Cape Town and Winelands (7-Day Nov/Dec)

Description:
couples getaway
first-timer
honeymoon
a romantic honeymoon trip to Cape Town and the picturesque Cape winelands.
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Trip Itinerary

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Heaven for Foodie

If you are a foodie, Cape Town is the right place for you. We had so many great meals there that it was hard to pick highlights. We found a few restaurants worthy of Michelin star(s) but the costs were usually about 1/3 of what one would typically pay in New York for meals of similar quality. Our absolute favorites were the Greenhouse and Babel Restaurant. The former is all about its creative tasting menu and the latter is known for its fresh farm-to-table dishes.

Hiking in Cape Town

Cape Town was breathtakingly beautiful. Blue ocean, golden beaches, and green mountains ... Cape Town is gifted with so many natural wonders that hiking is a must-do activity if you visit this city. While Table Mountain is arguably the most famous to hike, we chose Lion's Head based on a local friend's recommendation. The trail is easily accessible from the city (see Lion's Head trail info) and suitable for beginner hikers, with unobstructed views from Table Mountain to the city’s skyline. We finished our 3-hr hike with a couple of refreshing drinks at The Rumbullion, the outdoor terrace area of The Roundhouse Restaurant.

Boulders Penguin Colony

Located in the Cape Peninsula, Boulders Beach is a sheltered beach made up of inlets between granite boulders. It has become a popular tourist stop because a colony of African penguins settled there in 1982. From just two breeding pairs in the beginning, the penguin colony has grown to about 3,000 birds today. It is quite a scene to be able to observe this vulnerable species at close range.

The Greenhouse

The most famous restaurant in Cape Town during our visit was Test Kitchen, which has won a spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for a number of years. Even though we tried months ahead to reserve a table, we couldn't get it (and we were told later that you need to try at least 6 months ahead to secure a reservation). So instead we tried its Asian-influenced sister restaurant, The Pot Luck Club, which is located in the same area, Old Biscuit Mill. The lunch was good but wasn't great, so even till today we still wonder how different our experience would have been had we gone to Test Kitchen. Luckily, our dinner at The Greenhouse that night more than made up for the small disappointment at lunch.

The Greenhouse is located a bit out of the way at the Cellars-Hohenort, a beautiful Relais & Chateau member property. The experience was well worth the drive out there. We had the 8-course tasting menu and it was an excellent meal all round - the modern European cooking with inventive African-influenced twists, the classic dining atmosphere in an airy space, and the understated, professional yet friendly service. We knew we were in for a treat from the very beginning when they served us the freshly baked bread in a nest with the "balsamic" infused butter. The 8-course tasting menu with wine pairing came out to ~$100 per head which is a fraction of the cost for a similar-quality meal in New York City.

Go a bit earlier than your reservation so that you have some time to roam around the beautiful grounds of The Cellars-Hohenort. After doing that ourselves, we hope to stay there on our next Cape Town trip! 

Babylonstoren Farm Hotel

There was no better word than "heavenly" to describe Babylonstoren. We spent two nights there but wished we could have spent an entire week. The staff at Babylonstoren had a great passion for what they do and it showed in all the little details. We loved our elegantly designed cottage. It has all the modern comforts one can expect from a luxury hotel, but was not over the top. The old charm and simplicity of the farmhouse was well preserved.

Food at the on-premise restaurant, Babel, was excellent. Everything was so freshly and creatively prepared that we had one of our favorite meals of all time (Yes, we thought it was that good). We also enjoyed many of the activities on premise: farm & garden walk, garden fruit picking, wine tasting and winery tour, etc. We highly recommend the farm & garden walk. It's early in the morning (8am) but you probably won't have public visitors during that hour (... the farm is also open to non-hotel guests). We ended up being the only guests on the walk and really enjoyed the morning serenity with our awesome guide, Jerome. He even made us a beautiful bouquet from the wild flowers picked on the walk. (Yes, you are allowed to pick full-bloomed flowers and ripe fruits on the property.)  We also went for a little harvest in the garden one evening. We ended up sending these fruits to the kitchen but guests are welcome to eat anything they harvest.

Babylonstoren is a good base to explore wineries and restaurants nearby (and the cute Franschhoek town center as well). The hotel helped us rent a car (dropped off at the hotel and picked up from the hotel when we left). The area was very safe to drive around on our own. Just remember that South Africans drive on the left side of the road!

Book spa appointments in advance at Babylonstoren. It was fully booked when we tried to get one after our arrival.

Babylonstoren Farm & Garden Tour

We enjoyed many of the activities on premise: farm & garden walk, garden fruit picking, wine tasting and winery tour, etc. We highly recommend the farm & garden walk. It's early in the morning (8am) but you probably won't have public visitors during that hour (... the farm is also open to non-hotel guests). We ended up being the only guests on the walk and really enjoyed the morning serenity with our awesome guide, Jerome. He even made us a beautiful bouquet from the wild flowers picked on the walk. (Yes, you are allowed to pick full-bloomed flowers and ripe fruits on the property.)  

We also went for a little harvest in the garden one evening. We ended up sending these fruits to the kitchen but guests are welcome to eat anything they harvest.

Delaire Graff Lodges And Spa

Perched on the slopes of the magnificent Stellenbosch mountains, Delaire Graff offers a sweeping view across the estate’s vineyards. Each lodge has its own private heated plunge pool, an idyllic setting for relaxing and indulging. No details were spared to create the ultimate feeling of a luxury escape. It was a perfect place to spend our last day on the honeymoon and get pampered before we set out on the long journey back.

For such a luxury boutique hotel, we found that the treatments at Delaire Graff Spa were very reasonably priced (the weak South African currency, Rand, helped). So don't forget to book yourself some pampering sessions or even a Half-Day/Full-Day Ritual.

Journal

Show

Hiking in Cape Town

Cape Town was breathtakingly beautiful. Blue ocean, golden beaches, and green mountains ... Cape Town is gifted with so many natural wonders that hiking is a must-do activity if you visit this city. While Table Mountain is arguably the most famous to hike, we chose Lion's Head based on a local friend's recommendation. The trail is easily accessible from the city (see Lion's Head trail info) and suitable for beginner hikers, with unobstructed views from Table Mountain to the city’s skyline. We finished our 3-hr hike with a couple of refreshing drinks at The Rumbullion, the outdoor terrace area of The Roundhouse Restaurant.

Atlanticview Cape Town

Despite the overwhelmingly positive Tripadvisor reviews, this boutique hotel fell short of our expectations as a honeymoon accommodation. Our suite was small and the bathroom was tiny. If the view is all you care about, then this hotel may be a great choice. Unfortunately it was not up to our standards for a honeymoon trip. In hindsight, the particularly nasty and unprofessional responses from the hotel owner to unfavorable reviews on Tripadvisor should have been a warning sign to avoid this place. However, we were blindsighted by the perplexingly numerous (700+) 5-star reviews.

This place shouldn't be called a hotel but rather an above-average bed-and-breakfast and was not worth the exorbitant room rate. Thankfully, our stays at the other two hotels after Atlanticview, Babylonstoren and Delaire Graff, were incredible which saved our honeymoon. Both places are in the wine country outside Cape Town, about 1.5-hour drive from the city center. For honeymooners who want to stay inside Cape Town, we would recommend looking into Ellerman House if you are willing to pay up, or The Twelve Apostles which is in a similar price range to Atlanticview. Constantia, on the other side of Table Mountain ( ~30 mins from the city center), is another area worth looking into for romantic properties great for honeymoon stays.

Journal

Show

Boulders Penguin Colony

Located in the Cape Peninsula, Boulders Beach is a sheltered beach made up of inlets between granite boulders. It has become a popular tourist stop because a colony of African penguins settled there in 1982. From just two breeding pairs in the beginning, the penguin colony has grown to about 3,000 birds today. It is quite a scene to be able to observe this vulnerable species at close range.

Atlanticview Cape Town

Despite the overwhelmingly positive Tripadvisor reviews, this boutique hotel fell short of our expectations as a honeymoon accommodation. Our suite was small and the bathroom was tiny. If the view is all you care about, then this hotel may be a great choice. Unfortunately it was not up to our standards for a honeymoon trip. In hindsight, the particularly nasty and unprofessional responses from the hotel owner to unfavorable reviews on Tripadvisor should have been a warning sign to avoid this place. However, we were blindsighted by the perplexingly numerous (700+) 5-star reviews.

This place shouldn't be called a hotel but rather an above-average bed-and-breakfast and was not worth the exorbitant room rate. Thankfully, our stays at the other two hotels after Atlanticview, Babylonstoren and Delaire Graff, were incredible which saved our honeymoon. Both places are in the wine country outside Cape Town, about 1.5-hour drive from the city center. For honeymooners who want to stay inside Cape Town, we would recommend looking into Ellerman House if you are willing to pay up, or The Twelve Apostles which is in a similar price range to Atlanticview. Constantia, on the other side of Table Mountain ( ~30 mins from the city center), is another area worth looking into for romantic properties great for honeymoon stays.

Journal

Show

The Greenhouse

The most famous restaurant in Cape Town during our visit was Test Kitchen, which has won a spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for a number of years. Even though we tried months ahead to reserve a table, we couldn't get it (and we were told later that you need to try at least 6 months ahead to secure a reservation). So instead we tried its Asian-influenced sister restaurant, The Pot Luck Club, which is located in the same area, Old Biscuit Mill. The lunch was good but wasn't great, so even till today we still wonder how different our experience would have been had we gone to Test Kitchen. Luckily, our dinner at The Greenhouse that night more than made up for the small disappointment at lunch.

The Greenhouse is located a bit out of the way at the Cellars-Hohenort, a beautiful Relais & Chateau member property. The experience was well worth the drive out there. We had the 8-course tasting menu and it was an excellent meal all round - the modern European cooking with inventive African-influenced twists, the classic dining atmosphere in an airy space, and the understated, professional yet friendly service. We knew we were in for a treat from the very beginning when they served us the freshly baked bread in a nest with the "balsamic" infused butter. The 8-course tasting menu with wine pairing came out to ~$100 per head which is a fraction of the cost for a similar-quality meal in New York City.

Go a bit earlier than your reservation so that you have some time to roam around the beautiful grounds of The Cellars-Hohenort. After doing that ourselves, we hope to stay there on our next Cape Town trip! 

Atlanticview Cape Town

Despite the overwhelmingly positive Tripadvisor reviews, this boutique hotel fell short of our expectations as a honeymoon accommodation. Our suite was small and the bathroom was tiny. If the view is all you care about, then this hotel may be a great choice. Unfortunately it was not up to our standards for a honeymoon trip. In hindsight, the particularly nasty and unprofessional responses from the hotel owner to unfavorable reviews on Tripadvisor should have been a warning sign to avoid this place. However, we were blindsighted by the perplexingly numerous (700+) 5-star reviews.

This place shouldn't be called a hotel but rather an above-average bed-and-breakfast and was not worth the exorbitant room rate. Thankfully, our stays at the other two hotels after Atlanticview, Babylonstoren and Delaire Graff, were incredible which saved our honeymoon. Both places are in the wine country outside Cape Town, about 1.5-hour drive from the city center. For honeymooners who want to stay inside Cape Town, we would recommend looking into Ellerman House if you are willing to pay up, or The Twelve Apostles which is in a similar price range to Atlanticview. Constantia, on the other side of Table Mountain ( ~30 mins from the city center), is another area worth looking into for romantic properties great for honeymoon stays.

Journal

Show

Babylonstoren Farm Hotel

There was no better word than "heavenly" to describe Babylonstoren. We spent two nights there but wished we could have spent an entire week. The staff at Babylonstoren had a great passion for what they do and it showed in all the little details. We loved our elegantly designed cottage. It has all the modern comforts one can expect from a luxury hotel, but was not over the top. The old charm and simplicity of the farmhouse was well preserved.

Food at the on-premise restaurant, Babel, was excellent. Everything was so freshly and creatively prepared that we had one of our favorite meals of all time (Yes, we thought it was that good). We also enjoyed many of the activities on premise: farm & garden walk, garden fruit picking, wine tasting and winery tour, etc. We highly recommend the farm & garden walk. It's early in the morning (8am) but you probably won't have public visitors during that hour (... the farm is also open to non-hotel guests). We ended up being the only guests on the walk and really enjoyed the morning serenity with our awesome guide, Jerome. He even made us a beautiful bouquet from the wild flowers picked on the walk. (Yes, you are allowed to pick full-bloomed flowers and ripe fruits on the property.)  We also went for a little harvest in the garden one evening. We ended up sending these fruits to the kitchen but guests are welcome to eat anything they harvest.

Babylonstoren is a good base to explore wineries and restaurants nearby (and the cute Franschhoek town center as well). The hotel helped us rent a car (dropped off at the hotel and picked up from the hotel when we left). The area was very safe to drive around on our own. Just remember that South Africans drive on the left side of the road!

Book spa appointments in advance at Babylonstoren. It was fully booked when we tried to get one after our arrival.

Journal

Show

Babylonstoren Farm & Garden Tour

We enjoyed many of the activities on premise: farm & garden walk, garden fruit picking, wine tasting and winery tour, etc. We highly recommend the farm & garden walk. It's early in the morning (8am) but you probably won't have public visitors during that hour (... the farm is also open to non-hotel guests). We ended up being the only guests on the walk and really enjoyed the morning serenity with our awesome guide, Jerome. He even made us a beautiful bouquet from the wild flowers picked on the walk. (Yes, you are allowed to pick full-bloomed flowers and ripe fruits on the property.)  

We also went for a little harvest in the garden one evening. We ended up sending these fruits to the kitchen but guests are welcome to eat anything they harvest.

Babylonstoren Farm Hotel

There was no better word than "heavenly" to describe Babylonstoren. We spent two nights there but wished we could have spent an entire week. The staff at Babylonstoren had a great passion for what they do and it showed in all the little details. We loved our elegantly designed cottage. It has all the modern comforts one can expect from a luxury hotel, but was not over the top. The old charm and simplicity of the farmhouse was well preserved.

Food at the on-premise restaurant, Babel, was excellent. Everything was so freshly and creatively prepared that we had one of our favorite meals of all time (Yes, we thought it was that good). We also enjoyed many of the activities on premise: farm & garden walk, garden fruit picking, wine tasting and winery tour, etc. We highly recommend the farm & garden walk. It's early in the morning (8am) but you probably won't have public visitors during that hour (... the farm is also open to non-hotel guests). We ended up being the only guests on the walk and really enjoyed the morning serenity with our awesome guide, Jerome. He even made us a beautiful bouquet from the wild flowers picked on the walk. (Yes, you are allowed to pick full-bloomed flowers and ripe fruits on the property.)  We also went for a little harvest in the garden one evening. We ended up sending these fruits to the kitchen but guests are welcome to eat anything they harvest.

Babylonstoren is a good base to explore wineries and restaurants nearby (and the cute Franschhoek town center as well). The hotel helped us rent a car (dropped off at the hotel and picked up from the hotel when we left). The area was very safe to drive around on our own. Just remember that South Africans drive on the left side of the road!

Book spa appointments in advance at Babylonstoren. It was fully booked when we tried to get one after our arrival.

Journal

Show

Delaire Graff Lodges And Spa

Perched on the slopes of the magnificent Stellenbosch mountains, Delaire Graff offers a sweeping view across the estate’s vineyards. Each lodge has its own private heated plunge pool, an idyllic setting for relaxing and indulging. No details were spared to create the ultimate feeling of a luxury escape. It was a perfect place to spend our last day on the honeymoon and get pampered before we set out on the long journey back.

For such a luxury boutique hotel, we found that the treatments at Delaire Graff Spa were very reasonably priced (the weak South African currency, Rand, helped). So don't forget to book yourself some pampering sessions or even a Half-Day/Full-Day Ritual.

Journal

Show

Delaire Graff Estate

Delaire Graff is more than just a lodging place, but a world-class destination for wine, art, dining, and shopping. Graff’s legacy originated in 1960 when Laurence Graff founded Graff Diamonds. Throughout its rich history, Graff has created some of the most fabulous jewels in the world. An avid collector of modern and contemporary art, Laurence Graff opened the doors to Delaire Graff Estate in 2009 where visitors can view some of his personal modern art collection such as Vladimir Tretchikoff’s iconic painting, Chinese Girl. Near the Graff Diamonds boutique at the Estate, you can also find a large portrait of Laurence Graff .

During our stay, we explored the Estate's well-landscaped vineyards and dynamic gardens graced by a collection of bronze Cheetah sculptures by Dylan Lewis. We tasted some of the award-winning wines produced at the Estate in its art-filled Wine Lounge. We also savored a few delicious plates at both restaurants on premise, Indochine and Delaire Graff Restaurant, amidst breath-taking views of the Stellenbosch Valley.

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