So by now, you may have gathered that Swellendam is one of our new favourite towns and being only 2 and half hours from Cape Town, makes this charming, historical hub one we’d like to revisit as much as possible. Given that winter has arrived in the Cape and the cold has crept into the mother city, it only makes sense that everyone wants to stay at cosy place with a fireplace ( in as many rooms as possible), eat homemade winter meals and hibernate indoors.
A little while back we discovered that Schoone Oordt Country House is the ideal place to do just that. Plus when the sun comes out, there’s a pool too. Turns out, it is the perfect stay whilst exploring Swellendam and surrounds and believe me when I say that you’ll discover so much more than you bargained for. Swellendam is now our favourite adventure hub. Here’s a few reasons we would return to Schoone Oordt Country house in a heartbeat:
1. It is family-friendly.
Whilst many places claim to be family-friendly, not every place has staff who are keen to play, accommodate your baby or children and you can be made to feel quite uncomfortable. This was quite the opposite here. The staff, chef, hosts all played, walked and laughed with Caleb and assisted us with everyone we needed while staying with him.
I absolutely loved the antique wooden cot put in our room for him, there was always a baby chair waiting for us at breakfast and they happily helped us move any non-baby items out of his grasp in the lounge during high tea. Travelling with a baby is stressful enough, so we really appreciate when staff and a place go out of the way to assist us with him.
2. Old World Romance of the Room.
Funnily enough, we were placed in the honeymoon suite because Caleb was young at the time and still cried quite often at night. Not wanting to disturb any other guests, we asked for the furthest room. Luckily for us, we got the honeymoon suite where old world romance was the order of the day and our door opened up to a stoep overlooking a forest and within earshot of the Koornlands river far below.
I’m not sure if I was more excited about the clawfoot bath, the shower big enough for three or the giant four-poster bed occupying the centre of the room. With fireplace, antique wardrobe and dresser and a little lounge area of us to relax in, there was ample space for us to enjoy as a family. Plus every little detail in the room and furniture made it so unlike any standard hotel room.
3. The Schoone Oordt Story
So few places of accommodation have a story anymore as they’ve been built so recently but Schoone Oordt has a rich history stemming back to 1853 or even earlier. Having been ravaged by fire over the years and passed through time and various owners, this is the place that stands today.
Best of all it is such a labour of love of Alison Walker and her family. I love what she has to say about their place “Personally, what I find amazing and heartwarming, is the thread of emotional connection that binds every family that has lived in, visited or owned Schoone Oordt. She is not simply a house. She captures your heart and fills your soul and I hope that you experience just a little of that whilst visiting with us.”
Sure enough, without even knowing any of the history initially, we truly felt so welcome there and in turn really fell for the charm of Swellendam and its locals. To read about the history, click here.
4. The Spaces
Aside from our room, I loved that there are so many areas in and around the property to enjoy. When the sun came out, we lounged on the lawns with Caleb and sat around the on the stairs where bright pink blooms fell from the trees and the fountain gurgled.
The conservatory where all our meals were served allowed the maximum amount of sunshine and natural light and a fireplace heated the space while we enjoyed incredible cuisine from chef Obakeng. The lounge also became one of my favourite rooms where high tea was served from behind the bar and we could lounge on the couch while Caleb tried to take down all the flowers on display.
5. Luxury in the Kitchen
We’ve found that a luxury place does not always equate to top-class food but luckily at Schoone Oordt we were in the skilful hands of Chef Obakeng who whipped up gourmet meals with just the right amount of homemade goodness to leave us excited for every meal. Come hungry and expectant for cape curry, saffron handcrafted pasta, grass fed beef fillet, pan seared hake and kudu carpaccio to name a few of their winter dishes.
6. Gateaway to Swelledam
Whether you’re in Swellendam to soak up the history at museums, churches and monuments or keen to explore the outdoors, this is one little town with a lot of soul. Hike or mountain bike in the Marloth Nature reserve, go micro lighting at Umshanti, go house riding or go liquer tasting at Wildebraam farm. To discover some more of what Swellendam has to offer; click here: Why Swellendam should be on your Adventure Travel List.
Also don’t forget to order your handmade wooden toys and bespoke collectors dolls from The Dollmakers of Swellendam.
To book your stay at Schoone Oordt Country house, click here.