Located an easy drive from Cape Town is one of South Africa’s premier (and oldest) wine regions, the Stellenbosch Wine Route. Home to more than 200 farms and estates, this is the intellectual head of South African wine industry and the individual farms live up to this vaunted status. There are a whole host of unique experiences to be had, but few are as special as staying at a winery itself.
is a family-owned and boutique winery located on two estates, including the public face of the property that houses their tasting rooms, Bodega restaurant and the beautiful early 20th century Homestead house. The later is the star of the show, particularly if you’re looking for a unique place to call your own home while visiting Stellenbosch.
Sir Herbert Baker was a turn-of-the-century British architect who led a design revolution in South Africa and was the driving force behind its architecture for decades. The Homestead is one of those designs, an original Baker house that includes so many of the innovations and beauty for which he was so well known. The Homestead was built as a country mansion and was a private villa for one of South Africa’s leading families for generations. They chose the prime location near Stellenbosch for the seclusion and natural beauty that is in clear abundance. Now part of the Dornier family and estate, the house was remodeled in 2011 and is open to guests who want to see what a real Winelands experience is truly like.
The house has all of the modern conveniences one would hope for including a huge kitchen, six bedrooms that can fit up to 12 guests and there’s even WiFi. But these cold facts don’t do justice to what it’s really like to call this magnificent estate your home for even a few days.
Coffee on the verandah – that’s my favorite memory of the house. Off of the main dining room is an expansive patio backing up to the gardens and pool, the gorgeous mountains keeping watch. The property is quiet, luxurious and serene – exactly what one wants in a vacation house. Sure, the home is vintage so there are some quirks, but that history adds to instead of detracting from the overall experience. It’s easy to imagine yourself part of the landed gentry as you fawn over the first sunset at the house, or enjoy a roaring fire and glass of wine with friends. The house lends itself to special moments without even trying.
Of course location is everything, and Stellenbosch is an easy drive or even bike ride away, as are many of the other wineries that are all part of the Stellenbosch Wine Route. Instead of being removed from the action, the Homestead at Dornier places you in the middle of it, all while guaranteeing privacy and peaceful moments of quiet perfection.
So when you plan your next trip to Stellenbosch, grab some friends and book the Homestead for a few days – living the life of a winery estate owner is just one of those experiences you’ll never forget.
Where are some unusual places you’ve spent the night?
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