Since the late-1700s Cape Town’s present-day Vineyard Hotel has been famous as a bucolic city escape for the lucky few. Originally the country house of Lady Anne Barnard, a society figure and one of the early diarists of the Cape colony, for over a century this idyllic hotel in the leafy suburb of Newlands has been a popular escape from the bustling city streets. Today the 207-roomed property looks out over a remarkable seven-acre garden with breathtaking views of Table Mountain, an oasis in the heart of the city’s southern suburbs. As local secrets go, this is as good as it gets.
Regular wine-pairing dinners featuring top Cape estates and an excellent on-site restaurant under acclaimed chef Mike Bassett have seen the hotel cementing its position as a culinary destination in the city, but it’s the overnight guests that are in for a treat in 2016.
A major renovation has seen 41 rooms – nearly a quarter of the hotel – enjoy a complete overhaul, although I was happy to see that the revamp has been sensitive towards the history of the property. Inspired decor by Liza Wyborn of Les Harbottle Design cleverly combines a contemporary aesthetic with heritage touches using subtle decor cues, and the rooms have a wonderful flow-through living space, bedroom and bathroom. It’s also good to see plenty of mod-cons that will keep millennial travellers happy: flat-screen TVs, free wifi and eco-friendly room management ensure the revamped suites sit firmly in the 21st century.
With manicured gardens and such fine country-style living within easy reach of the city, I’m sure Lady Barnard would approve.
Guests will be able to enjoy the Tastes of France wine-paired dinner on Friday 27 November, featuring wine across five French wine-making regions. On Friday, 22 January British chef Roger Jones will be hosting a “Tri Nations” dinner (R995 pp): South Africa vs New Zealand in a seven-course blind-tasting wine-off. Expect courses such as warm crayfish salad and Karoo lamb loin with South African and Kiwi wines paired with each course. May the best wine win!
The “Tastes of 2016” gets underway on Sunday, 6 March with the celebrated Festival of Bubbles. You’ll get to sample excellent Methode Cap Classique (MCC), while nibbling on canapés and enjoying some light entertainment (R215 pp).
On Saturday, 9 April, it’s the Burgundy Celebration Dinner with Elgin Valley, followed on Sunday, 10 April, by the Pinot Noir Festival (R215 pp).
On Friday, 22 April the wine-pairing merriment continues as guests get to try out the hotel’s five wine partners: Klein Constantia, Simonsig, Meerlust, Waterford and Warwick – there will be five courses each paired with wines from the estates.
Look forward to fortnightly dinners with pairings from estates like Ken Forrester, Mulderbosch, Oak Valley, Glen Carlou, Rust en Vrede, La Motte, Babylonstoren and the Friends of the Vineyard.
For bookings, contact Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: +27 (0)21 657 4500.