Driving rain, icy cold and howling wind… not exactly ideal weather conditions when escaping to the countryside, right?
For my wife and I, we couldn’t ask for anything better. You see, we were heading off to South Hill Wine Estate in Elgin, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Yes, Elgin might be an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, but for us, the mere prospect of escaping into the country for a night away was good enough.
Although South Hill is rated only 3 stars, in many respects I think it deserves more. It features a guest house, restaurant and wedding venue, wine tasting facilities, art gallery and a honeymoon cottage. The whole guest house can be rented out by groups. Alternatively, guests can rent the rooms individually. It has four en-suite bedrooms downstairs (each with single basins as well as a separate bath and shower) and one extremely spacious en-suite attic room upstairs, which is probably better suited for children. The open-plan lounge and fully fitted kitchen downstairs is accessible to all guests. Guests can also make use of the wood-fired pizza oven on the outside entertainment area, as well as the large swimming pool.
However, we chose to spend the night at South Hill’s honeymoon cottage called the Pump House Suite… well, the two of us and our baby girl, who, I guess, was simply too young to be left with her grandparents.
The baby cot was already set up by the time we arrived. We immediately helped ourselves to tea and home-made ‘beskuit‘ (the Afrikaans word for rusks) with chunks of chocolate… simply delicious! The rain ceased momentarily, so we quickly ventured outside onto the wooden jetty. Here we listened to the sounds of wild geese as the sun cast long shadows over the farm dam. This was indeed a tranquil place.
Fortunately the miserable weather outside was more than compensated for by the cosy interior inside the cottage. The Pump House suite features one en-suite bedroom with a lounge and a small kitchenette, all being open-plan (except for the bathroom). The lounge features a cute antique fireplace, but unfortunately it’s the type where you can’t see the actual fire (you close the metal door and then the heat eventually heats up the room). Large cushions are piled up next to the couches – very useful if you want to sit outside on the wooden jetty, perched over the farm dam. It is obvious that they definitely paid attention to the small details at South Hill: they have small lanterns for romantics who venture outside at night; a mini Weber barbecue for the tong-master aiming to impress his lady; an iPod docking station for music lovers; a chandelier suspended over the bath containing bath salts and candles; they even have a private jacuzzi outside by the suite’s braai area.
On that note, I tried to convince my wife that we should try out the jacuzzi. However, it was probably around 10 degrees celsius outside (probably even less than that if you consider the wind chill factor). Furthermore, neither of us thought of packing our swimming trunks. Needless to say, we gave it a pass. Admittedly, maybe self-inflicted pneumonia wouldn’t have been such a great idea after all. We opted for a candle-lit bath instead – a luxury seldom enjoyed in our own home, thanks to our two (very) high octane 3- and 5-year old boys! And thanks to the iPod docking station in the room, were were able to listen to our favourite music whilst doing so.
The kitchenette has a coffee machine, microwave oven, electric hob, toaster, rusks, fresh milk in the minibar fridge, cutlery, crockery and a sink, dishwashing liquid and other necessities. The facilities are self-catering, but if guests prefer, they can request breakfasts, provided that they inform management in advance. The restaurant is closed on Mondays, so bear that in mind if you need to enjoy lunch.
My wife and I both fell in love with South Hill, and hopefully we will be back soon. I think summers must be equally enjoyable here. And who knows? If it’s not too hot, next time I might even be able to convince my wife to join me in the the jacuzzi. That’s if the honeymooners who will eventually discover this romantic hideaway didn’t book the cottage before I did…
Need more information? Visit South Hill on Klein Collection’s website to view more property details, images and rates.