We stayed in the lovely River Manor Boutique Hotel and Spa. What a wonderful place to be! The staff were simply amazing, the rooms felt like home and the breakfasts were absolutely delicious. The interiors were just beautiful and everything a manor should be: homey but luxurious.
My only quibble about staying here in July was the fact that it was much too cold to use their beautiful pool, set amongst carefully curated bushes, trees and flowers. Certainly a reason to return…
During our stay, work was underway on the property next door, into which the hotel was expanding. This didn’t affect us at all – it merely made us want to come back for more!
The location was exceptional – a stone’s throw from the central buzz of Stellenbosch and just next to the Eerste River (perfect for a morning run!). Stars all round for this gem of a hotel – faultless, really.
What to do: Wineries
It really would be wrong to visit Stellenbosch and its surrounding areas and not visit any of the fantastic wineries. There’s an abundance of beautiful places to visit where you can sip on some of the world’s best wine!
My favourite was Spier – sustainable, architecturally beautiful and serene. There was lots for those not drinking to do too – a birds of pray centre (with deer) and lots of art!
Another favourite was Ernie Els – simply for the views from the tasting area and, again, the architecture. It’s different from Spier in that is is considerably more commercial. There is even a mini golf stand which a little one thoroughly enjoyed using whilst his parents enjoyed the wine.
I’d recommend taking a private winery tour – this way, you can drink as much as you like whilst also being taken to the best of the best and the hidden gems. We had the most spectacular lunch at… too much wine, methinks. Anyway – it was a real treat, especially with Table Mountain standing proud in the far distance.
Stellenbosch town is simply gorgeous. There is the most beautiful white church in the centre – the town hall is similar. In fact, when out on a run through the centre one morning, I stopped to take photos of both when the a man began to chat to me. It turned out he was the ex-Mayor and he told me all about the little stream that runs straight through the town (go there to find out yourself!). There was a real sense of happy community in Stellenbosch.
On another note, I have to say that the Botanic Gardens are simply lovely – definitely worth a post-breakfast stroll!
Where to get some good grub
Stellenbosch is a university town, so the food there is generally of a high standard and not too expensive. We ate in student bars and several of the small restaurants. You really can’t go wrong here!