Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Lanzerac has always had plenty of old-world charm. Established in 1692, it is the third oldest winery in Stellenbosch—the first to bottle the uniquely South African grape varietal pinotage—and an 1830 Cape Dutch manor house sits on the estate. In 1958, the original wine cellar became a hotel, and over the next half-century, it attracted society wedding parties, honeymooners, and Capetonians wanting a Sunday lunch with a vineyard view. Now, several owners and many renovations later, Lanzerac has finally undergone a fabulous top-to-toe makeover worthy of grande dame status.
When it came to the interiors of the 53 vineyard-facing, cottage-sized rooms, local historian and designer Con van der Colff traversed the countryside, sourcing original Cape antiques to honor the heritage of the property. Ornate in-laid tables, elegant armoires, and brass-edged trunks serve as historical markers alongside walls and shutters painted in aubergine, petrol blue, and khaki. No two rooms are alike, but each has a glamorous Victorian-style bathroom. Some have private pools and gardens, including rooms 208 through 210 - ultra-private and romantic love nests. By early 2019, the manor house restoration will be complete, adding a private villa to the hotel. Complimentary minibars, Nespresso machines, homemade cookies, and crisp, white cotton bedding are all lovely touches, along with an invitation at check-in to do a complimentary cellar tour and wine tasting.
Stellenbosch beckons with its excellent restaurants, but Lanzerac has several worthy dining options if you don’t feel like leaving the farm. The Manor Kitchen serves lavish breakfasts, afternoon tea, and a short, sharp, seasonal bistro menu for dinner — the likes of fresh West Coast mussels, followed by roasted venison with confit potatoes and a juniper jus, and a nostalgic raspberry and honey souffle to finish. The informal, more festive Taphuis gastropub is known for its sharing plates, like Cape spice and ginger beer-battered fish with crushed peas, beetroot attar, and lime mayo, and robust mains like springbok bobotie (a traditional Cape Malay spiced, baked lamb dish) with roasted stone fruit, samosa pastry, onion chutney and coconut sambal. Alongside the winery and tasting room is a deli and bakery, offering pastries, elaborate cakes, all-day breakfasts (try the brie and chargrilled ham stuffed French toast), gourmet sandwiches, and cheese and charcuterie boards.
In the spa, locally-produced Theravine products combine anti-oxidant rich grape extracts with indigenous essential oils for nourishing, hydrating results. There’s also a gym, heated indoor pool, hot tub, and a spa cafe serving everything from freshly pressed juices to estate wines by the glass. Overall, a stay here taps straight into the best of South African heritage, reinforced by the delightfully down-to-earth and friendly staff. Doubles from $480.