A stay at Babylonstoren never leaves you short of things to do. And although it is located in Franschhoek, it offers so much more than wine.
The Babylonstoren estate is 200 hectares, which is a lot of land waiting to be explored. In addition to the hotel itself, there are vineyards, orchards, gardens and a farm that occupy the property, all of which can be discovered with a stay at Babylonstoren.
The Farm Walk at Babylonstoren
Every morning at 8 am, one of the gardeners takes guests on a walk around the farm. The walk goes up the Babylonstoren koppie (hill), through the fynbos and vlei (wetland areas), on to the orchard and back past the dam. The views and vegetation are spectacular and will make it well worth the effort. This walk can be booked at Reception before-hand.
The Garden Walk at Babylonstoren
The Babylonstoren garden is at the heart of the farm. It is inspired by the Company’s Garden in Cape Town, where for centuries ships would replenish their freshwater, vegetables and fruit at the halfway station between Europe and Asia. They also link back to the mythical hanging gardens of Babylon.
Departing every morning at 10 am, one of the gardeners takes guests around a section of the 3.5 hectares of garden. There are more than 300 plant varieties, all of which are either edible or medicinal. The fruit and vegetables are harvested year-round for use in the restaurants, and there is always something happening in the garden throughout the year. Guests are also able to join in the pruning, planting or picking of many fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and nuts.
The Tasting Room at Babylonstoren
The Tasting Room overlooks the beautiful vineyards and the iconic Babylonstoren conical hill. There are five cellar tours a day, on the hour, every hour from 11.00 to 15.00. The tour departs from the Tasting Room and goes through the vineyard to the olive oil production plant.
Here the team show how their cold-extracted extra virgin olive oil is made. The next stop is the wine production cellar, where details of the winemaking process are explained. Finally, the best part is an informative yet relaxed wine tasting by the guide.
The Garden Spa at Babyonstoren
The Garden Spa at Babylonstoren is a tranquil escape with a sauna, steam room, salt room and tropical rain showers. There is also a heated indoor vitality pool as well as an outdoor pool. The two signature treatments are the Hamman water ritual and the bamboo massage, and there is also an incredible selection of classic treatments.
The Mountain Drive at Babylonstoren
Every day at 16.00 in the winter and 17.00 in the summer, you can join a guided mountain drive up the slopes of Simonsberg. The views from the top are incredible, with glorious views of the valley and Table Mountain in the distance. You can sit back with a glass of wine admiring these views as the sun begins to set.
Food and Drink at Babylonstoren
If you are looking at dining at Babylonstoren, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Breakfast is served every morning in the Babel Restaurant. Lunch and dinner are also served in the Babel Restaurant and reservations are essential as it is extremely popular.
The Greenhouse is open for lunch and offers light snacks and meals with artisanal bread, handcrafted cheeses, dressed meats and fresh garden salads.
The Bakery serves up an Italian-inspired three-course set menu every Monday and Friday evening, and a five-course meat evening every Wednesday.
Lastly, there is also a Tea Ceremony in the Healing Garden every Tuesday at 09.30 am.
Activities for the active person at Babylonstoren
There is a gym at Babylonstoren that is open for adults daily from 06.00 - 21.00, or if swimming is your thing, there is the outdoor pool at the Garden Spa. You can experience rowing on the dam or fly fishing and there are bicycles available too. Alternatively, if you’d like to explore the farm on foot, there are many walking and running trails.
Activities for children at Babylonstoren
The farm is a paradise for children. Donkeys live opposite the farm and children can help feed them. They can also help collect eggs and harvest fruit and vegetables from the garden. Children are also welcome to help the bakers knead and bake delicious farm bread. Best of all, there is also a scavenger hunt, which is a great deal of fun!
The Farm Shop at Babylonstoren
The Bakery supplies the shop with freshly baked bread, which can be enjoyed with delicious handcrafted cheese from the Cheese Room. There is also Charcuterie and Biltong available in the Meat Room. Seasonal preserves, wine, flour and a variety of homeware can also be purchased. The Lekker Room is a tantalising space of flavours where Babylonstoren almonds and pecan nuts are grown on the farm.
With all of these activities on offer, you’ll be spoilt for choice for things to do, and you will be left with some special memories after a stay at Babylonstoren.