“If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.” – Dan Rather
A weekend is sacrosanct to me.
Never will I take for granted, the momentary reprieve offered up by being away from where I earn my paycheck.
By the Gods! To entirely remove yourself from all you know, is positively thrilling…which leads me to today’s escape.
Grape vines are very much the mainstream attraction in South Africa’s “wine country”, Western Cape province. My abode for this while, veers from the norm with a fascinating draw: relaxing between pear orchards.
Travel with me now, to an idyllic farm resting right in the embrace of the Het Land van Waveren valley.
It’s a distance from Cape Town, and thankfully so.
Escape now, to Orchard Stay.
Architectural Style: 9/10
Driving up to Orchard Stay‘s particular corner on the farm, might initially underwhelm. You’re welcomed with a narrow driveway and one rectangular radius window framed by the palest beige paneled wall, that reveals nothing of what sits beyond its condensed, ordinary form.
Then you step a foot on to the grass embankment…
On its own, the view, which stretches out towards animated waters, unending rows of empty orchards, and the shadowed Mostertshoek Mountain yonder, is stunning.
…but then you turn right, adrenaline rushes through your veins, excitement bringing an involuntary smile to your face, and you’re left awed as you gaze upon the large, two-bedroom, single story farmhouse.
From 2 of the 4 sides which make up the farmhouse, you can see the way in which the utilitarian country design was made to be a secure and contained unit, while visitors can still feel it’s luxe openness (once the large foldback doors are opened) as the wrap-around terrace opens gracefully, to embrace the dominating natural surroundings.
Decor & Character: 8/10
You’ll regret your early feelings of being underwhelmed by the initial greeting of pale paint & suburban design on the house’s car park side, because not only does walking around to the main entrance reveal the grand symbiosis of nature & farmhouse living, but entering the abode is an experience unto itself.
Inside, is a house with beautiful and crisp interiors populating an almost cavernous space, that will leave Instagram users salivating to redesign their living spaces with cool & simple interior design techniques worthy of a Pinterest board.
The owners opted for a clean space, with high white or moss walls, and a large matte, gun-metal grey cement floor, to build upon.
Pops of color step away from making this house art deco, thanks to the generous use of comforting, textured prints on pillowcases and chairs, as well as a woven rug spanning a significant portion of the lounge space.
A functional and decorative roof-to-floor wooden shelf filled with decorative firewood and little nick naks, frames a fireplace that quickly warms up the entire farmhouse. It’s somehow such an exaggerated character all on it’s own. I enjoyed just looking at it.
The grounded, and titillating taste level and humor of the owners, is best revealed in the fine prints decorating the blank walls in the bedrooms and lounge, in different sizes and placements, and framed in simple black frames or delicate gold.
Frida Kahlo in technicolor, looks down on you while you sip coffee at breakfast, and elevates the character of the lounge space into a cool vacation home you almost feel like you own.
There is luxury here too folks!
I was happy to lay on the extra length beds, covered in high-thread count white linen.
When you stay here you get access to their: wraparound terrace, 2 private suites and their king-sized bed (a twin convertible bed available too), dining quarters inside and outside, a terrace coffee nook, wireless internet access, and a fully-functioning security systems.
Considering the self-catering situation here, the cooking facilities had to be on their A-Game.
Enjoy cooking up a storm in the large, wonderfully balanced and fully-equipped farmstyle kitchen, or the covered built-in braai area.
My favorite facilities offered here, are: the minimalist finished bathrooms decorated in opulent orchids – one bathroom with a deep tub, able to hold a large and tall human – and the fan-frikken-tastic Eco-Pool & Hot Tub.
Never heard of an eco-pool, so I got an education from Orchard Stay‘s Tammy. A pool like this is safe to use, and is essentially a swimming pool wherein the water is filtered through the wetland, to keep it clean and clear.
The Hot tub is legitimately a hot tub.
Tammy can have it heating up for you before you even arrive – and this place is worth a visit for that care alone, because it results in an amazing soak before (or during) twilight hours.
“You are going to love our eco-pool and hot tub which has been purposely designed to be enjoyed all year round. The Eco-Pool is perfect for cooling off, relaxing with a book or drink, or just hanging out with family and friends. The hot tub is fuelled by a wood burner, great for an evening dip or night time star gazing.” – Orchard Stay
There is no television here so the only much-needed item within this farmhouse accommodation, is Netflix loaded on your laptop, or books and magazines.
“What a joy it is to unplug. All the cares of life suddenly seem far away and harmless, and the world becomes tranquil and welcoming and good. But, of course Wi-Fi is available and free. Happiness is free Wi-Fi.” – Orchard Stay
The facilities are suitable for tourists, nature folk, newlyweds, friends, small families, and wine lovers.
Food & Drink: Nope!
It’s self-catering my people, so stock up in the little towns grocery store, come through with all your goodies from far and wide if you feel like it, or prepare to dabble in food withdrawal.
I did get a lovely welcome present of a jar of olives though, so that counts, right?
For the smart ones craving a gourmet dining experience, check out the nearby affordable eatery Waverley Hills.
Disability Accessibility & Comfort: Yes, 6/10
Everything is on one floor, and has a wide berth to manoeuvre in (kitchen and lounge included). The farmhouse offers convenient bedroom and bathroom access, but there are no support/safety bars and such in the bathrooms, eco-pool and hot tub, unfortunately.
Do make sure to inquire about whether other necessities for your optimal hospitality experience, could be provided, before you book.
Family Friendly: Yes, 8/10
“Orchard Stay is child friendly, not pet friendly.”
Under the supervision of family, children visiting the farm could frolic in nature, to their heart’s content. The lawns and orchards are very conducive for enjoyment at all ages.
There are pull-out beds available upon request for ages 2-18, as well as the use of a baby cot for R150.00c
Got a baby under 2 years of age? Guess what? They stays for free!
However, there are a fair few sharp corners to look out for. Take heed!
There is a gift to being able to step outside the monotony of your daily itinerary – diligently managed, and adorned in the constraints of being a fully functioning adult – and ceasing an adventure!
You’ll get to pass by miles of winelands (Route 62 being the longest wine route in the world), rivers and suburbs, on your way to the picturesque Wolseley and its snow-capped mountains in winter.
The property seems very unassuming, when you make your way to the Platvlei farm it sits on. The biting cold of our Autumn/Winter season does a number on muting the landscapes’ colors, as well as stripping to their bare bones, what is likely lush vines & orchards in the Spring.
Value for Money: 7/10
You get what you pay for, in: the views, pristine facilities, pretty cool decor, comfort, and the hot tub.
The beds alone, are a dreamy cloud worth gushing about.
One gets their value for money also due to the sheer size of the interior spaces, stocked amenities, and proximity to nature.
All that’s missing are small touches to ensure guests are prepared, like: daily personalized weather notes, and a tag marking distance and ideal jogging/walking locations in the vicinity.
Platvlei Farm, Wolseley, 6830, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)71 105 3121