Located on the Cape's oldest—and still working—wine estate, this intimate, gorgeous luxury hotel is surrounded by manicured gardens, vineyards, and a championship 18-hole golf course (in total, it's 295 hectares). Renovated to a luxurious, contemporary standard, the original barn and manor house now are home to spacious, elegant guest rooms. There's a spa, a newly renovated pool area, and some great restaurants on-site. And hyper-local wines to try, of course...
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel is closed May-September 2019 for renovations.
The 24 rooms and suites are roomy and neutral in style, with rich, soft fabrics, like velvet rugs and fur throws, and lovely old-fashioned furniture. Minibars are stocked on request, but otherwise the expected amenities - coffee machines, a turn-down service, complimentary water - are all present. Some of the ground floor rooms have patios overlooking the mountains and the estate, which is a pretty special view.
Bathrooms are lush, all with separate baths and showers and double sinks. Products are by Heavenly Earth, a local producer.
From the Ratpack-esque music playing softly to the exemplary service, the historic wooden-lodge feel (with beamed ceilings) to the decanters of fancy booze available for guests in the lounge, the lobby sets the tone for the luxury within.
The hotel's outdoor saltwater pool is beautiful, green and secluded. There's a decked area outside with daybeds, and a lovely relaxation room inside, overlooking the water, where guests can get manicures, pedicures and massages (there's a shower too, meaning guests can use the facilities before checking in and after departure). The surrounding gardens are gorgeous too, with the scent of the growing herbs in the air. Don't miss the modern sculptures dotted around, the work of renowned South African artist Edoardo Villa.
Two of the suites share a pool of their own, and another has a heated pool.
The Steenberg spa, in its own bungalow, has four treatment rooms and a relaxation area, and is a great space for real relaxation. Because it has its own property, there are windows and an outside area, too-- - something of a rarity in hotel spas, which are often in the basement.
Forget the sterile gym (there isn't one anyway)--play golf, hike through the vineyards, or borrow a bike from reception.
The estate's Catharina's restaurant--named after its one-time badass female owner, whose story is on the menu--is famous for its Sunday brunches spilling out under the giant oak trees in good weather, and has delicious modern food. Alongside the more casual Bistro 1682 (the perfect spot to while away the afternoon sampling the estate's vintages with some tapas), though, it's due for a change under the renovations--but we have faith that the hotel will deliver something great. Guests can have the lavish, included breakfast at either restaurant.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Bistro 1682 is only open until 7 pm - don't get caught out if you want to eat there.
There's an attached bar, with great coffee in the day and, obviously, fantastic wines and cocktails by night. As it is a working winery, guests can view the vats in Bistro 1682.
Don't leave without trying the estate's famous Sauvignon Blanc. There are wine tastings included in your stay, too.
The hotel is set back in its own grounds, so you'll either need to drive or get taxis. There's a car park, though, and staff can book taxis (or Ubers--or you can). It's brilliantly located for touring Constantia's vineyards, or for trips out to Cape Peninsula highlights like the hippie seaside town of Kalk Bay. It takes around 35 minutes to the V&A Waterfront and city center, so it's quite removed from the hustle and bustle - we're taking this as a good thing, but others may not like the seclusion.
Well-regarded Constantia restaurant La Colombe (19-minute drive)--book ahead - is worth a trip. Or another vineyard restaurant, Buitenverwatchting (10-minute drive), set on mountain slopes, delivers on views and food equally.
For a buzzing bar and tapas restaurant, try La Parada Constantia Nek (16-minute drive). Or for a laidback pub-style meal and drink, Peddlars (9-minute drive) is a good break from the wineries (there are beers on offer, for example!).
WHY WE LIKE IT
A totally gorgeous, sympathetically restored historic lodge that's now an exemplary hotel that delivers above and beyond on almost every element - comfortable rooms, lovely restaurants, a beautiful pool and spa, and wonderful service. Plus staying on a vineyard that is somehow also within the city itself is a typically Cape Town experience that's not to be missed.