Last updated on May 11th, 2018 at 02:38 pm
Nestled in the leafy suburb of Newlands, the award-winning Vineyard Hotel is a two-century-old establishment that started out as a country cottage but now offers over 200 luxurious suites, many of which offer garden and mountain views.
Aside from an enormous pool, the hotel also has a large gym and independent Thai-style spa. It’s a great venue for conferences and weddings and, thanks to a nice clutch of restaurants, it’s a great place to dine, regardless of whether you’re staying as a guest or not.
Upon being offered a night’s stay, I didn’t hesitate to say yes and brought along my friend Chelle who had yet to visit the hotel.
Upon arrival, my car was immediately taken off my hands and parked somewhere safe while my bags were carried into the reception. At this point, nobody knew I was there to do a review and I appreciated the Rolls Royce-level service, despite driving a dented Kia. After a warm greeting at reception I was told we’d been upgraded to a nicer room but we’d have to wait a few minutes as it wasn’t ready yet, but boy was it worth the wait. Our ‘deluxe mountain’ suite turned out to be the size of my flat and included a large balcony with a gorgeous view of the garden as well as the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Even better, the aircon was cranked up so that, despite being huge, our space was fabulously toasty and comfortable.
Speaking of comfortable, this beautifully decorated room ticked every box with regard to what anyone could wish for to enjoy a winter break – a giant bed with luxuriously soft linen, a big glass shower and freestanding bath plus a lounge and dining area with a well-stocked mini bar and Nespresso machine.
You’d think we wouldn’t want to leave our luxurious room but the Vineyard Hotel has the most beautiful garden you’d be crazy not to explore. A perfectly manicured lawn punctuated by a romantic fountain spills down towards a garden that’s all about secret little pathways, shady nooks and a tranquil river. It’s the kind of magic space where you wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised to discover a fairy.
..While we didn’t spot Tinkerbelle, we did run into one of the garden’s more prolific creatures – a giant tortoise. The Vineyard Hotel is famous for its free-roaming torties and I’ve always made sure I’ve found one during every visit as I’m convinced stroking their shell will bring me luck.
We didn’t need luck, however, to enjoy a delicious dinner that night. The hotel boasts several restaurants including award-winning Myoga (which is now closed for season) as well as Splash Café, Long Café and The Square. We dined at the latter, taking advantage of their five-course menu created by chef Carl van Rooyen that, at R310 on its own and R495 paired with wine, is fantastic value. My camera doesn’t take good pictures in low lighting so you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that everything was artfully presented.Of all the dishes we tried, I most enjoyed the flavoursome grilled eggplant and parmigiana bake and the fabulously tender fillet with marrow and herb crust, mushroom purée, vine tomatoes and Madeira jus served with dauphinoise potatoes (a crispy stack of thinly sliced potato layered with cream!). The passion fruit sorbet that was served as a palette cleanser was wonderful too. I could’ve happily eaten three or four scoops.
Other things you should know about The Square? The friendly waiters are well-trained and on the ball and the wine list is enormous and well-priced.
The next morning Chelle and I took turns languishing in the bubble bath and sipped Nespresso coffee on the balcony before making our way down to breakfast. It’s served as a buffet with à la carte options in The Square but as it was absolutely buzzing we ended up eating in the garden lounge just off the patio which was sunny and relaxed. This is also where you can enjoy Lady Anne’s decadent afternoon tea for R165 per person. The buffet’s fantastically varied, serving up everything from cold meats and cheeses to delicate pastries and all the usual ‘hot brekkie’ suspects too. I really enjoyed the crispy bacon, appreciated that tomato was present in the juice line up and loved that, and when it came to dressing up your yoghurt, ‘topping options’ felt endless. Whoever makes their fruit chip-filled muesli deserves a medal.One thing I noticed while roaming around is that, despite being winter, it was always full and not just with guests. As Vineyard Hotel has so many great-value specials on the go, it draws people in like a magnet. After a quick, seamless check out and one last walk around the garden we lingered in one of the hotel’s quiet garden-facing lounge areas to read the papers and soak up a bit of morning sun before trying the hotel’s fairly new roastery, Long Café. Decorated with original JH Peerneef art, it serves up sustainably sourced coffee from around the globe that’s freshly roasted and blended on site as well as a selection of light meals, pastries and cakes.
..Chelle enjoyed a hot choccie (‘delish!’), I appreciated a flavourful flat white and we indulged in an ultra moist carrot cake with decadent cream cheese frosting and possibly the fanciest bran muffin I’ve ever seen. Again, it was super moist and contained a sweet, squishy surprise in the form of stewed apricots!
If you’re looking for a beautiful stay in the suburbs with great-value dining options and top notch, friendly service know that the Vineyard Hotel is a wonderful five-star choice.
Any prices mentioned were correct at the time of publication. To view the Vineyard Hotel’s current specials and menus as well as to make any reservations visit their website.