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Chic country retreat in Robertson

15 Dec 2011

Located on Route 62 in the Cape winelands, The Robertson Small Hotel is a place of understated elegance that perfectly blends contemporary design and old world charm to create an enchanting country retreat.

This five-star boutique establishment will delight those who love something unique, that holds the richness of times gone by and strikes the ultimate balance between luxury, comfort and genuine home-grown hospitality - in it you will feel at home.

Surrounded by the Langeberg Mountains, the town of Robertson is in the Breede River Valley, renowned for its fine wine and thoroughbred horses. From Cape Town it’s a 1.5 to 2 hour drive, ideal for a romantic weekend getaway or an en route stop-over.

This five-star boutique establishment will delight those who love something unique, that holds the richness of times gone by and strikes the ultimate balance between luxury, comfort and genuine home-grown hospitality - in it you will feel at home.

Stellenbosch architect Rick Stander and Franschhoek interior designer Nica Maree created a design that personifies a harmonious journey from yesteryear to the contemporary now. The result is the perfect ‘threesome’, with each of the components distinctly unique in style, yet effortlessly intertwined with one another.

Opened in August 2009, the original manor house and old stables were renovated while the Poolside Suites were a new edition, says Riaan Kruger, general manger of the hotel. “The three different types of rooms offer a better variety to guests as they have more to choose from.”

Clean, natural hues and rich organic textures are silhouetted against a monochrome palette of French white, and integrated into the ten luxury suites. 

The stylish chrome-pewter marble and glass bar is accessed from the outside wrap-around veranda.

The Manor House and Reuben’s restaurant

The Manor House, a national monument built in 1909 has been cleverly preserved and is a treat to explore, especially for those who appreciate older homes. The renovation treasures its heritage, embracing the property’s best features while adding just the right amount of chic sophistication to the overall design recipe.

As you enter via the veranda through the front door, with original stained glass windows, you are greeted by high pressed ceilings, dark wood stained floors leading leading down a long passage, and a welcoming reception area that immediately gives you a sense of the place and its style.

The old fireplace with slick mirror above must be wonderful in winter time. Two comfy chairs and a modern ottoman offer guests a welcome respite on arrival. The décor is elegantly understated and comfortable with a touch of glamour.

The hotel’s interiors are clean with refreshing, textured tones of white and grey and classic styled yet modern furniture and fittings. Every minor detail has been carefully thought about.

The three Manor House Suites are all unique in that the structure of the original home could not be easily altered due to its National Monument status, so spaces were carefully adapted and integrated into the whole.

Serving up culinary delights under the guidance of chef extraordinaire Reuben Riffel – famed for his world-acclaimed restaurant in Franschhoek – this beautifully appointed gastronomic sphere spills out onto a tranquil courtyard.

For example one of the suites incorporates a bay window lounge with a view of the garden and lap pool area. The original sash windows lend their charm and the French white palette is carried through in fabrics and paintwork.

The stylish chrome-pewter marble and glass bar is accessed from the outside wrap-around veranda. Guests can enjoy an evening drink and plate of specially prepared snacks either in the cosy bar lounge or relaxing back into wicker couches and chairs outside on the veranda where they can enjoy the tranquil garden setting.

The state-of-the-art glass wine cellar lends a backdrop to the hotel’s signature restaurant, Reuben’s at the Robertson. Serving up culinary delights under the guidance of chef extraordinaire Reuben Riffel – famed for his world-acclaimed restaurant in Franschhoek – this beautifully appointed gastronomic sphere spills out onto a tranquil courtyard, the heart of the hotel, where the family trio converge.

The state-of-the-art glass wine cellar lends a backdrop to the hotel’s signature restaurant, Reuben’s at the Robertson.

Guests can also see the chef and his team at work in the kitchen through a window aperture, which creates an interesting vibe for the dining area. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is also popular with outside visitors and locals following the Reuben’s brand, says Riaan. He adds that they try and keep the menu exciting with seasonal changes and it’s best to book if you’re planning to stop off for a meal.

The Stable Suites – you are here to relax

The original stables were later used as the outbuildings and subsequently converted to the Stable Suites with an entrance onto the charming restaurant courtyard on one side and a private pool and relaxation area on the other side.

The Family Suite above the two Stable Suites was the old attic that has been turned into this lovely space, says Riaan. The loft room has an intimate style, is exceptionally generous in size and can be easily adapted to include extra beds for kids.

Poolside Suites – modern and luxurious

The four Poolside Suites are ultra-modern and flaunt a crisp, cool sense of calm at the water’s edge.

The four Poolside Suites are ultra-modern and flaunt a crisp, cool sense of calm at the water’s edge.

The bedroom leads out onto a private covered veranda area with wooden deck, built-in day beds with cushions on both sides and a table plus two outdoor wicker chairs where you can sit comfortably for a morning coffee rendezvous. There are sliding louver shutter doors onto the lap pool that can be closed to create more privacy. Simply slip into the pool for a swim or move to a deck sun lounger on the other side to soak up a bit of sun.

The bathroom is spacious and light with floor-to-ceiling white porcelain tiles and travertine flooring. White shutter windows between the bathroom and bedroom allow for privacy when desired. A big shower head, wet room shower, heated towel rails, generous double basins and a luxurious freestanding Boutique bath are both practical and luxurious.

The bedroom leads out onto a private covered veranda area with wooden deck.

The clever use of a skylight in the bathroom and sky windows in the double volume bedroom provides light and is a smart way of giving a sense of extra space.

There is ample cupboard space in the white tiled entrance hall which leads into the bedroom that has contrasting wood floors and dark wood, contemporary built-in furniture.

Lighting is a dream – the headboard has reading lights perfectly positioned and an overhead chandelier style light hangs strikingly in the middle of the room. Fittings are modern but classic in style and add to the overall effect of the room.

Gardens, pathways and wellness

Palm trees create a tropical haven around the lap pool and lavender, ferns and other planting add to the country feel.

Manicured gardens create a haven ‘away from it all’ with distinct spaces around the property offering both interest and privacy. Coffee Jasmine and Yesterday Today and Tomorrow (Brunsfelsia) with its mauve and white flowers line the pathways between the rooms and the main hotel, scenting the air, especially at night time.

Palm trees create a tropical haven around the lap pool and lavender, ferns and other planting add to the country feel.

The herb garden with water feature in the middle, creating a focal point, is set towards the back of the property and creates a break between the suites and gravel-covered parking area, while providing some fresh produce to the restaurant.

Although, Riaan says they source most of their fresh produce from local suppliers in the valley. “One does not have to look far, we are very fortunate to have such high quality produce on our doorstep.”

The hotel wouldn't be complete without a Wellness Room offering a comprehensive range of treatments including massages, specialised body treatments, facials and various packages to suit your individual preferences.

Contemporary artworks complement and add homely interest to the overall décor.

Life’s little luxuries not forgotten

All the rooms have an inclusive mini-bar, which adds a truly hospitable touch to the experience. Contemporary artworks complement and add interest to the overall décor scheme.

Wireless access, Cable TV, a DVD player and an iPod docking station offer the home comforts that many can’t live without. In each room there are tea and coffee making facilities, a safe, under-tile heating in the bathrooms and user controlled air-conditioning – you can breathe the fresh country air if you prefer it!

The homely ambience is enhanced by smiling and friendly staff who seem genuinely happy to be of service. Perhaps country life has something to do with their relaxed, upbeat attitude but whatever the reason the warm country hospitality is a veritable treat.

Relaxed South African style living

Riaan says they are very fortunate to have a strong following from South Africans and are slowly building their international clientele. “I think it is important to have places of luxury which are affordable for local travellers while foreigners find it to be exceptional value for money."

Guests can enjoy an evening drink and plate of specially prepared snacks relaxing on the wrap-around veranda.

He says a typical stay is two nights but as soon as guests have spent a day or two they normally wish they had stayed longer as the valley has so much on offer. “There is a wonderful river cruise overlooking the vineyards at Viljoensdrift, wine blending at Excelsior, hiking at Van Loveren, the underground cellar at Weltevrede, and horse riding on one of the farms.”

So what is The Robertson Small Hotel’s winning formula? Riaan says it’s in the attention to detail, good friendly unobtrusive service and excellent value for money. – Julia Hinton

For more information visit the hotel’s website.

Visit other sites with information about the area:
Robertson Wine Valley - www.robertsonwinevalley.com
Route62 - www.route62.co.za
Property for sale in Robertson – have a look!

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About the Author
Julia Hinton

Julia Hinton

Editor at Property24.com

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