The ‘Jewel of the Cape Winelands' could not be a more fitting way to describe the majestic Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Bought in 2003 by Laurence Graff, owner of world-renowned Jewellery empire Graff Diamonds, it was love at first sight for him when he saw the estate. Visitors to this exclusive part of Stellenbosch will be equally swept away by the charms of the land itself.
The estate includes a world-renowned, state-of-the-art winery, luxury lodges and boutiques, world-class spa and stunning vista that belongs to paintings in the National Gallery.
Driving up the picturesque Helshoogte mountain pass and through the hallowed gates of Delaire Graff Estates, you can't help but feel the magnificence of the surroundings with immaculately manicured gardens as you approach the lodges. Service is as flawless as you would expect, with the staff greeting you the moment you park your car and then a seamless check-in and short drive to your accommodation via their golf buggy.
The lodges set the bar on what luxury accommodation is supposed to mean. The deluxe garden lodge we stayed at was both stunning and spacious at 80 square metres: it included a separate living room, ensuite bathroom, private heated pool and a butler's kitchen. The sumptuous beds came with top quality linen and the room has a sunken, hidden television screen that opens up James Bond-style at a touch of a button, but programme watching is unlikely to be high on your list of priorities when your room looks onto an inviting heated plunge pool. The bamboo and reed double height ceilings give the lodge a contemporary yet indigenous sense of style.
Their huge marble bathrooms come with a dual sink, rainbow shower, and high-end Aromatherapy Associates beauty products; whilst the kitchen comes with a Nespresso machine and there is a complimentary mini-fridge stocked with a variety of spirits, such as the local favourite, Amarula.
You can experience an alluring, holistic experience at their luxury spa area where only the finest products are used such as Swiss Perfection, Aromatherapy Associates, and Terres d’Afrique. Their signature massage is highly recommended which includes both a full body massage and a Rasul ritual in their sauna and steam room, where you can get a body and face exfoliation as well as treatment masks, meaning you won't just feel relaxed but look refreshed and invigorated.
There are numerous dining options available, but the top of the list for your consideration is the Indochine restaurant where they offer exquisite Asian-influenced food with a distinctly South African twist from their head chef Virgil Khan. He managed to turn a street food dish in the form of laksa of cured beef into a fine dining delight, a vindaloo dish with an exotic array of local seafood and a Thai green curry that had the whole gamut of healthy Asian vegetables such as lotus root, water chestnut, and Asian mushrooms. It goes without saying, ordering a fine bottle of estate-produced wine is a must and the limited edition 2012 Delaire Graff White Reserve (only 3000 bottles produced) is seduction in a bottle with complex, layered minerality and citrus notes and a lingering, creamy finish.
Guests who are not staying at the lodge can also experience their tremendous wines at their art-filled wine-tasting lounge. Not to be missed is the masterpiece at reception of the world-famous painting, Chinese Girl. The wines are extremely well-priced for their entry-level wines and you can also pair them with a flavoursome cheese or charcuterie platter. Apart from wine tours and tastings, they also have boutique shops from luxury clothing and homeware brand, 100% Capri to the flagship African Graff jewellery store.
Stellenbosch might have hundreds of vineyards to visit, but there is no need to look any further when the best is available at Graff Delaire Estate.
For more information on Delaire Graff Estate, see here.
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