Schoone Oordt is a beautifully restored guesthouse.
Schoone Oordt Country House: Our full report
Schoone Oordt Country House is located in the historic town of Swellendam, at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains. It is a beautiful Victorian house dating back to 1853 and is a convenient halfway stop between Cape Town and the Garden Route. Located in the town itself, it is set in landscaped gardens and has been lovingly restored by its current owners as an upmarket guesthouse.
We believe that Schoone Oordt was once used 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 main house is a beautiful imposing double storey Victorian building. Both the upper and lower veranda’s at the front have intricate filigree wrought iron work, known locally as “broekie lace" (translated as knicker lace!). Inside, the original wooden floors, doors and staircase have been restored, along with other original features, and can be seen throughout the manor house. There is a comfortable lounge, with sofas and chairs and restored antique furniture. It has the original beamed ceiling as well as a bar and open fireplace. To the side of the house is a lovely light and spacious conservatory restaurant overlooking the garden. This is where breakfast is served, as well as afternoon tea and cakes. Dinner is also served here in the evening on request. This room has separate tables and chairs for dining and is dotted with antique furniture and plants, creating a conservatory feel. It’s light and airy with large windows that open up on a warm day.
Schoone Oordt has an outside salt water swimming pool in well-kept gardens, leading down to a river, and there are also two friendly dogs.
There are 10 rooms at Schoone Oordt, set in a pretty courtyard garden, with white roses and a couple of fountains. These are divided into two standard rooms, six deluxe rooms, a family cottage and a honeymoon suite. Each room has as standard : air conditioning, under-floor heating, a fireplace, a minibar with fresh milk and complimentary bottled water (and stocked with other drinks on request), tea/coffee facilities, satellite TV and a DVD player. The en-suite bathroom has a roll-top bath, twin basins and a separate shower. Extra touches include fluffy towels and dressing gowns, slippers and complimentary toiletries.
The standard rooms are located upstairs above the deluxe rooms and are accessed from the back. They both have a balcony overlooking the courtyard below. These rooms can be interleading so make an affordable option for a family or friends travelling together. However they can also be used separately too. The deluxe rooms are all identical in style and are spacious and quite modern, yet with touches that help to retain the Victorian feel of the original manor house next door. They are decorated in soft colours that offset the beautifully restored antique furniture in the rooms. These suites are positioned around the rose garden and landscaped shrubbery and have their own private patios.
The honeymoon suite is very private, set slightly apart from the other rooms, overlooking a small shady forest with the Koornlands River flowing nearby. It is much larger than the suites, with a dark wood four-poster bed, dark antique furniture softened by cream and white linens and fabrics, a woodburning stove and large bathroom. It has a very romantic feel.
Away from the rest of the rooms, in the garden, is the family cottage. A restored coach house, it has an upstairs loft area with two extended length single beds for the children and a room for the parents with extended length king- size bed, as well as a small kitchenette.
Our viewSchoone Oordt Country House is a beautifully restored guesthouse with friendly staff, an inviting atmosphere and good-quality accommodation. It offers a convenient base to explore Swellendam, and its surrounding areas.
Ideal length of stay: 2 nights is ideal to explore everything that Swellendam, and its surrounds, have to offer.
Directions: From the N2 take the Swellendam East turn-off. Drive downhill, across the 3-way stop. Just after the Koornlands River Bridge turn right just before the grass verge with Swellendam written in white brick on it. Schoone Oordt Country House is on the hill on your right.
Accessible by: Self-drive
Owner: Privately owned – Richard and Alison Walker
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Following a stay at Schoone Oordt in May 2014 we found the food here to be very good.
Breakfast is a three course affair, if you can manage to eat it all! The first course is a buffet of cereals, fruit, fruit juice, yoghurt, freshly baked bread and muffins. The second course was, at the time of our visit, either a pancake stack with strawberries, or eggs benedict with either bacon or smoked salmon, and the third course is a cooked breakfast of your choice. I ordered the eggs benedict with smoked salmon, which was beautifully presented and very tasty! Needless to say I did not have the cooked breakfast afterwards! I also remember the cappuccino being good here too.
Lunch is not served here as most guests tend to be out exploring during the day. However afternoon tea and cakes are available in the conservatory.
A starter of homemade soup at a cost of ZAR50 or chicken liver parfait at a cost of ZAR75 (approx. £3 - £4.50).
The main course was North African yoghurt chicken for ZAR125, braised lamb shank for ZAR140 or a mezze platter to share at a cost of ZAR120 per person (approx. £7 to just over £8). A couple of deserts were also available for ZAR30 (less than £2) and a small selection of house wine was also available at a cost of ZAR120 per bottle. (about £7)
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No drinks are included at Schoone Oordt except for bottled water in the rooms. There is a minibar in each room which can be stocked with drinks costing ZAR16 for soft drinks, ZAR18 (about £1) for local beers and ZAR120 (just over £7) for a bottle of wine.
Further dining info: No
Attitude towards children: Schoone Oordt welcomes children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions: There is no age restriction.
Special activities & services: Children receive their own welcome pack on arrival and a kiddies' menu is available. A child minder can also be arranged at an additional cost (although don't expect one who's qualified to European standards). Schoone Oordt has a special family package – stay for three nights or longer and children receive hot chocolate and marshmallows at bed time. Parents receive two hours complimentary baby-sitting on one of the evenings. Also included is a morning or afternoon guided activity to a local attraction – maximum three hours.
Equipment: Cots and highchairs are available as well as childrens colouring-in books, DVD’s and games.
Generally recommended for children: The owners have their own children so Schoone Oordt is very child friendly. Children will love running around the garden and playing in the pool; there are two very friendly 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 by staff 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 good cellphone reception. Free WiFi is available throughout the guesthouse and there is also a computer for guests to use.
TV & radio: All rooms are equipped with TVs with selected satellite channels as well as a DVD player.
Water supply: Mains
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: There are doctors and a hospital in Swellendam.
Security measures: We have been told that Swellendam is a very safe town; however there are security gates leading to the property and the managers live on site. There are alarms in all the rooms and sensor lights around the property.
Fire safety: Each room has a fire extinguisher and these are also strategically placed around the buildings.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is available at an extra charge.
Money: At the time of our visit in May 2014 electronic safes were about to be installed in the rooms. No currency exchange is possible however there are many banks and cash point machines in Swellendam.
Accepted payment on location: All major credit cards are accepted as well as cash in SA rands.