Val du Charron is situated a few kilometres outside Wellington, under the beautiful Groenberg Mountain, nestled in a valley known for its viticulture and warm summers…

About an hour’s drive from Cape Town, you can find yourself immersed in a very ‘European’ landscape up the R44. Having experienced one of Cape Town’s coldest winters yet, we realised why the Wellington weather report had told us to expect temps of 1°C! There were snow-capped mountains in almost every direction.

Luckily for us, we were travelling on a perfect spring morning with blue skies and some gentle sun. Known to reach up to 40°C max in summer, Wellington is just far enough outside of Cape Town for the climate to be completely different from the Mother City, and for visitors to feel like they’ve really travelled to a ‘far off land’!

Pampers and spoils at Val du Charron

Heading along a farmland road, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves at the reception of Val du Charron. The friendly receptionist, Elzaan, showed us to our room, taking us past the Grill Room, a high-end steakhouse with pleasant staff who offered to help with our luggage.

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Staying just for a night, our bags were light enough for us to carry ourselves, and we made our way to our neat little room on the first floor overlooking the majestic views of Bainskloof, Groenberg and surrounds. The cosy space opens onto a balcony with two chairs and a table, allowing guests to really maximise the main highlight of the estate which is the view.

A stylish headboard, which turns into side tables and encompasses reading lamps framed a queen sized bed with feather pillows and duvet.  The air conditioning unit was able to warm up the room late at night and is probably just as much of a benefit during the hotter months. A black-and-white photo of Tuscan architecture features on the wall, while a 32-inch TV with a wide bouquet of DStv channels is viewable from the bed, next to the dresser.

The usual amenities including tea, coffee, glasses, cups, kettle, plunger and a flower arrangement sit just above the honesty bar fridge on the dresser.

Stargazing and walking trails

While the room has some white-washed wood finishes, much of Val du Charron is about warmer fireside tones, with an African flare. You can enjoy a glass of sherry, while browsing through a book of antique collections in the lounge.

 

There’s also the opportunity to do a bit of stargazing through the telescope, and guests are welcome to enjoy a walk through the countryside on one of many different paths, past vineyards, small dams and rolling hills. Val du Charron also has access for mountain bikers and trail runners who want a base of operations and is literally walking distance from a pizzeria and a cellar with equally breath-taking views.

We indulged in dinner at the Grill Room

The restaurant is geared towards carnivores, but being an almost-vegan I put together a tasty dinner incorporating various veggie side dishes.

My husband had chicken breasts with balsamic glaze, sweet chili jam and some beer battered onion rings. With the fireplace crackling in the background, and the red hues as the sun sets against the silhouette of fence poles, the Grill Room is perfectly positioned for spectacular views and serves delicious food. You can expect to pay up to R250 per person, but it did help that we had the Entertainer App which also applies to the Piza e Vino pizza restaurant across the way. Unfortunately, being on a Sunday we were able to visit the pizzeria where they do have a vegan option with one of the pizzas, but hopefully we will visit again at some stage.

Focusing on the great outdoors

Staying in a lock-up and go unit, it’s comfortable enough to sit back and do some reading on the balcony overlooking the view or watching a movie in the evening, but you get the impression that the main focus is on the great outdoors.

The bathroom has a very spacious shower, and luxury fittings with in-house branded hand wash, conditioning, body wash and micro toiletries. It really is a room that invites you to live with the curtains wide open to get as much of the panorama as possible during your stay.

Scrumptious breakfast & winery tour

A buffet breakfast, consisting of croissants, fruit salad and fresh produce is followed by a hot breakfast. I had a concoction of veggies served on a bed of sweet potato mash. My husband had a full English breakfast and a couple of filter coffees.

We then had an informative tour of the site, which is also a wine estate, including a winery that produces up to 750 000 bottles per year. While it wasn’t harvest time, it was still fascinating to hear about the wine process and some of the modernisations in viticulture.

The spa’s sauna is complimentary to guests, but unfortunately wasn’t open. It’s very popular with locals, who seem to visit for the day to enjoy the stunning views, and is a highlight for guesthouse residents who want to unwind.

We had a look at some of the five-star units, which are a bit more private, one having a dip pool overlooking the view and adjacent to an outdoor fireplace lounge.

Val du Charron really is built around the panoramic vista and the fresh air with mountains in almost every direction. It is set in a piece of paradise and the historical estate’s guesthouse makes it that much easier to enjoy.