Monday, 1 July 2013

Off the beaten track: one of South Africa's best gourmet destinations

It may be a little off the well-worn Cape winelands track but a detour to The Robertson Small Hotel is certainly worthwhile. 

Around two hours drive out of Cape Town in the charming Breede River Valley, part of Robertson wine region, you’ll find this delightful boutique hotel that has been named as South Africa’s best luxury country hotel for the second successive year.  The town itself is dusty and sleepy but there are several excellent cellar doors within a short drive.
Located between the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountain ranges (not so easy to say), the Robertson Wine Valley Wine Route was founded in 1983 and currently comprises 48 wineries in the towns of Bonnievale, McGregor, Ashton and Robertson.

Although the region is less well known than Stellensbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek, it has 14.25% of South Africa's total area under vine and is home to standout producers with cellar doors including De Wetshof (for excellent chardonnays), Bon Courage, Kranskop, Van Loveren and Viljoensdrift.    

The hotel is one of those places where it is easy to settle in for a day or two and just kick back enjoying local wines and fine local cuisine – particularly as there is a world-class restaurant on site: Reuben’s at The Robertson, an outpost of South African celebrity chef Reuben Riffel. 

His chilli salted squid and crispy pork belly with pickled cabbage are both standouts.

Guests can choose from 10 luxurious suites, either Manor House suites, Stable suites or Poolside suites. All have king-sized beds, mini bars, en suite bathrooms, IPod docks and international plugs. 

The staff are both friendly and amazingly helpful, so it is all too easy to sip on a glass of local pinotage and some tapas while sitting beside one of the two swimming pools. There’s a mix of chic sophistication and country charm here. 

The main building is the former home of a one-time ostrich baron – a gracious manor house that dates back over 100 years. 

The Robertson Small Hotel +27 23 626 7200.

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