HOTEL REVIEW | Cascade Country Manor, Paarl, Western Cape
This refined property in gorgeous natural surrounds is offering wellness retreats with a breathing coach, a life coach and massages next to a waterfall
Flanked by indigenous forest, with a stream, waterfall and olive groves, Cascade Country Manor in Paarl is offering wellness retreats with a life coach and a breathing instructor who make the most of its natural wonders.
Breathing coach and dancer Liz Surmon looked as if she had wafted out of a parallel universe with her otherworldly grace, which she probably needed guiding a circle of unruly writers in breathing techniques.
Water sprites shimmered in the glade while Surmon counted our breathing in and out, timed with stretches, until we had reached an almost meditative state.
But at sunset, sundowners waiting, we abandoned our higher selves for our post-prohibition selves.
We watched the sun strike out behind the Klein Drakenstein mountains from the veranda, with its gleaming white columns and glassed terrace, and then the five of us went inside to a fire in the dining room.
Chef Volker Goetze, the co-owner with his wife Maika, has been running Cascade Manor for years and his culinary experience shone through in our first hearty meal.
Indoors, the scene conjured up a Jane Austen-style country manor. During World War 2, Cascade Manor was a royal homestead for the Duke of Bedford. Dining and sleeping in luxury, with friendly staff ready to meet every need, certainly made us feel like landed gentry.
Cascade Manor is set on a 23ha estate, on which we hiked one morning for about 7km through the tangled trees, across a river and up to the neighbour's buchu plantations.
Dropping down the hill we reached a dam, with a stream tumbling in at one end. One of our group dived in, undeterred by the cold, and the rest of us soon followed.
Even if the icy water hadn't sharpened our appetite, we would have been unable to resist the laden "harvest table" set out in a secluded glade to the side of the expansive lawns.
Life coach Cornelia Burger joined us to talk about the retreats she will be leading for women in the coming months.
With 2021 on the horizon, Cascade Country Manor in the Limietberg Nature Reserve is the ideal place to revitalise yourself for the new year.
THE GETAWAY AT A GLANCE
Cascades Country Manor & Spa is about 12km from Paarl, set on an estate alongside ancient olive groves and overlooking vineyards. The four-star boutique hotel has 15 individually decorated rooms which are in the main homestead or a renovated outbuilding. All have private balconies or patios and views across the vast green lawn.
Freshly baked bread and pastries and olive pâtés are the hotel's distinctive treats. Chef-owner Volker Goetze prepares set menus for dinner with a range of dishes celebrating South African flavours. The salads on the harvest table were exceptional. A breakfast buffet and light meals are also on offer, though options are limited in light of the pandemic.
WHAT TO DO
Hike, swim in the pool or dam, mountain bike and explore the olive groves. There are also professional spa treatments, which we all enjoyed. Massages can be booked alongside the river with a picnic.
You can also visit the nearby Nederburg Wine Estate for a cellar tour; the Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary, or go on a cultural route through Paarl. These can be booked by Cascade Manor or online at paarlhistoricaltours.co.za.
Book a two-night stay from R660 per person sharing per night until the end of December. Wellness retreats can be booked for January ("Restore") and March ("Engage") for R4,670 per person sharing for a weekend; R6,700 in your own room. Visit cascademanor.co.za
• Keeton was a guest of Cape Country Routes. Cascades Country Manor & Spa is one of its hotels.