FROM A LARGE COUNTRY HOME FOR EXTENDED-FAMILY STAYS TO ONE OF THE BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD, BRIAN BERKMAN WANTS JULIE TO COME ALONG.
“I suppose, with a property as palatial as this one, having so many indoor spots to explore, kept her busy. We did venture out, but after an hour we were all soaked and our shoes and paws muddy. Thankfully, we had left a fire burning in one of those fabulous ceramic fireplaces in the kitchen, that safely contain sparks, and it was toasty when we arrived back.”
Faraway Estate, a moment outside the town of Villiersdorp, is set up against the mountain. It is a palatial home for gatherings of between 6 to 20 people, and pet-friendly. Built with entertaining in mind – each downstairs reception room opens into the next with French doors everywhere. 20 people can sit around the main dining table. The walled pool with loungers and covered dining area, keeps the wind away while a tennis court, croquet set, billiards room and mountain walks are there for those who want to stay active.
A walk-in, restaurant-sized cold room and an ice-maker, along with all the mod-cons, make the kitchen a dream for foodies. There is a cellar (with another huge table), five fire places throughout the house and a zillion places to braai. We chose two days in early March during which it didn’t stop raining. The true success of a getaway is that it can still be marvellous, even when the weather isn’t, and this property really succeeds. Even Julie, our mixed-breed darling (although some people say she is a Canis Africanas, and when I look at photos of Canis lupus familiaris, she seems to, at least, in part to fit – her nose and short-coat the most characteristic attributes among them) loved it. She was more than happy to hang out with us. I suppose, with a property as palatial as this one, having so many indoor spots to explore, kept her busy. We did venture out, but after an hour we were all soaked and our shoes and paws muddy. Thankfully, we had left a fire burning in one of those fabulous ceramic fireplaces in the kitchen, that safely contain sparks, and it was toasty when we arrived back.
Set on a working apple, pear and stone-fruit farm, high up against the mountain, this is the ideal place to holiday as an extended family or with friends. It is also a popular wedding venue. The main manor house accommodates six people in absolute luxury, and there is a standalone cottage and loft space that accommodate five people and six people respectively, suited to a young family or close friends.
The main house (sleeps six) is available from R6000 per night for a minimum of a two night stay. We cannot wait to return.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
THE 12 APOSTLES HOTEL & SPA IS A DELUXE, MULTIPLE AWARD-WINNING RED CARNATION PROPERTY WITH TABLE MOUNTAIN’S 12 APOSTLES RANGE AS YOUR BACKYARD, AND THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AS YOUR FRONT ROOM. Julie is always the star of the show whenever we travel with her, and I don’t mind telling you, sometimes I am a little jealous of all the positive attention she receives.
At the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa, dogs and cats are welcome to dine in the Leopard bar. The hotel has an especially designed branded plinth into which food and water bowls fit, and the plushest of plush royal blue cushions on which to sleep. Our suite had direct access to the lawns and mountain, so we didn’t think it wise to let her be off-lead, even when taking in the afternoon sun while overlooking the sea. Julie seemed especially fond of chasing Rock Hyrax, which are a protected species.
The beauty of the Leopard Bar at the 12 Apostles, is that while they have an extensive list of alcoholic drinks (gins seem a particular favourite), they also have an equally long list of alcohol-free drinks, including some botanicals that they have made themselves. And, the menu at The Leopard Bar, serving food from breakfast through to late in the evening, is affordable and delicious. Of course, there is a well-equipped gym, but with direct access to the “Missing Link” contour path on Table Mountain – a favourite with mountain bikers – you have every opportunity to be as active as you wish. Sloth is, however, equally encouraged here.
There is a small luxe cinema with jars of candy and posh popcorn, and the spa is rightly well loved and acclaimed. The spa is always popular and numbers are being limited to ensure Covid-19 compliance, so book ahead. In 2002 The 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa was purchased by the Tollman family’s Red Carnation Group and renovated into the magnificent and award-chart topper hotel it is today, with 55 gracious rooms and 15 sumptuous suites, each individually decorated.
The Red Carnation trademark is much more than a buttonhole. In previous years, rooms offered a well-equipped stationery drawer, now replaced by USB charging outlets and light-speed Internet. A helium-filled balloon is another Red Carnation tradition, a touch of whimsy within the deeply luxurious and elegant interiors.
The most important signature is less easy to see, but almost instantly felt. There is a warmth and generosity of spirit in the hospitality offered at each Red Carnation Hotel encountered, that makes the guest experience stand head and shoulders above its competitors.
Although the interiors at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa are stunning, with museum-quality South African oil paintings and a full collection of Cecil Skotnes lithographs as you approach the Azure restaurant, it is what lies outside that really takes your breath away.
There is a bark-a-licious and a Cat Purr-fect menu created by the hotel’s executive chef, Christo Pretorius, in conjunction with a local vet. Pet beds, emblazoned with the 12A hotel logo, and elegant food and water-bowl holders, are available at no extra cost if you let the hotel know at the time of your reservation that you are traveling with four-legged family. https://12apostleshotel.com