HOTEL REVIEW | Excelsior Manor Guesthouse, Robertson Wine Valley
Whether you're keen on bottling and labelling your own wine, or having family fun on a farm, this Cape retreat won't disappoint, writes Belinda Mountain
You can feel the history as your car rolls down the farm road into Excelsior Estate and you glimpse the rolling lawns leading down to the dam, glance up at the Langeberg mountain range, and spot the graceful arches of the manor guesthouse, built in the classic Cape Dutch style.
Home to five generations of winemakers, the De Wet family have farmed here since 1859 – and this emphasis on family, values and heritage, leave its warm mark on your experience at Excelsior.
There’s so much to do, whether you’re just visiting for a lazy lunch and wine tasting (be sure to order the freshly baked roosterbrood!), keen to bottle and label your own wine, or want to stay a night or two to experience the farm further.
The guesthouse features some delightful historical elements like an old-fashioned telephone produced by L. Ericsson & Co (Stockholm), but the accommodation has been modernised for the ultimate in farm-style comfort.
…explore the farm by mountain bike or golf cart, spot abundant birdlife by the dam, check out the vineyards, or savour the sunset atop a cliff
Lie on the deck by the turquoise pool and soak up the mountain views, sit on the wide veranda with a chilled drink in hand, and then relax by the fireplace later as you’re served a hearty three-course meal by charming resident waiter James.
During the day, you can get adventurous and explore the farm by mountain bike or golf cart, spot abundant birdlife by the dam, check out the vineyards, or savour the sunset atop a cliff as you survey the scenery below you.
This emphasis on family extends to the farm’s relationship with its farmworkers, all of whom get shares in the vines and orchards after working here for a specific length of time. Through various schemes, employees are incentivised to make the farm a success, while bettering their own financial circumstances and improving the lives of themselves and their families.
True to their emphasis on family, if you’re visiting the farm with kids in tow, they’ll be more than entertained whether they’re climbing on top of the jungle gym, feeding the resident horses, or playing in the sand pit. In the summer months, there is also a child minder who can take them fishing off the jetty, while the adults enjoy a meal together.
Whether your visit is all about families, fun, feasting (or a mix of all three) – Excelsior is a farm that takes all of these good things seriously.
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za