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This luxury hotel located in South Africa’s Cape Winelands overwhelmed its guests and our readers with its working farm renovation. Co-owner Karen Roos’s vision for outdoor living became a reality and she did not stop there. Together with her team, Babylonstoren now has a proud addition to its vast family plantation.
Cue an astonishing 26m long new conservatory that offers the unique experience of being appreciated by everyone, simply by doubling up as a glorious teahouse. This creation came to life because as Karen Roos puts it ‘This is what makes us tick, we love plants that have a sense of history and tell a story.’ This is a tea time story with lost boys, fairies and never land gardens. To reach the greenhouse you follow a peach pip path through the 8 acre vegetable, fruit & herb garden, a nod to the 17th and 18th-century Company’s Garden of the Dutch East India Company. The former was designed by French architect Patrice Taravella, who owns the medieval monastic garden Prieuré Notre-Dame d’Orsan, and along the way you will pass an astounding 350-plus edible species. This is what we call poetry in motion.
The green steel structure of the conservatory consists of 4mm hardened glass. The standard doors, the removable bamboo roof screens and other details were imported from Serres d’Antan in France, while the final design was a collaboration between Karen Roos and Babylonstoren’s general manager Terry de Waal. This structure welcomes guests who have completed one of the garden tours and are greeted with this glorious plantation to gaze upon while sipping tea and enjoying the cool breeze.
The detailing incorporated in the tea room area and the ritual itself, are exquisite. Karen Roos collaborated with Delft, and designed custom made pieces & motifs for this experience. The themes created on the plates are also found on the grounds on mosaic circles that surround the persimmon trees; a continuation which is both harmonious and playful. The table coverings and place mats are printed on recycled paper in order for them to be used again in making compost. Now, when it comes to the menu, the light and playful choices let you design your own palate by selecting from a variety of bread rolls, cheeses and charcuterie items which are wrapped in one of the Delft placemats and delivered to the table with three beautiful fireproof Weck glass jars containing fresh salad, a chutney or relish and mixed herb oil. Once again; poetry in motion.
All in all this new surprising seed that was planted in the Babylonstoren landscape - like everything else – has grown to excite us and fall in love with the experience all over again.v
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