Lockdown regulations have finally lifted enough for kids to stay with their grandparents, and parents all over South Africa are rejoicing!

Mom, Bridget McNulty, shares the best place to stay when you’ve dropped the kids off with gran and gramps in Somerset West.

One of the surprises 2020 offered us was just how much parenting we would have to do. What do you mean, six months of 24/7 parenting?!

Happily, we are now able to return to a version of the new normal, and the first thing we wanted to do was find somewhere fabulous to stay while our kids are with their grandparents in Somerset West.

It’s an odd location because it’s so close to winelands, beach and country, but there’s no obvious spot to choose.

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Do you go Stellenbosch side? Pringle Bay? Venture inland? We did some hunting and found the perfect spot.

A warm welcome

First on our list was that we wanted something adult-friendly – no playgrounds or chicken nuggets in sight. Ideally, we wanted somewhere very beautiful and quiet, with delicious food and wine, and no reminders of children at all. We found all that, and more, at Lanzerac.

From the moment you step into your sumptuous bedroom, you know you’ve arrived in grown-up heaven. From the free bottle of wine and delicious snacks (spiced nuts, biltong and cookies) to the fabulous bed, enormous bath and vineyard views from every window, it is a blissful spot.

All guests get a free wine tasting voucher, so you can sample Lanzerac’s famous wines (the Syrah is excellent) and guests also get free access to the heated swimming pool and the jacuzzi at the spa – with more of those expansive vineyard views.

What makes it such a welcome spot for parents looking to escape real life for a while is the combination of luxury and comfort: Lanzerac manages to feel really fancy while also feeling really welcoming. You don’t have to be on your best behaviour or talk in hushed voices, but you do feel as if you are being pampered at every turn.

A blissful afternoon

Another thing that makes it so special is that you don’t have to leave the premises to access everything you need for a blissful stay. Whether that involves swimming in one of the nine swimming pools (some rooms even come with a private pool) or walking or mountain biking in the vineyards, wine tasting or visiting the spa, or simply relaxing in your decadent room, there’s more than enough to keep you busy.

With a separate lounge tucked up in the second floor of our suite (horses grazing happily in the distance, while clouds rolled over the mountains), I gladly curled up with a book and nibbled on the snacks freely available in the complimentary mini bar.

I also had the best bath of 2020 in the oversized bathroom, wrapped myself in a robe, drank a glass of superb Pinotage and did not have to answer to any requests from small humans. If there’s anything closer to bliss than this, I don’t know what it is.

A delicious evening

Dinner is just a short stroll away, at the Taphuis gourmet pub-style bistro. There you’ll find a cosy interior with some intriguing dishes on the menu – a blend of pub food and uniquely South African ingredients.

We couldn’t resist sampling a number of their small plate tapas – pampoen poffertjies with rooibos salted caramel, crisp rosemary and cinnamon amasi; smoked marrow bone with pickled mushroom, parsley cream, biltong, onion jam and truffle toast; and ouma se beesstert krokette, with truffled haricot purée, garlic chive pesto and a cabernet sauvignon jus.

 

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For mains, the slow smoked pork belly on the bone was succulent and beautifully paired with saffron roast pear and a mustard glaze, and the venison loin with smoked garlic mayo and Cape butter was packed with flavour.

Because the Taphuis is in the historic bar, there’s a comfortable informality to the surroundings that complement the delicious, unconventional food. We paired our meal with Lanzerac Chenin Blanc and Blanc de Blancs Brut, before moving on to more of that superb Syrah. The restaurant is open to outside guests, too, so there’s a great vibe and it’s a wonderful place to while away a few hours without worrying about paying a babysitter.

A sad farewell

After a lazy morning of reading in bed, we returned to the Taphuis for an abundant breakfast, before slowly making our way back to our room to pack up and return to real life. It was a sad farewell…

As parents, we so often spend large chunks of our time in service to other people (our children). To have 24 hours where we not only didn’t have to look after anyone else, but were able to do exactly as we pleased in the most beautiful surroundings, was a rare and precious gift.

Next time the kids are in Somerset West, do yourself a favour and check into Lanzerac. It’s a taste of bliss you’ll remember long after you’re headed home to pack lunchboxes for school.

 

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