Escape to the winelands
There’s something quite spectacular about stepping out onto the lawn at Le Jardin at sunset
There’s something quite spectacular about stepping out onto the lawn at Le Jardin at sunset. To the right, the private conservatory glimmers with candlelight and to the left the Miami-style Art Deco pool shimmers. The pines to the front are strung with fairly lights and though it’s not a mega-acre estate the air is definitely filled with Gatsby spritz.
Owned by an old Stellenbosch family, the former residence is now available for private hire, making it the ideal destination for family weekends away or celebratory parties; it’s quite possibly the best 50th birthday destination.
Built in the style of Herbert Baker, with rolling gables and sweeping staircases, the main house has three doubles, all en suite, while the pool house has two sumptuous doubles and one family room.
The latter is Tintin-themed — there’s a red rocket ship, lifebuoys with love letters and, of course, Tintin’s trusty sidekick Snowy.
It could easily all be a little OTT, but somehow, though the entrance hall is plastered in a de Gournay tropical print, the sitting room covered in washed midnight silk and the bar (with a secret cellar stair) clad in leather inscribed with quotations from Alice in Wonderland, the house retains a soul.
It’s not too precious, it’s just wonderfully decadent — for adults and children alike.
Through the stoep and across the lawn lies a lake with lilies to rival those at the botanical garden in Mauritius. Across the water is a zipline, while moored alongside the fresh-water pool (definitely for the brave) is a rowboat, oars to the ready. Treehouses of various heights beckon, and to the left of a delicious monster forest a fenced-off play park with a jungle gym and trampoline can be found.
This is a great retreat option for young and old, intimate and strangers — ultimately, those who want a grand villa experience with a best friend feel. Gatsby spritz included.