Hawksmoor House is a stately hermitage with historic flair just 25 minutes from the bustling portside city of Cape Town.
A distinct Cape Dutch influence runs through the fabric of this special property like a golden thatch thread, highlighting the history and charm of years gone by. There really is a story to be found in every nook and cranny.
The imposing homestead was meticulously restored by owners Mark Borrie (UK) and Simon Olding (RSA) in 2004. Hawksmoor House is Sir Nicholas Hawksmoor’s namesake and a tribute to the famous 17th century British architect who, amongst his vast achievements, had a hand in building the majestic St. Pauls Cathedral.
The guest house comprises 16 individually decorated guest rooms. Each of these reflect a particular style referencing their location on the property; be it the Manor House, Slave Lodge, Dairy Lodge or Edge House (which coincidentally, houses rooms with a more quirky décor style; my personal favourite being the Tool Room.) Other ‘hot’ rooms in my book are the Grey Room in the Slave Lodge and the White Room, also in Edge House.
I stood on the stoep of this gabled, thatched house with Mark and Simon, looking past the soft linen drapes billowing in the gentle breeze, we gazed upon the patchwork landscape before us – evenly spaced Cyprus trees stood sentry along either side of a Grecian style deep-blue lap pool. Only the rolling stretch of farmland rippling towards the great block of granite and sandstone that is Table Mountain hinted at its Cape Winelands location.
Once the sun had slunk off to delight in other parts of the world, we slid into our seats at the massive antique dining room table and embarked upon a decadent pre-dinner wine tasting led by Mark himself. He is an astute, perceptive wine fundi who is paternally passionate about each of his vintages. You will taste smoky pinotages with hints of nail lacquer, bananas, marmite and peat. Hawksmoor House is set on a working wine farm which produces Syrah and a Chenin Blanc (their only white grape produced from 29-year-old bush vines). Mark partners with some of the region’s most notable wine makers in his quest to produce beautifully balanced wines. His Syrah won 4 ½ stars on the Platter guide.
Follow up with a hearty, home-cooked meals cooked by Kirsten van der Westhuizen, the talented chef. Upon request, Kirsten offers tasty, simple meals which are perfect to come ‘home’ to after day long explorations of the region. You will fall into your deeply comfortable bed, hunger sated and thirst slaked.
If you’re a dog lover you’ll adore having the two lithe bodied, silky short-haired pooches draped over the antique furniture…but it’s not for everyone.
Traveller’s tip – do visit the guest loo in the Manor House. Go at night…it’s worth the trip!
Hawksmoor House at Matjieskuil Farm
For directions on how to get to Hawksmoor House, please click here.
Phone: +27 (0) 21 884 4815
Cell: +27 (0) 83 277 7046 (emergencies only)
Latitude: -33°48″41.26′ (-33.811460)
Longitude: 18°47″10.45′ (18.786236)