Friday, 6 June 2014

Babylonstoren, between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch

Artistic Contrast

I arrived at Babylonstoren wondering if I might be the luckiest person on earth. I left certain I was.

Style meets substance at this chic, eco-conscious haven of good taste. Here they understand the art of contrast, where old style Cape Dutch thatched buildings are perfectly balanced with crisp glass and white, modern furniture.

I love the thick whitewashed walls, with their deep, shuttered windows. There are wide stable doors with exposed timber lintels. The interiors are serene – all white, with a four-poster bed and silky pale linen, offset by high ceilings with exposed trusses. Modern glass conservatory dining areas create a flow between the indoors with the outdoors.

Truly beautiful bathrooms, each have clever designs and deep, freestanding baths. There are heated towel rails, thick white towels and bathrobes.

Each suite has air-conditioning, a flatscreen TV with DSTV, a bar fridge, and complementary bottles of locally produced Babylonstoren red and white wine and olive oil. Treats arrive in the evening from the acclaimed local restaurant, Babel.

Accommodation Experience:
Aside from the famed restaurant, and cutting edge spa, the feature gardens are one of the main attractions at Babylonstoren. Not being much of a gardener myself, I force myself out of my beautifully decorated suite to take a dutiful tour of the grounds. I am instantly drawn into the natural, organic gardens which are both curvy and styled, the heady growth contrasted with artistic mosaic inlays and sculptures. I make my way towards an interesting looking tunnel in a quiet corner of the gardens. As I enter the tunnel and round a corner, I come upon a multitude of hessian bags, hung on elegant ropes at different heights. They are bursting forth with plants – strawberries and other fresh green growth. It is a ridiculously marvelous sight, which at first stops me dead in my tracks. Then it takes me down a tunnel of insight where I suddenly see a glimpse of the passionate dedication and artistic release with which the gardens were developed. I am overcome with a sense of appreciation, drawn into a mystical portal of awe and wonder. Here there was no pandering or second guessing – just a bold vision of creative expression. You can feel the imperative. This is true art – where someone has given freedom of expression to their creative instincts and unique personality, which moves us into a space from which we can be inspired to be daring and excessive and to excel beyond all imposed traditional boundaries.

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