Stanford, South Africa

Coot Club

Price per night from$271.82

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (ZAR4,950.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Hit play

Setting

Knockabout Klein riverside

Eco-friendly South African retreat Coot Club's name nods to the prolific birdlife in the surroundings, but that's not the only area in which nature has excelled herself, with the wildlife-rich Klein River lagoon, flowering fynbos, moss-flocked Maanschynkop mountains, and acres of milkwood forest providing both panoramic scenery and wide-open playgrounds. Stone cottages and Scandi-esque Boathouses (ideal for cross-generation getaways) put you at the heart of the action, be it kayaking, playing volleyball, fat-biking about, or whooshing along a Slip N Slide. And after all that excitement, it’s to the Clubhouse for freshly paddled pizzas, or the beach for sundowners. 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of white, red or rosé wine in your room

Facilities

Photos Coot Club facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Four boathouses and four standalone cottages.

Check–Out

10.30am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. There is more flexibility with timings in the quieter months.

Prices

Double rooms from £209.03 (ZAR4,950), including tax at 15 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional of 250% per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast, a buffet of fresh pastries, tropical fruit, cheeses, yoghurt, muesli, juices and hot dishes (smashed avo, pancakes and more).

Also

The surrounding terrain may be quite wild, but Coot Club’s stone cottages (which are set closer to the main building than the boathouses) and Clubhouse (which has a wheelchair-accessible bathroom) are suitable for guests with mobility issues.

At the hotel

Access to the lagoon; fynbos; free-to-borrow kayaks, fat bikes, volleyball kit, boules, and stand-up paddleboards; lawn games; table tennis and table foosball; library of board games; charged laundry service, and free WiFi. In rooms: stove, fridge, crockery and cutlery, toaster, tea- and coffee-making kit (plus sugar and milk), free bottled water and rusks, books, lawn games, life jackets, firewood and lighters, and Kalahari Lifestyle bath products. The Stone Cottages have barbecues too.

Our favourite rooms

Choose between a cottage or boathouse. The former are older, stone-built and cosy as can be (even if they’re family-sized), tucked into the woods, and come with a furnished veranda and built-in barbecue and braai pit (staff can give you marshmallows for making s'mores). The boathouses are more modern in style, with a nautical, wood-lined Scandi look (wicker, oars on the wall, coastal yellows and blues), and a spectacular setting by the lagoon, which kicks sundowners up a gear. All come with a full kitchen and are secluded across the nature reserve’s 1,150 acres, so there’s a degree of self-sufficiency, but with staff on call as needed. And, you’ll spy botanics-inspired works by the likes of Lucie de Moyencourt, Lisa Ringwood and Gemma Orkin.

Poolside

You could swim in the lagoon or the Atlantic (be warned, the latter can be bracing at times), but there’s also a solar-heated pool set into the lawns with blue-green views which is child-friendly, with loungers around the sides. A second adults-only pool is set in a more secluded part of the grounds.

Spa

There’s no spa onsite, but staff can set you up with a therapist at Mosaic Lagoon Lodge (a 10-minute drive away; on request staff can arrange a shuttle), where scrubs, wraps and massages make the most of local ingredients (jojoba, calabash, palm oil, soybean, and baobab fruit); facials use ultrasonic frequencies and cupping; and you can be pampered amid the milkwoods or with your loved one.

Packing tips

Bring romp-around wear, notebooks to jot down your observations on guided hikes, binoculars, and plenty of swimwear.

Also

The Spookhuis isn’t as eerie as its name suggests, it’s the nickname it was given when it stood abandoned for years, but now this 1892 limestone structure is filled with joy as the hotel’s event venue.

Children

Very welcome, with hideaways that feel like your own family home in the wild and plenty of play to keep little ones busy. Plus the focus on nature and conservation will make budding naturalists of enthralled little ones.

Best for

Little ones who can walk confidently, juniors, tweens, and teens will all have a fantastic time here.

Recommended rooms

Stay in the Boathouses if your little ones are swim-confident, and all but the Stone Cottage Fynbos can cater to the most fulsome family getaways.

Activities

Even the most energetic little Smiths will be tuckered out after days of hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, SUP-ing, playing volleyball, soccer, table tennis and foosball. There are board and lawn games for lower-key fun, and budding naturalists will thrill at tracking animals, checking trap cams, birdwatching, and keeping an eye out for flamingoes and whales. And, in the Clubhouse’s attic there’s a very cute play area, with tents, toys, ping-pong and foosball tables, dress-up clothes, books and board games, and a cinema area with a large TV.

Swimming pool

The main pool is child-friendly but unsupervised. Floaties are available to borrow and there’s a Slip N Slide at the side.

Meals

Served in a casual, communal style, feasts will be approved by even the fussiest eaters, with hamburgers and freshly-made pizzas, plus special braai nights. And the dedicated menu for kids has schnitzel, 'spag bol' and other easy eats, as well as smoothies, ice-lollies and milkshakes.

Babysitting

Babysitting can be arranged (roughly R150 an hour for up to two children) through an outside service and must be booked in advance.

No need to pack

There aren’t many shops in the near vicinity, so come prepared if you have very small smalls.

Sustainability efforts

When you’re placed somewhere as screensaver beautiful as this rural patch of the Overberg, you want to keep your house in order. And so, a percentage of proceeds from stays goes back into conservation efforts, animals are monitored using trap cameras, rare orchids are carefully noted and preserved along the limestone ridges, hives are kept to pollinate the fynbos, and whales tracked as they pass through in season; and this is a Cape Whale Coast Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, so the 230 species of birds fluttering about have a careful eye kept on them too. And, the hotel works with Birdlife South Africa to secure their status as a private nature reserve. The swimming pool is heated using solar power, activities are immersive and mindful (with guided hikes, responsible wildlife-spotting, and intros to the flowers of the fynbos); and the hotel involves the local community in its activities, providing both employment and education.

Food and Drink

Photos Coot Club food and drink

Top Table

Sitting under milkwood trees has a poetic ring to it, don’t you think?

Dress Code

We know it’s nautical here, but no need to go overboard: think a Breton stripe and deck shoes rather than the full Naval.

Hotel restaurant

Chicken barbecued on the Weber grill, pizzas paddled from the wood-fired oven, homemade burgers, toasties, refreshing salads – and the likes of steak in red-wine jus, rainbow trout with lemon and dill risotto, slow-cooked brisket with onion confit – are served in the Clubhouse – which continues the nautical theme with sailcloth lashed to the ceiling, framed flags and jaunty stripes – or alfresco in the shade of 400-year-old milkwood trees. Dinners are a communal affair here with home-style feasting and sharing plates, and communal braai events. And come winter, the fires are lit in the historic Spookhuis (built in 1892) and heartier comfort food is dished up.  If you want to use your hideaway's kitchen, groceries can be ordered in advance of your stay.

Hotel bar

You’ll start to get a Pavlovian response to the sound of the ship’s bell being rung an hour before sundown, when guests gather on the lawn or jetty for frosty local beers and chilled chenin blancs alongside other wines from the Overberg’s cellars, and to see what’s being served for dinner that night. Walker Bay Beach is also a wondrous sundowner spot, and on cooler days, or for a cosy nook, head to the Clubhouse.

Last orders

Breakfast orders are from 8am to 10.30am, then an à la carte menu runs in the Clubhouse. Orders are taken from 6.30pm to 8pm in the winter or 6.30pm to 8.30pm in summer.

Room service

Staff can bring food to you, or you could whip it up yourself in your residence’s kitchen.

Location

Photos Coot Club location
Address
Coot Club
Wortelgat Road
Stanford
7210
South Africa

With its glorious waterside setting on the shores of the Klein River Lagoon, ancient milkwood grove, pristine fynbos and the wild and untouched stretch of beach overlooking Walker Bay, Coot Club is one picturesque playground.

Planes

Cape Town International is the closest hub, around a two-hour drive away. You’ll know you’re on the right route when you hit the Peregrine Farm Stall or the Farm Deli at Beaumont Wines at the halfway point.

Automobiles

A car will be essential – there’s no public transport to speak of and hotel excursions are strictly local. A four-wheel drive or SUV is best for tackling the terrain, and there’s a main carpark and a space for each cottage or boathouse. If you’re road-tripping, the hotel is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, and 40 minutes from Hermanus.

Worth getting out of bed for

Coot Club is named for the predominant bird species on the lagoon and denotes the hotel's immense respect for nature. Who could look out over its tangle of milkwood forest, still waters of the Klein River lagoon, flowering fynbos, and mossy Maanschynkop mountains and not feel moved. The Coot Club now offers sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing for an additional cost. The possibilities for free-roaming are legion, both indoor and out; borrow lawn games, volleyball kit, footballs, or board games; play table tennis or foosball, kayaks and life-jackets (paddling alongside crested coots and yellow-billed ducks, or visiting flamingoes), stand-up paddleboards and fat bikes, all the better for pedalling to Walker Bay Beach (which whale pods pass through October and November) for sand-boarding, or to charming Stanford Village. Sailing lessons can be arranged with Hermanus Yacht Club, or guided walks through the fynbos, keeping an eye out for the tracks of caracals, leopards, porcupines, honey badgers, or bush pigs (if you don’t see one, the overnight camera traps might capture them, and staff are happy to take you through the footage). And, the lagoon isn’t just a top spot for sundowner wine flights – it’s a prime twitching perch too, with up to 230 species to spot. Otherwise, staff can arrange for you to sail down the Klein River, take foraging trips, play tennis nearby, go quad-biking, visit the Overberg’s wine cellars and organic farms, partake in an art workshop, or cage-dive with sharks at Gansbaai.

Local restaurants

Fertile farmland, freshwater springs and having the ocean close by have created ideal conditions for Stanford’s culinary prowess. It’s known for its charcuterie, cheeses, ice-cream and wine, so you could snack your way around, but sit-down dinners are mightily special here, too. Madre Stanford has its own vegetable garden, a picturesque mulberry grove and a fully fresh menu that changes by the day depending on what’s growing. You might have burrata with red fruit, lavender and coriander; pork belly with miso and apple pickle; or tender lamb wrapped in vine leaves. Manor House is a vast farm surrounded by fynbos-clad mountains, which many make the pilgrimage to just for the restaurant (but there is also an art gallery you can browse). Dishes are daring in their flavour combos: fennel and tomato risotto with grapefruit, beurre-blanc and pecorino; pine-smoked kudu tartare in a Gruberg cheese custard; malva (traditional South African pudding) with rose-geranium ice-cream and pistachio praline. Wortelgat on the Springfontein wine estate only opens seasonally, but let’s hope this coincides with your stay, because lauded chef Janine van der Nest (from big-deal eatery Stanford Manor) elevates down-to-earth dining; and the Zesty Lemon (another green-serene spot) is well known for its new-dish-every-Sunday lunches, with a back catalogue that includes cordon bleu with pesto and tomato in a white-wine beurre-blanc, shiraz-simmered oxtail with garlic mash, and ham hock in a cider and mustard sauce. 

Local bars

Water, water everywhere – but you’ll probably take a drop of wine instead. The landscape’s practically flooded with the stuff, and this is fertile terroir for tastings. Walker Bay Estate yields some excellent sav blancs, and cab savs, plus beer tastings and a notable restaurant; Misty Mountain Estate has a selection as delightful as its name and a distillery for crafting gin, vodka and grappa; and Spookfontein is also an architectural intrigue with top flights paired with local cheese, charcuterie or oysters, on request (for an extra charge). And, Maanschijn (Dutch for 'moonlight') has a fine selection of low-intervention wines.

Reviews

Photos Coot Club reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this family-friendly conservation piece in rural Stanford after games of boules and fat-biking through fynbos, a full account of their playtime break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Coot Club in South Africa…

The book Coot Club is named after might be all jolly-hockey-stick adventure and lake-faring fun, but this namesake stay doesn’t have to be as go-go-go. You might want to simply sit in an Adirondack chair and listen to the myriad birdsongs (there are 230 species here, so you’re bound to catch a chorus), bask in the sun after a bracing dip in the lake, have a pizza party with the kids at the Clubhouse, or sit by the fire after dark and look up at the stars. Then again, you’re nautical-chic lodgings (ideal for all-the-family stays) – in a part of Stanford that begs full-tilt exploring – will have you going all outdoorsy, whether you’re learning how to sail, playing a friendly game of football, fat-biking through the fynbos, or SUP-ing past flamingoes (in season). Little ones can safely stray to the playroom, Slip N Slide or lagoon-side pool; adults can be kids again (with added sundowners and Overberg wine tastings), and all can enjoy some good old-fashioned fun. 

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Price per night from $271.82