooms are equipped with TVs with selected satellite channels.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: There are doctors and a hospital in Swellendam.
Fire safety: Each room is fitted with a fire extinguisher and these are also strategically placed around the buildings.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A same-day service is available at an extra charge.
Money: At the time of our visit in November 2011, each of the rooms was being fitted with an electronic safe. No currency exchange is possible at Schoone Oordt.
Accepted payment on location: All major credit cards are accepted methods of payment.