It doesn’t get better than this – silver service in a grand Cape Dutch Manor House on a wine estate at the base of a mountain near Wellington in the Western Cape. Beautifully restored, or should I say transformed, Grand Dedale has glossy porcelain tiles, chandelier, and elegant upholstered chairs.
When I arrive there is a fashion shoot in progress, and I am half intimidated by their glamour, and half smug that I get to spend the night in such luxury. It is a photographer’s paradise, with auburn autumn leaves, mountains, gabled and thatched rooftops, wide verandahs, vast and well-lit rooms and a particularly obliging lazy and contented ginger cat.
The hallways are grander than I imagined, resplendent with chandelier and oversized mirrors. A creamy lounge has a fireplace and quadruple glass doors leading out to the garden.
Personalised service leaves one feeling thoroughly spoilt and pampered, with high tea, complimentary sherry and a gourmet four-course dinner.
I stay in the spacious Limietburg suite, a long attic-style thatched room upstairs in the main lodge. The suite is bright and fresh, and I decide we shall have a long and happy relationship. At the far end of the suite there is a freestanding ball and claw bath set up against a window, with sky and oak tree views. Underfloor heating warms the smooth tiled floors. There is a separate dressing room with armchair and dressing table. A mirrored wall creates a clever visual effect of continuity. Beyond this there is a King-size bed with views out through a skylight. Finally the suite ends in a lounge area with two wide armchairs and a double cottage pane door, also mirrored for privacy and light.
A cold front arrives the same time that I do. The mists roll down over the mountain and look mysterious from the cosy and bright attic suite. A wave of contentment washes over me and I am unusually happy to sit in my comfy lounge and while away the afternoon listening to music. I wonder to myself why it is when I stay in a place of such beauty and care that I feel the best version of myself – connected, peaceful, inspired and mindful. I guess a stay in characterful accommodation is a wonderful opportunity to take a pause out of everyday life - to reconnect with one's senses, detach from negative thoughts, process one's feelings and appreciate the simple pleasures of life.
And so as I lay my head back in the armchair I smile, let my senses float on the beautiful music out through the skylight and into the night sky.