The kind of place where you’re awakened by birdsong and lulled to sleep by the chirp of crickets, Sterrekopje Farm is 50 hectares of farmland, gardens, a bath house and luxury quarters just outside the village of Franschhoek, South Africa, where the approach to how you spend your time is holistic but not prescriptive. The focus is on rest, but you’re encouraged to take on roles you might not yet have lived, too: play baker, yogi, horse groomer, potter, farmer-forager. All three-, five- or seven-day retreats include a series of rituals developed by holistic practitioners to help restore your body and soul. As for its looks, the interiors are masterpieces of upscale rusticity, with nature-led colour combinations, one-off artworks, corners brightened with graceful meadow flowers. Its tools are gentle – a little soul-prodding here, some mind-opening there – but at this picturesque remove, it could have the power to craft you anew.
Get this when you book through us:
A soothing foot ritual and a bottle of champagne in your room
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £1192.39 (ZAR28,175), including tax at 15 per cent.
Rates include all meals and drinks (including wine and champagne), a daily signature Sterrokopje spa treatment and an array of activities around the hotel.
The four pillars of the Sterrekopje experience are to stay, rest, grow and play – as such, you're respectfully asked to use your phone or other devices only in your room, where you have free WiFi access, but leave them there when exploring the peaceful grounds.
The farm is closed to guests in July and August.
At the hotel
This 50-hectare farmland cultivates fresh olive oil and grows flowers, vegetables, herbs and a variety of local fruits. There are free daily activities to get involved in around the farm, such as harvesting kitchen ingredients from the gardens, joining a bakery class, pottery-painting in the atelier or heading out for a hike up Sterrekopje mountain. You can also borrow bikes for a ride into town or go for a spin around the Western Cape terrain in the owner’s 4x4. In rooms: ceiling fan and/or air conditioner, Sonos sound-system, free WiFi, complimentary minibar with fresh home-made snacks, Nespresso machine, milk frother, homegrown herbal teas, kettle, stationary, bathrobes, slippers, water bottles, Sterrekopje toiletries made with herbs and spices from the gardens. The hotel also offers a laundry service (including ironing) free of charge.
Our favourite rooms
The Rejuvenating Suites offer that little bit more in terms of living space, as well as some unique architectural details in each one. Furnishings and fittings remain on brand, with antique materials and fabrics as well as hand-picked decorative pieces. You can take your bath or shower out in the open air if you like, or simply enjoy the peace of the gardens from your private terrace area.
You can take a dip in the garden's outdoor saltwater pool before drying off under the shaded olive trees. There’s another natural pool area by the Bath House and also a gorgeous lake nearby for wild swimming and canoeing.
The beautifully decorated Bath House has a hammam and two treatment rooms where you can enjoy a range of deeply relaxing experiences, including the signature Ritual of Cleanse (a hammam-style session including exfoliation and soothing skin treatment using vegetal elements from the garden) and the Ritual of Touch (a blend of full-body massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and energy alignment). All three-, five- or seven-day retreats include the 'Sterrekopje journey', consisting of a range of rituals developed by a team of holistic practitioners to help restore the body and soul. There are plenty more experiences on offer, too, from hypnotherapy to breathwork to sound baths.
An open mind and comfortable clothing.
Due to the nature of the land here, the hotel is not suitable for wheelchair users. Although, there is one room that is wheelchair friendly.
For the most part, this laidback farmstead is geared more for adults in search of some reformative rest. That said, family retreats are available a few times a year. You can book a nanny service in advance and private buy-outs are possible.
With an unwavering respect for nature, Sterrekopje Farm prioritises composting programmes and a natural water filtration system, that in turn grows the farm’s fruit and veg that eventually makes it onto your plate. Bath products are made using herbs and spices from the lush gardens, and are eco-friendly. The kitchen operates a zero-waste policy.
If the weather’s good, the long, sturdy wooden table beneath the trees is a fitting dining spot in which to enjoy the fruits of your surroundings.
Anything goes. You’ll likely be taking your seat at the table straight from a swim, a horse ride or a session at the pottery wheel, so come as you are.
Chef Carine Smit uses as much home-grown produce as possible in the Sterrekopje farm-to-table menus, and relies on local farm producers for the rest. Seasonal ingredients are artfully employed to create healthy, mostly plant-based dishes, such as gnocchi with spinach and sesame-and-lime butter, beetroot salad with pomegranate vinaigrette, wood-fired pizzas, homemade quiches and hearty soups. You can eat alongside the chef in the traditional kitchen, or at the garden dining table. At breakfast (served from 8am to 11am), enjoy locally roasted coffee and freshly squeezed juices with your homemade baked delights and farm-fresh eggs. Lunch is served from 1pm to 3pm and dinner from 6pm to 9pm. You can also sit down to afternoon tea at 4pm if the mood strikes you.
Pick a comfy seat wherever you like and enjoy a handcrafted local wine, a refreshing cocktail or a homemade tea while you reflect upon the day.
Sterrekopje Farm is a 50-hectare estate in Franschhoek in South Africa’s Western Cape.
Cape Town Airport is an hour’s drive away. You can book a transfer in advance for around ZAR700 to 1,000.
We recommend hiring a car to explore the local area, including those all-important vineyard road trips – there’s free parking waiting for you at Sterrekopje Farm.
Call in advance to reserve your landing pad if you’d like to arrive by chopper.
Worth getting out of bed for
The arm-length list of Sterrekopje activities and opportunities is one of the main reasons for visiting, so take full advantage. You can ease in with a hammam session or massage, move on to hypnotherapy, meditation or sound healing, or take a yoga class on a floating jetty, a wild swim in a dam, a bike ride or a mountain trek. You can learn to bake bread with the chef, harvest the fruits of the farm, make a clay pot or paint a landscape. Pause to play with the piglets, donkeys, dogs and horses, or assemble a team for a gentle game of boules or croquet.
If you’re venturing off site, you can book a game of golf at the Val de Vie Estate, around 30 minutes’ drive away.
Try Chefs Warehouse at Maisonon the edge of Franschhoek village to enjoy oysters or Vietnamese rice rolls, followed by sustainable fish and seafood tapas or fire-roasted beetroot. Don’t miss Oku for its southeast-Asian menu of dishes like tempura broccoli, Wagyu bao, seared tuna noodles and Japanese cheesecake. At the Boschendal farmestate you can grab a filling farm breakfast at the Deli or farm-to-fork sharing plates, such as butter-poached hake or wild mushrooms with Jerusalem artichokes, at the Werf Restaurant.
The wine farms are a great place to get a sip of something local. We’ve already mentioned the fantastic Boschendal estate, but there are many others, including Leeu Estatesand La Motte.
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 soothing farm stay in South Africa and unpacked the artworks they crafted in the onsite atelier, a full account of their nature-bound break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Sterrekopje Farm in Franschhoek…
It’s hats firmly off to Mother Nature from the minute you arrive at Sterrekopje Farm. Founders Nicole and Fleur have certainly found the right approach for easing visitors into nature’s rhythms and making ‘letting go’ feel comfortable. If relaxation doesn’t come naturally to you, prepare to feel any tension dissipate and your breathing ease up, as you walk the gardens with friendly dogs snuffling around your feet, appreciate the views of mountain and endless sky, and savour the precious restorative sessions in the Bath House spa. You can learn to craft a clay creation in the workshop, pick the fresh ingredients for your dinner plate, or bob in the saltwater pool, before sliding into your elegant four-poster overlaid with your choice of raw linen or Egyptian cotton. Part farmstay, part luxury wellness retreat, the Sterrekopje ‘journey’ will leave you grounded, upskilled and, above all, rested, ready for whatever your next adventure might be…