Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, set at the foot of Simonsberg in the Franschhoek wine valley. It has a fruit and vegetable garden of beauty and diversity, unique accommodation, fine food and wine, and evokes a sense of wellbeing.
The Babylonstoren Farm Hotel and cottages offer an authentic farm stay that’s perfectly attuned to nature. The Farmhouse, Manor House, Garden Cottages, Fynbos Cottages and family-focused Fynbos Family House all offer modern farm luxury with every indulgence considered – the perfect base from which to explore the garden, spa, restaurants, Tasting Room and Farm Shop.
While it remains a working farm, Babylonstoren presents a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a most magnificent setting at the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountain. With its garden as a living library, it is a space that celebrates a contemporary, unhurried farm lifestyle and instils a sense of wellbeing in all who wander through.
The farm’s various eateries all celebrate and incorporate the garden’s seasonal bounty. Fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs and other edible delicacies are harvested daily and transformed into dishes that are both nostalgic and innovative.
Babel Restaurant, situated in a refurbished old cowshed with Cape Dutch gables and modern glass walls, sets the perfect backdrop to savour these extraordinary dishes. The more relaxed Greenhouse eatery, again, offers an informal experience where light meals can be enjoyed after a stroll through the garden.
Grazing platters are also served in the farm’s state-of-the-art winery and Tasting Room, which sits suspended atop a vineyard in a glass-walled structure. Here you can taste the full range of award-winning wines, consisting of four whites, a rosé, three elegant reds and the beloved Sprankel Cap Classique.
From the unique terroir of the Simonsberg Mountain, the wines produced at Babylonstoren tell the tale of this Boland region in a most enjoyable way. The wine cellar is a library of winemaking processes used the world over, from amphorae clay pots to open cement fermenters and concrete egg-shaped vessels.
Winemaker Klaas Stoffberg and cellar master Charl Coetzee have great fun producing wines with the unique equipment, but these are only used for small batches to create exclusive and limited-edition wines for the Babylonstoren Wine Club.
The farm’s standard range of wines is created using state-of-the-art methods including modern stainless steel tanks as well as oak barrels to produce award-winning wines. The range comprises four whites, four reds, a Provençal-style rosé and a darling Cap Classique called Sprankel.
For visitors, the garden offers the space to soak in the natural Cape Floral Kingdom surroundings. Orchards of abundant fruit, acres of vegetables, farm animals and a macrocosm of pollinating insects make up the botanical haven, alongside unique exhibitions and collections.
Among others, these include thousands of vibrant clivias cultivated by and donated to Babylonstoren from renowned collectors; a succulent house with arid-adapted plants representing the unique vegetation of South Africa’s arid regions; and an expansive cycad collection – one of the rarest plant exhibitions in the world accessible to the public.
The Spice House and Healing Garden at the rear end of the formal garden harbour a variety of tropical plants and herbal healing flora, respectively. These tell the story of the wide selection of herbs and spices represented in South African cuisine.
Visitors can get a glimpse of farm operations through various experiences, such as olive oil blending or witnessing the essential oil distillery in the Scented Room opposite the cellar. Here, an olfactory experience awaits in a space dedicated to transforming the farm’s most fragrant harvests into a range of natural bath and body products.
Other in-depth experiences, hosted by master gardeners, chefs and specialists on a variety of topics, are offered at weekly workshops. The Farm Shop, Milk Room, Bakery, Butchery and Lekker Kamer all offer tasty treats sourced and cultivated from the estate and surrounding suppliers.
The objective is to offer visitors a comprehensive taste of the region, and an opportunity to stock up on an array of pantry treats, fresh produce and luxury homeware. An expansive online offering is also available for remote shoppers across South Africa.
Set beneath a copse of trees, the Farmhouse combines authentic architecture with modern design: refined and moody. A green communal library known as the Butterfly Room contains a rare collection of butterflies bequeathed to the farm. The loft above it has become one of the most beautiful honeymoon suites in Africa.
A botanical theme combines with moody interiors, incorporating swarthy four-poster king-size beds, dusted moss walls, luxurious en-suite marble bathrooms and generous walk-in cupboards. Each room is fitted with a cast-iron stove, contemporary accessories and furniture such as an extra-length MDF Italia sofa.
At Babylonstoren, the overall effect is relaxed yet well heeled with some of the existing farm buildings transformed into sophisticated guest accommodation. Set adjacent to a 3,5 hectare cultivated fruit and vegetable garden, the cottages are characterised by thick whitewashed walls, elegant gables and hearty fireplaces that emulate an authentic farm stay experience.
The interiors take on an altogether contemporary feel when paired with the modern lines of furniture by international design brands such as Kartell, Magis, Philippe Starck and the Bourellec Bros. There are six one-bedroom suites, as well as three one-bedroom cottages and four two-bedroomed cottages.
At Fynbos Cottages guests can fully immerge themselves in the beauty of the natural plant habitat of the Western Cape’s mountains. The cottages are newly built in the Cape Dutch style and adjoin vineyards and orchards – ideal for our more adventurous guests.
FYNBOS FAMILY HOUSE
Nestled at the foot of the Simonsberg and Franschhoek mountains, the Fynbos Family House is an elegant, exclusive-use home in Cape Dutch-style in the heart of the Cape Winelands.
Designed to offer families and friends an intimate shared space and the relaxed freedom to tailor-make their days any way they choose, this secluded spot is a peaceful retreat like no other.
Our Cape Dutch Manor House dates back to 1777. This exclusive house has five bedrooms accommodating ten guests. The interior has been beautifully restored to its former glory, but with a definite contemporary touch. Bookshelves are filled with a wonderful selection of books and the traditional farm kitchen boasts a roaring old wood-burning stove.
Housed in the old cow shed, Babel Restaurant is a wonderful mix of Cape Dutch architecture and contemporary glass walls that makes for a simple yet edgy environment in which to try our tasty yet often unconventional combinations. We have a farm-to-fork philosophy which means we like to serve food that is seasonal and that reflects our “pick, clean and serve” approach.
At the rear of the garden, tucked away between the oak trees, the Greenhouse offers a wonderful refreshment station to guests after a walk through the garden.
All our food is served picnic-style, highlighting fresh and seasonal ingredients inspired by the garden. Our freshly baked scones with seasonal preserves are a favourite, best enjoyed with a spot of farm-grown honeybush tea.
By day, the Bakery supplies our Farm Shop and restaurants with freshly baked breads but by night, this space is transformed into a true celebration of La Dolce Vita! For dinners in the Bakery, we serve our food family style – guests dish up for themselves from wooden boards placed on their table while sipping on wine and enjoying the lively atmosphere.
Like everything else at Babylonstoren, the Garden Spa is inextricably linked to the garden and the ever-changing seasons. We like to think of it as a living spa, set within a forest of bamboo with tranquil greenery and a myriad leiwater channels to set the tone. Housed in our pavilion constructed of bamboo, it comprises a hammam, chill room, hot spa and gym.
VISIT THE GARDEN
Set within 3,5 hectares (8 acres) of cultivated fruit and vegetables, the big garden at Babylonstoren is at the heart of the farm. It was inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town, which supplied sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company with fresh vegetables and fruit during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia.
But we also link back to the mythological hanging gardens of Babylon. Those were thought to have been created by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BC, for his wife who longed for the mountains and valleys of her youth.
WINE TASTING & CELLAR
Our wines are produced in a state-of-the-art winery and are made to showcase the soils and climate where their grapes are grown. The Tasting Room sits adjacent to the Wine Cellar, offering views of the conical Babylonstoren hill, Simonsberg and the Banghoek Mountains.
We have about 94 hectares (232 acres) under vine and produce 13 different grape varieties, with our highest vines – pinot noir and chardonnay – lying against Simonsberg at some 600 metres above sea level. Led by cellar master Charl Coetzee and winemaker Klaas Stoffberg, the farm’s 2011 harvest led to the first bottling of wine under the Babylonstoren label.
Journey to our underground wine tunnel to savour Babylonstoren’s finest wines. Our cellar tour starts in the vineyards above ground, where vines from various styles are cultivated.
From there, we venture into the working cellar with its array of wine-producing vessels, from amphorae clay pots to open cement fermenters and concrete eggs. The tour concludes with a master tasting of our finest wines, paired with farm-grown and handmade delicacies.
THE STORY OF WINE
A tale as old as time, told in vivid sensory detail in our new wine museum, The Story of Wine. The space is a celebration of man’s ingenuity and the earth’s generosity, and the cultural events that have shaped our collective winemaking and wine drinking heritage.
It details the origins, cultivation and culture behind mankind’s love affair with wine, while encouraging a contemporary narrative of its age-old traditions and social gravitas. Visit the museum at the entrance to our Tasting Room, to your right. The self-guided tour is free to experience and open daily.
FRANSCHHOEK WINE TRAM
Tram goers can hop off at Babylonstoren for a wine tasting or daily cellar tour as part of their Franschhoek Wine Tram experience. We form part of the purple and orange line, which covers 8 wine estates in the picturesque Franschhoek winelands valley.
The ultimate pantry go-to, our Extra Virgin Olive Oil Blend & seasonal single varietal offerings begin and conclude their journey right here on our farm before making their way into your kitchen.
Made from several olive varietals that are grown in the sun and soil on the slopes of the Simonsberg, the entire process takes place under the expert care of our ‘olive oil sommelier’, Klaas Stoffberg and his team: from traditional hand-harvesting to cold-pressing to decanting into our uniquely designed tins.
Our philosophy in the creation of our olive oils – one that unites sophisticated international methods with a passionate artisanal approach – has led to local and international recognition in the form of several prestigious awards as well as our most important benchmark, the approval of foodies who have come to appreciate the freshness and unique flavour of our liquid gold.
OLIVE OIL & BALSAMIC VINEGAR TOUR
The walking tour starts with a visit to our balsamic vinegar cellar, where guests will gain insight into the traditional methods and production processes used to create our DOP-style vinegar, and taste both our three-year-old and twelve-year-old balsamic vinegars.
This is followed by a behind-the-scenes look at how Babylonstoren’s table olives are made in our olive production plant and sample the varieties on offer.
After the tasting, the process of transforming olives into golden olive oil in our cold press process is explained in the olive press. Finally, it’s time to taste our olive oils. Guests can create their own 100ml blend of the different oils to take home as a small keepsake.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL BLEND
Our popular Extra Virgin Olive Oil Blend is made from five olive varietals grown on our farm and has a gentle aroma with notes of florals and fresh herbs, most markedly mint. A nutty start on the palate runs into a pleasantly bitter and peppery taste for which true cold-extracted, fresh-from-harvest extra virgin olive oil is so celebrated.
Immensely versatile and distinguished by its golden-green hue, use our Extra Virgin Olive Oil Blend to soak into chunky bread, drizzle over pasta, dress a simple salad or roast chicken or perk up grilled fruits served with soft cheese for a gorgeous dessert.
FRANTOIO EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Considered one of Italy’s most noble olive varietals and deeply connected to the Tuscan landscape, our local Frantoio crop has yielded this very special single varietal extra virgin olive oil.
Made distinctive by its intense green hue with a golden sheen, the unique fragrance is characterised by dried herbs, floral tones, almonds, green apples and freshly-cut grass. Delightfully piquant, the flavour of our Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil is distinguished by a robust but pleasant peppery, bitter taste.
Enjoy this superlative oil for dipping with rustic bread, over seasonal salads, pasta dishes, Turkish and Moroccan cuisine, with fish and seafood or elevate a simple platter of tomatoes into something magnificent.
We take the gentle art of tea blending seriously at Babylonstoren, using the finest cuts of superior-quality organic Rooibos and Honeybush leaves in our teabags to obtain a true local character.
A typically South African drink that has found popularity at home and abroad, Rooibos and Honeybush derive from indigenous Cape fynbos, hence the distinctive amber colour and sweet, earthy and uniquely floral taste that sets them apart from the rest.
There’s also more to our tea than just a moment of serenity: this splendid brew is also naturally caffeine-free, low in tannins and rich in anti-oxidants.
While the question of how to enjoy our strong and honest Rooibos and Honeybush blends is entirely up to you – with or without milk, with a spoonful of honey or straight up, over ice or steaming – it’s certain we’re all in agreement on one thing… Tea is always a good idea.
Made from the indigenous Honeybush plant that forms part of the fynbos biome, our Organic Honeybush Tea is infused with the essence of the Southern Cape. Enjoyed for its herbal-flowery taste, slight sweetness and honey aroma, this tea is a delightful alternative to the everyday cuppa.
It is 100% natural, low in tannin and contains no caffeine or sugar. The relaxing and soothing qualities of Honeybush Tea make it the ideal beverage to complement a healthy lifestyle. For optimal flavour, brew with just-boiled water to the preferred strength and enjoy hot or cold, with milk or without.
Available in teabags or loose-leaf, our organic Rooibos Tea (Afrikaans for ‘Red Bush’) has a herbal, fruity taste and a distinctive crimson colour. Made from the dried leaves of the Rooibos plant, this drink is not only naturally sugar- and caffeine-free but is also appreciated for its great flavour and health benefits.
Brew in just-boiled water to your preferred strength and enjoy as is, or add milk, cinnamon, honey or sugar for a comforting drink. For the best of both, make a brew using a bag each of Honeybush and Rooibos tea.
WEDDINGS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Babylonstoren is an authentic, versatile venue with one of the country’s best preserved Cape Dutch farmyards, offering a historic yet contemporary farm stay.
The ever-changing tapestry and rich bounty of the gardens at Babylonstoren inform everything – from the facilities and activities on offer to the themes of our functions, which range from weddings to private celebrations.
Babylonstoren is an authentic, versatile venue with three spaces. All are housed in original, beautifully restored Cape Dutch farm buildings which, with their whitewashed walls, ornate gables and thatched roofs, provide an elegant environment for a wedding party or any event for up to 100 guests.
Set within 3,5 hectares of cultivated fruit and vegetables, the beautiful garden at Babylonstoren is at the heart of the farm. It was inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town and is one of the best preserved Cape Dutch farmyards in the Cape – making it the perfect backdrop for many scenes.
Here at Babylonstoren, we know the value of sharing special moments with loved ones and friends. Whether it’s celebrating an important anniversary, baby shower, bridal tea, birthday or simply enjoying a slice of life, we have different venues available to accommodate groups of varying sizes.