Last weekend my mom and I headed out to Simondium to visit Babylonstoren. We’ve been waiting to visit and stay the night for years now, and finally had a good excuse to do it. Graduation present- why not?! The Babylonstoren site has a variety of accommodation options, three different restaurants, famous wine, tea and olive oil, a relaxing spa, a farm shop, a scented room, and the most immaculate garden (fruit and vegetables, cycads, clivias, insect hotels, succulents, a healing garden, a spice garden and so much more). There’s just a never ending list of what you could do in a day. We certainly didn’t have the opportunity to be bored. This is basically a visual diary of the loveliest weekend spent with my special mum, which we will both always treasure!
The Garden Cottage
They have a variety of accommodation options and sizes, from the Farmhouse to the Fynbos Cottages, Garden Cottages and Manor House, which were all just as beautifully done as the next. We stayed in the Garden Cottages for the night which was so crisp, light and just a classic farm stay room. A huge bed, en-suite bathroom, little lounge and kitchen nook, fireplace, and a hammock on the patio. We even got upgraded to a luxury room for a special occasion booking! We dropped our bags, and couldn’t wait to head through the gardens, and of course straight to their wine tasting room for the afternoon. After dinner consisted of a nice big, warm bath (filled through the shower head for speedy filling- haha) with a bunch of tussie-mussie. Yeah, that was our reaction too- a WHAT?! A tussie-mussie is basically a bunch of herbs from their indigenous garden and tea garden, submerged in water to give you a fragrant bathing experience as the natural oils are released. A good nights rest comes from that too (tried and tested!). The next morning we had a cup of Babylonstoren tea and rusks on our balcony and headed off to breakfast.
Food and wine
Wow, did we indulge in every type of food and wine that Babylonstoren has to offer. First up, afternoon wine tasting (of course). We obviously didn’t shy away from the 6 wine tasting menu, and then added an MCC taster too. Pairing that with a mouth-watering charcuterie and cheese board, it just couldn’t get any better! Our waiter, Bronwyn, showed just how knowledgable and passionate they are about making divine wine and making the tasting experience so enjoyable.
After a long walk through the garden we headed off to dinner. Dinner at Babel consisted of more wine, of course, steaming bread and way too much delicious food! We had the Lamb (grilled lamb rack glazed with honey and soy, with miso-poached and roasted beetroot, and deep-fried ginger), the Beef (beef cut with slow-roasted strawberries, garden radish, olive crumbs and a seaweed and Japanese pepper), and the Chef’s Potato Dish of the Day. The Babel restaurant uses only fresh ingredients grown on their farm, as well as surrounding farms making our stay true Babylonstoren experience. Oh, and we can’t forget the resident turkey’s that wondered around outside! And leaving with a special bunch of proteas as a graduation gift from them was just the cherry on top!
We arrived at Babel for breakfast on Saturday morning, after another (unintentional) long stroll through the gardens. Our table was already filled with a ready-to-eat spread of fresh fruit, granola, thick yoghurt, smooth buffalo fior di latte with tomatoes and olives, a selection of cheese and preserves, a charcuterie selection, and freshly baked croissants. And of course, a nice cold ice bucket filled with a variety of fresh cold-pressed juices. We also ordered a hot farm breakfast, because you can never eat too much breakfast (debatable after how we felt afterwards).
We had to check out because we were spending our second night down the road at Paddabult Cottages. But had to come back for lunch and our afternoon spa day! Lunch at the Greenhouse was outdoors which was so nice to sit outside and have a fresh lunch on such a lovely day! We really were spoilt with the weather. Again (obviously) we indulged in Babylonstoren’s Bitterlekker MCC, which is their mix of Babylonstoren MCC and a honeybush, blood orange and rosemary appertif- DELICIOUS! We decided to share lunch today because we may have exploded otherwise. We ordered a Garden Salad (globe artichoke, spring fruits and vegetables, an Asian sesame, soy and mirin dressing with thinly sliced, hot-smoked pork rump) and a chimichurri-marinated halloumi with butternut achar layered sandwich on a fresh panini loaf. The Greenhouse restaurant has a “drop-off chair” to delivery your goods for you to take your food as you eat, which was nice because the table wasn’t crammed (and COVID things too).
Definitely had our share of delicious, fresh meals over the course of less than 24 hours. We ended up having a cheese board and some wine on our patio on Saturday night, thinking that the food we had eaten kind of made up for the next 12 meals.
One of our favourite things about our stay at Babylonstoren was the insane amount of different types of gardens and walks that you could do. We started at one end, near the Babel restaurant, and wondered all the way, up and down the pathways, through the clivia forest and up tot he Greenhouse restaurant, and then back again. The garden has 15 different clusters, ranging from fruits and veggies, to flower forests, to a succulent house, insect hotels and so many things in between. All of the nearly 300 varieties of plants are edible and or has medicinal value which we learnt while reading every single sign on the plant boxes. We particularly enjoyed walking through the clivia garden, thinking about my grandpa, walking through the healing garden and the little nooks which had isolated seats to sit and take in the peaceful surroundings. They run daily guided garden tours and have a bunch of interesting upcoming workshops in their gardens. Be prepared for a whole gallery of pictures below since this is all we did on Saturday morning, and most of Friday afternoon!
And we couldn’t visit Babylonstoren without going for at least one spa treatment, so why not two. We spent Saturday afternoon relaxing by their outdoor pool area which also had a steam room, jacuzzi, sauna and salt room! The pool was just the perfect temperature (lol, sad that we got so excited about that), and we obviously indulged in every amenity! Classic Babylonstoren style, everything has a purpose and can benefit you in some way or another. The salt room following the principles of halotherapy, involves breathing in salty air as a halogenerator releases microscopic salt particles that absorb toxins, soothe the lungs and the airway when inhaled. The plaque outside the store stated some of the benefits of dry salt therapy. “The negatively charged ions in salt boost health and mood. It has a beneficial effect on cell activity, energy and blood sugar levels. It may also reduce bronchial secretions and help clear sinuses. An excellent treatment for skin diseases and allergies.” Next up, the sauna, which always feels like it’s definitely doing something to detoxify your body. The plaque stated some of it’s benefits too. “Elevated temperature stimulates circulation for healthier skin and more energy. Excessive sweating clears pores and purges toxins. Regular use can reduce stress and muscle pain, improve joint movement, lower blood pressure, improve sleep and cardiovascular health.” And lastly, the steam room. “Moist heat helps the skin to detoxify and opens the sinuses. It also helps to improve circulation, cardiovascular health and joint flexibility. Endorphin production is increased and cortisol levels are lowered, providing a relief from stress. Additionally it speeds up metabolism, easing tension in the muscles and increases relaxation.” After spending our afternoon here we were booked in for a Hammam treatment (with a honey and salt scrub) and a 30 minute massage. I don’t think my mom enjoyed the chucking of buckets of water on you as much as I did, and for sure can’t wait to go back for another one. I think a massage always makes you feel like you have a foundation to get your life together, but there’s something about a massage in such a serene place that makes you feel like your life will get it’s self together eventually. A feeling of having not a care in the world, even if it is just for half a day!
Lastly, and very short, we took a walk to the farm shop filled with cheeses, meat, fresh fruit and veg, and all the lovely home stuff. Unfortunately we couldn’t pop into the Bakery this time, but that’s amazing too! But the Scented Room in The Barn was definitely one of our favourites! Scents like orange blossom, blood orange, waterblommetjie, rose and so much more in soaps, diffusers, room spray, candles etc! Some tussie-mussie was also for sale for those who wanted to indulge in some more. We had to get some candles and soaps because they are just incredible!
So, as can be seen by my wide selection of adjectives about Babylonstoren, it was one of the most special and relaxing few days away, and I loved spending it with my favourite person. We will for sure be back for another celebration one day, I’m sure. But will be back to eat and drink more!