Feel a world away at Coopmanhuijs
Stellenbosch – Life is full of magic moments. Like lazing beside the pool at Coopmanhuijs Hotel on a warm summer afternoon with a bottle of pink bubbly listening to Billy Idol’sKings & Queens of the Underground.
When you’re in this courtyard it’s hard to believe that just on the other side of the boutique hotel is the hustle and bustle of Church Street, which gives you an entirely different perspective on the beautiful town of Stellenbosch.
The building, which dates back to 1713, is a national monument and exudes old world charm. Extensive renovations preceded its opening as a five-star hotel in 2010, and Coopmanhuijs ranks consistently high on TripAdvisor.
Since it’s on Church Street, where parking is at a premium, your experience begins with a valet and porter to take care of your car and luggage. It’s a challenge for South Africans to hand their car keys over to a stranger, but I love that carefree, glamorous feeling.
After checking in we were escorted to our room with its private balcony overlooking the pool. These classic courtyard rooms have extra-length king, queen or twin single beds with 100 percent cotton percale bedding, and en suite Victorian style bathrooms with bath, separate shower, and bidet, as well as a host of toiletries. Who doesn’t love having lots of little soaps, body lotions, bath and shower gels, shampoos, and vanity kits?
Other comforts include television, mini bar and air-conditioning. As you would expect everywhere these days, there is excellent free wi-fi – which is how I came to have that new Billy Idol album downloaded from iTunes.
Helena’s Restaurant inside the hotel is divided into two adjoining parts. One has an antique yellowwood ceiling and lighted trees made of wire adorn an entire wall. The other has a glass roof and opens on to the courtyard and pool area. The restaurant serves “heritage food with finesse”, some of which we had sampled on a previous visit – including divine roasted red peppers, crispy aubergine sticks, smoked snoek paté, pork rillettes and marinated mushrooms on the signature mezze platter. Preference is given to hotel residents, but walk-ins are welcome, and you’ll find the prices reasonable for a five-star establishment.
If you’re staying more than one night and want to explore other restaurants, there are several within walking distance, as well as tasting rooms of some of the Stellenbosch wine estates.
Breakfast of eggs Benedict was taken in the courtyard the following morning. With just 16 rooms, Coopmanhuijs is an intimate boutique hotel where personalised service is valued and delivered. I loved the central location balanced with peace and privacy, and the quietly elegant luxury.
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