A trip to Cape Town is up there on many-a traveller’s bucket list. Wonderful year-round weather, the towering heights of Table Mountain, a satisfyingly weak Rand and sprawling vineyards as far as the eye can see, it’s no wonder that South Africa’s capital is a favourite for sun worshippers and wine aficionados alike. And just a 45-minute drive away from the centre, nestled right in the middle of South Africa’s Western Cape Stellenbosch winelands is Majeka House – an elegant yet kitsch boutique hotel that’s brimming with character and style.
As we arrived, the high walls and iron gates gave little indication of what to expect, but as soon as we entered the property, one of the first things I noticed was pigs. Yes, pigs. Now before you start worrying you might be sharing your sunbed with Piglet, I’m actually referring to owner Karine’s much-loved ornamental pig collection, which is scattered around the reception in a cute and quirky manner. It’s clear that the interior design was a big investment for Karine and her partner Lloyd – a major refurbishment by Cape Town designer Etienne Hanekom has resulted in a light, airy ambiance with a fun, theatrical vibe. So far, so good.
Check-in was quick and simple, and we were immediately accompanied to our room – one of 23 in the hotel – and were delighted to find ourselves in a Luxury Poolside Room. While all rooms offer different orientations, views and styles (be sure to check out the Flamingo Room if you need some Instagram inspiration), ours came with bright nature-themed wall coverings and flooring, a private deck and, best of all, our very own pool shared only with one other room. All have large comfortable beds, satellite TV, iPod docks, a fridge, tea and coffee facilities and an espresso machine for when you need a bit of a kick after an afternoon of wine-tasting. Guests are also provided with a safe, pool bag, beach towels and robe, so save some luggage allowance and leave yours at home.
This was certainly no generic hotel room, but one that was crafted with plenty of thought and taste, with a huge sliding screen that separates the bedroom from the bathroom for when you need a little extra privacy. And speaking of the bathroom, I was overjoyed to find a huge classic bathtub right next to the double walk-in shower – just what I needed after a busy few days exploring. Premium bath and body amenities are by South African Malee Natural Science, and comprise full size bottles of lotions, potions, shampoos, conditioner and more – what more could a girl want?
One thing to keep in mind though is checkout is 11am – early in my experience – so be sure to leave enough time to enjoy all the amenities before you leave.
If you don’t have your own private pool then fear not – Majeka House boasts lush, expansive gardens and a terrace scattered with colbalt blue sofas, cloud-like chairs and plenty of sunbeds for when you want to catch some rays. There’s also an outside heated pool that’s the perfect length for doing some laps, as well as a spa hot tub to boot. We spent a good few hours here on our last day, reading and making the most of the sunshine after we’d been asked to leave the room and check out.
Majeka House may be situated just ten minutes away from some of Stellenbosch’s finest wineries, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on a chance to dine at its renowned restaurant, Majeka Kitchen. Waiters explained that head chef Lucas Carstens is passionate about working with only seasonal and fresh produce, and that is more than clear from the moment you start tucking into your food. Working on a small plate, sharing concept, dishes include oysters with green strawberry, charred eggplant risotto, farmed prawns, springbok, Wagyu ribeye and more, and while it’s recommend that you order between four to seven plates per person, we found around five each to be plenty. It’s reasonably priced, too; from £30 for four plates and £45 with wine pairing.
Breakfast is also served in Majeka Kitchen and was one of the best breakfasts we had while in Cape Town. Met by a grand table as soon as you enter, it’s beautifully laden with a whole host of breakfast staples from which you can help yourself. Everything that you would expect is there – cereals, croissants, yoghurts, fresh fruits, smoothies, meats and cheeses – I could go on. The only issue was that, being December, it was hot outside and the breakfast buffet is served right by the terrace, which was cooled only by fans. This led to a few flies hanging around, but nothing to put you off your food. There’s an a la carte menu to complement the buffet, too – I opted for eggs benedict, a dish that is typically always well made in South Africa.
Aside from Majeka Kitchen, Majeka Lounge is a cool, slightly more traditional looking bar that serves a huge range of cocktails as well as wines, beers, spirits, whiskey and more – I highly recommend sinking into one of its plush leather seats for a tasty nightcap before you retire to bed.
Yes, there might be bigger and more glamorous hotels available in the Stellenbosch area, especially if you choose to stay at one of the majestic wineries, but if it’s sleek interior design, indulgent food and a close proximity to its many vineyards that you’re after, you’ll be hard pushed to find somewhere chicer than Majeka House!
Double rooms from £80 per person, including breakfast.
Address: 26 Houtkapper St, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 880 1549