I can still picture the scene, tucked in our hotel room, with the fire roaring and crackling whilst the rain pours down outside, an African rain storm is something that everyone should witness at least once.
Now you may be thinking, “Why would I want to go somewhere wet & rainy?” Well the good news is that in the Cape, unlike my homeland of the UK, it may rain for half a day in the spring, then you know it will be beautiful, clear and sunny for at least a few days after.
We had this very experience when staying at Schoone Oordt in Swellendam, lounging by the pool soaking up the rays one day then walking underneath an umbrella the next. But hey, sitting in the winelands on a cold rainy day next to the fire with a great bottle of red and fabulous company…who would want more?
Swellendam is a small, unassuming town surrounded by mountains and vineyards, filled with historical buildings, cute cottages, friendly people and wonderful shops and food. It almost takes you back in time at points, until you see the odd car or an ATM, but if you’re after an escape outside of the city, some fresh air and a great place to stay then Schoone Oordt is your stop.
Schoone Oordt presents an elegant facade, a grande country house of times past that invites you to step inside just out of curiosity. The Manor House reflects the atmosphere of Swellendam perfectly, a laid back country style of living, but it perfectly balances the responsibility of a historical country lifestyle mixed with modern day 5* luxury hotels.
When we arrived we were greeted with a great big smile and a friendly welcome whilst being shown into the reception area. Ready and waiting for us were our delicious welcome drinks whilst we were given a brief introduction to the hotel, sitting in the classically styled bar area. We glanced over the lunchtime menu and suddenly realized that we were very hungry.
Schoone Oordt is set within its own beautiful gardens and grounds, stunning flowers providing vivid colors and water fountains further creating a calmer environment. The swimming pool is also a fantastic area to sit back, relax, enjoy the sunshine, cool off in the water and watch the world go by. As they say “The emphasis here is on unpretentious unaffected luxury, elegance, quality, love and attention to detail”, and they duly deliver.
The rooms continue this perfect marriage of relaxed yet luxurious country living, with a private stoep/veranda overlooking the gardens where you can relax with your coffee in the morning, or enjoy the cool evening breeze. A large fireplace that warms the room on the colder evenings in the Cape, a wonderful window seat, where you can recline and read a book whilst listening to the rain (as I did when the rain decided to kick in). An extremely comfortable bed is the centerpiece in the room, that ensures a great nights sleep.
The bathroom deserves its own paragraph, it was huge. A large circular open shower that felt like you were standing in a warm rain shower, it reinvigorates you. This was complimented by Rain Africa products, a local brand in Swellendam, it’s definitely worth a trip to their factory shop in town! Men, if you’re looking for something to get as a gift, then a stay at Schoone Oordt doubled with a trip to the Rain store and spa is definitely a winner…(Ladies, perhaps try heavily hinting by making them read this post…) you can relax in the evening with an unwinding long soak with some great smelling bath salts.
The latest addition to the Manor House is a conservatory which acts as a dining room for the delicious meals provided by the chef at Schoone Oordt. The food is fantastic, with breakfast being a particular highlight, being from the UK it made me reminisce about sitting in my Nan’s conservatory in the pouring rain with a cup of tea and that’s exactly what we were doing that morning at breakfast.
You may be thinking, well what exactly is there to do in Swellendam? The answer is more than you probably realize:
There’s got to be something there to tickle your fancy and make you want visit right? Even if your excuse is to get out of the City and relax. All we know is that we can’t wait to head back to Schoone Oordt and Swellendam.
All opinions within this blog are our own and any hosted stays will be disclosed in the relevant blog posts. We do not trade off complimentary stays for a positive reflection of any kind, and we will only give credit where credit is due. We put in a lot of time and effort researching the properties we visit, we want to build long standing trust with you, our readers, with honesty and integrity being incredibly important to us.
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