Babylonstoren: Our full report
Babylonstoren is a stylish hotel located on a working wine farm on the lower slopes of the scenic Simonsberg Mountains.It is located part way between Franschhoek and Paarl, surrounded by vineyards and orchards and only an hour’s drive from Cape Town and the airport.
The whitewashed thatched cottages at Babylonstoren are made up of new buildings built in the original style of the original farm buildings. These have been converted into stylish and sophisticated accommodation mixing contemporary design with the original Cape Dutch architecture.
Looking onto a 3.5 hectare fruit and vegetable garden the 13 Garden Cottages line a shady avenue of oak trees, and are made up of six one-bedroom suites, three one-bedroom cottages and four two-bedroom cottages. The interiors are contemporary and light with modern furniture and enormous bathrooms. The one bedroom suites are open plan with a large ensuite bathroom and lounge with large fireplace for those chilly winter evenings.
The one and two-bedroom cottages are similar to the suites, with a separate spacious lounge, and a modern glass cube added to form a private fully equipped kitchen with amazing views of the mountains and vineyards.
The latest addition at Babylonstoren are the six Fynbos Cottages, built on the lower slopes of the mountain offering views of the Franschhoek Valley and the mountains beyond. These cottages are designed in the same contemporary style as the Garden Cottages. Here there are four two-bedroom cottages and two one-bedroom cottages. The Fynbos Cottages also has their own swimming pool and bar area, where you can help yourself to a drink while having a refreshing dip in the pool.
The Fynbos Cottages are further away from the main areas, however you can drive your own golf cart between your room and the reception and restaurants.
Another recent addition to Babylonstoren is the Fynbos Family House which has five en-suite bedrooms, its own swimming pool in an enclosed courtyard, private barbecue area and large communal lounge and kitchen area.
The original Cape Dutch Manor House dates back to 1777 and is the original farmhouse. This exclusive use house also has five bedrooms and has been beautifully restored, but with a contemporary twist.
Both properties are an ideal place to stay for a group of friends or large family get-together.
Babylonstoren has three restaurants, the well-known Babel Restaurant, which is open five days a week for lunch, and daily for breakfast and dinner. The food here is seasonal and imaginatively created and most of it comes from their beautifully maintained gardens.
The Greenhouse restaurant, built around a couple of greenhouses, is open daily for light lunches and teas.
The Bakery serves Italian inspired meals in the evenings. Here you can have antipasti, salads, homemade pasta and pizza. The Bakery also offers carnivore evenings on a Wednesday and Sunday, where guests share tables and is a great way to meet fellow guests.
Babylonstoren also has a spa with a sauna, steam room, indoor heated pool and salt room. There is also a gym overlooking the garden, as well as an outdoor swimming pool built in the style of a farm reservoir.
Activities at Babylonstoren range from guided garden tours, cycling around the farm, a guided mountain drive exploring the vineyards and orchards, wine and olive oil tasting, as well as fishing and rowing on the dam. There are walking trails on the property and it is also possible to wander around the gardens with the gardeners and harvest fruit and veg for the restaurants. Children can feed the donkeys, collect eggs and feed the fish.
On a recent visit in March 2022 we had an evening drive on the property stopping at the top of a hill for sundowners and enjoying views over Babylonstoren laid out below.
The following morning we did an early morning walk with a guide through the orchards (where we stopped and ate ripe figs straight from the tree) and visited Babylonstoren's amazing walled vegetable and flower garden.
We were back in time for breakfast followed by a guided tour of the gardens.
Later that afternoon we did a wine cellar tour followed by wine tasting.
Babylonstoren also has a farm shop housed in the old stables selling everything from homeware and their own locally made produce such as preserves, nuts, bread and chocolates. They also sell cheese, wine and also has a butcher selling fresh and cured meats - all from the farm.
We have visited Babylonstoren a few times over the years and have always enjoyed our time here, whether its just for a garden tour or an overnight stay. The property oozes the Cape Dutch heritage, but with a touch of modern and contemporary design. You could quite easily spend your whole time here without leaving the property. There is so much to do from exploring the fruit and vegetable gardens to enjoying their top-quality food and wine.
South Africa expert
- Winelands, South Africa
- Ideal length of stay
- 2 - 3 nights
- It’s about an hours drive from Cape Town International Airport or from central Cape Town to Babylonstoren. Paarl is 15 minutes away and both Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are about a 25 minutes’ drive.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- The food at Babylonstoren is of a very high standard and is one of the reasons why people visit here. Most of the food served will be from their own gardens, and is seasonal, changing every six weeks.
Babel restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Greenhouse offers light lunches daily.
During our recent stay, for breakfast we had fresh fruit juice, fresh croissants and bread from their own bakery, platters of fresh fruit, cheeses and homemade preserves and honey. Also on offer was homemade granola, as well as a cooked breakfast of your choice.
For lunch at the Greenhouse there is the choice of salads, chilled summer soup, sandwiches and desserts.
In the evening Babel has an a la carte menu consisted of starters such as buffalo mozzarella with vegetables, beetroot carpaccio, with olives and cheese, beef tartare with egg, mustard and herbs as well as sweet potato gnocchi with mushrooms and chives.
For the main course guests are offered a choice of two vegetables from a selection such as Hasselback potatoes, leeks, roasted pumpkin, caramelized aubergine, fire roasted beetroot and ricotta, buttered greens and risotta. On top of this add either roast lamb, dry aged beef, linefish of the day or local venison.
Finish this off with a tasty desert of slow baked quince and vanilla, chocolate cremeux, baked buffalo yogurt with cider caramel and apple or water buffalo gelato with fresh fruit of the day.
The food is beautifully presented, and the portions are not small so make sure you take part in their activities during the day to make space for some of their amazing food.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Some of the rooms have their own kitchen and dining area but most people tend to eat at the restaurants.
- Drinks included
- No drinks other then the personal bars in the rooms are included. This usually includes a bottle of wine, selection of soft drinks and filtered drinking water. Tea and Nespresso coffee are also provided in the rooms.
- Once a farmhouse, now a luxury hotel; Babylonstoren’s sprawling grounds are beautifully manicured offering an abundance of impressive gardens and vineyards. From contemporary, modern décor to inspired, fresh food from their own gardens, this hotel is unique and full of character.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Families with children are most welcome in all of the accommodation except for the Farmhouse.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There is no age restriction
- Special activities & services
- Babysitters are provided at an extra cost
- Generally recommended for children
- Although Babylonstoren welcomes children of all ages we feel that it is more suited for children over the age 5 years and over as the property has quite an adult feel.
- The swimming pools are unmanned so parents need to supervise their children around the pool.
- Water supply
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There are security guards on duty day and night and the whole property is fenced.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in each room and the main areas.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Full Laundry Service - Included, with a maximum of six items per day.
- Each room is fitted with an electronic safe.
- Accepted payment on location
- MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted methods of payment. Cash payment in South African Rand is also accepted.
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