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“And there’s a place that I’ve dreamed of,
Where I can free my mind,
I hear the sounds of the season,
And lose all sense of time…”
With over 20 million views on YouTube Coastline’s Hollow Coves describes the impeccable Brookdale Estate to perfection. Granted, it’s set in the mountains not the seaside, but it’s a place that I’ve dreamt of since I left, the sounds of the season, produce and experience truly allows you to free your mind and lose all sense of time.
Welcome to Brookdale Estate
White paddock fences line undulating brick roads towards the majestic Drakenstein mountains in the distance. Tiny cars glide towards the Huguenot tunnel like something out of the Jetson’s; except this is the last reminder that there’s a city beyond these beautiful surrounds.
Pin cushion proteas adorn the entrance road before being exchanged for vibrant green vineyards; flurrying past as the magnificent Cape Dutch Manor House of Brookdale rises in the distance. Purple agapanthus proudly welcome guests outside the front porch, with a hint of what’s inside courtesy of the artwork peeking through the Clerestory window.
The Brookdale Estate Manor House is a luxury B&B tucked in the valley of the Paarl. With 360 degree views towards the mountains and town, the estate is a haven for wildlife, birds and swallows looking to escape northern winters.
Our warm and assertive hostess, Yvonne, welcomes us at our vehicle and leads us to the large, white manor house glowing in the afternoon light. Stepping inside the cool foyer, the centered staircase leads the eye up to a large painting of a women, like a stairway to art heaven, as our bags are whisked away in exchange for a glass of iced tea.
Decorated with vibrant local art in both paintings, literature and sculpture, my favourite piece is found in the dining room. An installation sculpture that had me puzzled at first – does it pull out? Is it indeed a table? What paradise to be surrounded by beautiful art to engage and intrigue with throughout your stay. Brookdale keeps you curious.
In the soft evening light we were ushered to a poolside table where the Jacus Marais, wine sales manager and owner, Tim Rudd, kindly shared their journey from vine to bottle. To celebrate vegan month, vegan snacks were provided, including gluten-free bread for me, which was greatly appreciated.
The wine making journey was a filled with joy, creativity and experimentation as young winemaker Kiara Scott leads the production at Brookdale Estate. My two favourites were the Chenin Blanc, perfect for summer evening sippings, and the Mason Road Syrah – a medium bodied Syrah filled with dark berries and a charcoal twist, not too dry and easily drinkable on warm and cool days.
This was a special treat as wine tastings are not readily available on the estate (this is not a location for day visitors without prior arrangement).
While the guests relaxed around the twilight table, AJ and I frantically ran around trying to photograph the estate in the fading light. So beautiful is the white house turning a golden colour, the veggie garden falling under the stars, soft pink rose lined circular lawn and Drakenstein mountains transforming into the evening. Should you stay, try your very best to only go out after dark (or not at all) to soak up the natural transformation from day to night.
Vegan Dreams at Brookdale Estate
For dinner, chef Gary Coetzee spoilt us to a vegan feast. I personally enjoy vegan food as a simple salad is easy to make, but an entire feast is a greater challenge; and one Gary delivered with ease. With a passion for fresh, sustainable, estate-grown produce, much of the dinner was derived from the very earth of Brookdale. Our feast included avo & tomato stack, Thai salad, barley risotto and a refried bean taco.
This philosophy was extended to the breakfast as well, with fresh farm ingredients leading the way. (While dinner is not a staple on the Brookdale services, it can be pre-arranged depending on the occasion.)
Luxury Accommodation in Paarl
After tucking into delicious cuisine, enjoying engaging conversation and indulging in a few bottles of red, we retired to our suite.
Entering our cupboard lined entrance hall (providing ample space for long stays), I indulged in a little roly poly. An old habit from my teenage years growing up in Namibia. Decent carpets are hard to find in South Africa and I couldn’t resist “feeling at home”! It’s had me questioning my floors ever since I returned home.
Staring at the tiny details of original wildlife paintings in the bathroom, I wash the makeup off my face and stare up at the sky lights trying my best to spot a star. AJ curiously explored the snacks in the treat drawer before plugging his sleep apnea machine into the nightstand plug point.
As impressive as the TV hidden in the bed frame was, the bliss of the evening was greater than the urge to stay up exploring the channels. At Brookdale Estate technology supports and complements nature first and foremost, it does not lead the way.
Awakening to a blissfully dark room bar a sliver of light peeking through (usually created by a photographer seeking a night shot), I realised it’s a bit later than I would have imagined. Climbing out the king-sized bed, I open the curtains a little wider to give AJ a gentle awakening.
Heading down for brekkie, the empty coffee cups next to the pool indicate the other guests have clearly been up for a while longer than we have – and I’m jealous. A great night’s sleep is so precious, but so, I imagine, is rising early on the farm and taking in the beauty of the rising light.
Sadly, work is calling and our time at Brookdale Estate is running out. Before departing, we tuck into one of Gary’s delicious farm-fresh breakfasts complete with rich spinach shakshuka, bacon and potatoes.
Brookdale Estate is true South African luxury accommodation at its finest. With a focus on wellness and harmony with nature, expect afternoons spent reading in their lounge, walks on the farm, calming swims in the pool, sipping delicious wine on the back porch, day-dreaming over the vineyards – and that’s all I could do in 12 hours!
The estate offers 6 suites, catering for 12 adults and 2 children, in the heart of Paarl. Make use of the breakfast room, dining room, library, entertainment room and terraces to enjoy a luxurious South African B&B stay.
Rates: R8800 per suite, including breakfast. *Please check their site for SADC specials.
Thank you to Brookdale Estate for hosting us.