A beautiful new reason to visit the Breedekloof

The expanded Die Stalle wellness spa at Bosjes Estate is a major attraction

02 April 2024 - 09:23
By Richard Holmes
Nature is the guiding inspiration at Die Stalle spa in Bosjes.
Image: Claire Gunn Nature is the guiding inspiration at Die Stalle spa in Bosjes.

It’s amazing what one little mountain can do. While the wineries and eateries of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek throng with visitors, a short and scenic drive over the Du Toitskloof mountains delivers you to a lush valley where tourists are wonderfully few. The only reason for a traffic jam is when the tractors are bringing the harvest down the highway. Welcome to the Breedekloof.

Breede what? 

For many travellers that’s the reaction, even if they’ve often barrelled through it en route to the more famous Robertson Valley, or hurrying north on the N1. But keeping a low-profile comes with this beautiful stretch of the Cape winelands. It’s one of the largest grape growing regions in the Cape, and is finally making a name for itself thanks to a clutch of pioneering young winemakers — take a bow Opstal, Olifantsberg and the other Breedekloof makers — and a growing crop of luxe accommodation.

Bosjes Estate is leading the charge on that score. First, with the charming Kombuis and beautiful new Herehuis. Not to mention the sweeping lines of the chapel by London-based architect Coetzee Steyn.

The influence of the original stables shines through the modern design.
Image: Claire Gunn The influence of the original stables shines through the modern design.

Summer 2024 delivered perhaps the final piece of the winelands destination puzzle to Bosjes in the shape of a stunning new wellness facility, Die Stalle.

The first iteration of Die Stalle Spa was set in the original stables — hence the name — but almost as soon as it opened, it became too small as tourists and locals galloped to the only wellness facility in the valley.

“The growing demand from local residents, tourists and overnight guests demanded a rethink. We knew we needed to expand,” explained Carlen Vorster, CEO hospitality and marketing for Bosjes.

They turned to the duo behind the original, architect Tiaan Meyer and interior designer Liam Mooney, with a brief to expand and modernise the spa without losing sight of the original.

“We wanted the feeling of envelopment, history, tactility, softness and hospitality to carry through to the new spaces,” explained Mooney.

“It was very important to me that the soul be retained, and I aimed to achieve this by making the ‘artist’s hand’ as evident as possible.”

Die Stalle spa mani-pedi studio.
Image: Claire Gunn Die Stalle spa mani-pedi studio.

Start by looking down

While you’d expect a new-build spa to be all about clean lines and symmetry, here the traditional klompie pavers underfoot have been laid without any discernible pattern, resulting in a pleasing disharmony and sense of human craftsmanship. That’s carried through to the textured stucco, freely smoothed and shaped as if by a masseuse’s hand. But this is a farm, after all, and the motifs are there too: stable doors and brass fittings from the beginning, the patina of age, and floor-to-ceiling glass looking onto gardens and grasslands.

While retaining the sense of farm charm, the new Die Stalle is an enormous leap forward from the original. While the sauna and steam Mineral Rasul remain, the expansion has added an additional four treatment rooms — to make six in total — along with a mani-pedi studio that can be divided into separate spaces or combined, allowing for larger groups as needed. 

“We have seen an increase in small groups of locals and tourists visiting us to spend a day indulging and reconnecting,” said Jade Johnson, spa manager at Die Stalle.

But perhaps the best addition is beyond the treatment rooms, with a new hydrotherapy pool — complete with pool deck and a bespoke menu for après-spa lunching — and landscaped spa garden.

Bosjes is famous for its gardens, the work of designer Franchesca Watson, and while the spa garden is young it will soon become a wonderland of woodland, walkways and water features. All with views of the Waaihoek mountains framed by fynbos slopes.

That abundance of natural views informed the new spa menu at Die Stalle too, where treatments are built on locally produced TheraNaka and TheraVine products.

Die Stalle spa hydrotherapy pool.
Image: Claire Gunn Die Stalle spa hydrotherapy pool.

“Nature serves as our guiding inspiration,” said Johnson.

“Whether through our treatments or the products we use, you’ll find yourself immersed in the soothing embrace of the natural world, allowing for a truly transformative and revitalising journey.”

Which is, perhaps, fitting, as a visit to the Breedekloof is a bit of a journey, and a worthy one at that. While you could easily while away a weekend or more in the valley, a day meandering out to the new Die Stalle spa on Bosjes will be time well spent.