(By Jaana Becker – VIP International Honeymoon)
Do you feel like going on a journey back in time to the 18th century with your loved one? Our insider tip for honeymooners lies directly at the foot of the picturesque Drakenstein Mountains in Africa. The idyllic Palmiet Valley wine-growing estate is near Paarl, only 30 minutes from Cape Town. The place is named after the mighty round granite rocks which rise up behind the city and which shimmer like huge pearls in the sun when wet. This estate is also a true gem – lovingly restored in classic Cape Dutch style it dates back to 1692 and captivates with its charm and originality. The snow white manor house with thatched roof, rung windows and artistically swung gables, now lies in front of us, surrounded by lush green lawns and sumptuously flowering jacaranda trees.
A tour of the eight suites is like a journey back in time. No room resembles the next. Each is individually furnished with a great deal of imagination and valuable antiques, which the German owner, Fred Uhlendorff, brought back with him from all over the world. There are, for example, Art Déco beds; painted, turn of the century metal beds from Vienna; an old English bed and the finest feather duvets with beautiful white linen with lace trim. Arabian engraved brass tables and huge colonial-style old suitcases with mirrors and dressing tables from old film stars and travelers from the last century, stand alongside old bank safes which you recognize from old Westerns. Nevertheless, you needn’t go without modern comforts, such as telephone, CD player and, if requested, also a television – which has been discreetly integrated into the historic furnishing style,
Enjoy your most memorable honeymoon moments in the exceptional, luxurious and stylish atmosphere of the 18th century. All suites are furnished in the style of this period. Make yourself comfortable in front of the open fire and, if this still isn’t warm enough for you, a glass of Port from the crystal carafe and a heated mattress will make you feel really snug and warm.
The following morning you are awakened with a carefully put together basket with tea bags, breakfast biscuits, a mini coffee machine and fresh flowers. Here, nothing is of the ordinary, everything is of subtle finesse. The glistening blue pool is surrounded by a sea of camellia with a red and white fragrantly scented blaze of color. This natural spectacle invites you and your loved one to go on a walk through the surrounding vineyards and fruit plantations or to the Drakenstein Mountains National Park. You will be captivated by the wealth of wild fruits, rare birds, plants, baboon monkeys and mountain bocks. For sporty honeymooners, this magnificent mountain scenery also offers plenty of opportunity for hiking, mountain biking or riding. The nearby surroundings are also a paradise for golfers – in the vicinity of only 30 minutes, there are more than a dozen spectacular courses.
The garden of the exclusive Country Guest House Palmiet Valley Estate resembles a “Garden of Eden”. Like Adam end Eve, you can smell the Mediterranean scents and the lightness of the wine in the air. “Never has the future appeared as bright,” wrote already Alexandre Dumas, “…it is as if you are seeing everything through a small glass of Chambertin.” Chambertin doesn’t grow here, but instead, equally exquisite varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. At sunset we sit in the rambling garden with a glass of wine in our hand and enjoy the mystical spectacle of the glowing red sun setting over the imposing towering Drakenstein Mountains. Paradise on earth!
The hotel’s exquisite cuisine will also spoil you and can be enjoyed in the historic dining room or in the shade of centuries-old trees. The central point of the wonderfully furnished historic dining room is formed by a huge mahogany table set with fine crystal, gleaming silver and precious Ainsley porcelain which is scattered with rose petals, which shimmer in shades of pastel in the candlelight. Meals with Fred Uhlendorff are like experiencing an artistic production – like a fascinating set, magical and unreal at the same time. Accompanied by classical music, sophisticated, yet simple menus using fresh ingredients with a touch of South African spices are served – the unique ‘Cape-Malay’ cuisine – simply delicious!
Breakfast the next morning is also perfect – in the shade of the large picturesque oak in front of the manor house. Rose petals decorate the white tablecloth, on which the rays of the sun falling through the canopy of leaves draw patterns. Birds twitter, the scent of countless flowers lies in the air. The delicious home-made marmalade out of guava which are picked from the estate’s own plantation, pomegranates, grapes and freshly pressed orange juice will delight all gourmets.
It is not only the highlights of this exceptional cuisine, but also the great love of detail in the luxurious surroundings, the special feeling of being guests on a wine-growing estate, the peace and the personal service, which promise a relaxing and unforgettable honeymoon in Palmiet Valley.