Sunday, 12 March 2017

Val du Charron, Wellington

Understanding fine tastes

From every aspect of this spacious guesthouse you look out onto 180 degree views of mountains, intense blue skies, ochre fields, bright green grass and vineyards. A working wine estate, Val du Charron understands fine tastes. 

A clear love of outdoor dining, open decks stretch out into the view and it is marvellous entertainment to watch each arriving guest gasp, whip out their cameras and twitter as the sun creates spectacular displays of light on the vineyards and mountains beyond.

The bedroom interiors are modern, with every possible traveller convenience. The plush carpeted rooms have been thoughtfully crafted, with built-in, stylish tea and coffee facilities, a bar fridge, airconditioning, and hairdryer. The ensuite bathroom has smooth creamy tiles and complements the room well.

An exclusive Coach House is available for small parties choosing the privacy of their own walled, well-established palm- and oak-treed setting, with a private pool. They share the same spectacular views onto the valley, mountains and big skies.

Accommodation experience
Despite the modern interiors, with no busy road or traffic rushing by, no modern houses spoiling the view, it is easy to settle quickly into an older rhythm here. On the morning of my stay I lie in bed late, guiltily listening to the gentle yoga class on the sunlit, expansive lawn below the lodge. I am sure that I am absorbing their healthy way vicariously and I feel quite cleansed and worthy by the end of our session.

Breakfast is served on a deck overlooking the pool and valley below. I choose the healthiest options, newly inspired by my yoga twisting friends. I end with freshly squeezed strawberry juice, ready for the fun day ahead.

The activities on offer are plentiful, including a raised, glass-fronted spa (once again making the most of those amazing views), wine tasting, mountain bike riding, walking and touring. But I am on a mission to find an ostrich feather lamp and head into the nearby village of Wellington for some tourist fun. White fluffy lamp under arm, well pleased with myself, I head back to the calm lodge for some much needed respite at the pale blue pool. I feel it is my duty to sample a local Chenin, super chilled and crisp.

Dinner is a vibrant affair and I choose to eat at the stylish grill. The decor is superb, artfully balancing modern, earthy and traditional.

Specialising in what South Africa does so brilliantly, red meat and wine, I select a grass fed rump and locally produced red. Locally made bread dipped into a speciality spice rub complete the experience. The waitrons are particularly good at their jobs, entertaining, full of humour, caring and efficient.

I have spent the last few work days with colleagues who are burnt out. They are pressed down, cynical, snide and their words and thoughts control them, not the other way around. They are busy, busy, busy, always frantic to snatch extra pieces of time here and there. They seem to have lost perspective on what is important, yet, more dangerously perhaps, they feel that of others and make you feel bad for your living thoughts and clear breaths. It is with a lift that I realise I am no longer in that space.

I remember this person. This version of myself now, who is not negative, harsh, despairing and always on the verge of a meltdown. Who has an actual sense of humour, great kindness and a lightness in step. Who loves the play of light and catching nature in the act of being herself. Who can make herself so light she drops through a portal of mindful presence into untapped wells of joy and wonder.

As I marvel over this realisation, the mountains and skies in this spacious place once again collude to put on a touching display of pink, blue and green. I realise in this place of open skies and beauty, I am always only a weekend away from a saner, serene, connected version of myself and vow to return to this feast for the senses sooner than later.

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