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 spa and luxury guest 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. Or simply grab a volume from the library and find restoration your own way. 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 – over the three- or more day retreats they offer, but at this picturesque remove 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 €1664.44 (ZAR28,175), including tax at 15 per cent.
Rates include all meals and drinks (excluding wines). The breakfast spread includes home-baked bread and pastries (gluten-free options available), yoghurt, granola, fruit, eggs, pancakes and French toast. Enjoy all of that inside or at the garden table.
You’re encouraged to use your phone or other devices in your room, where you have free WiFi access, but leave them there when exploring the peaceful grounds.
A new, speakeasy-style bar is due to open in September.
The farm is closed to guests in July and August.
At the hotel
There are eight hectares of farmland onsite, growing flowers, vegetables and herbs. There’s free WiFi onsite, a free laundry service and a library, and you can borrow bikes for a ride around the Western Cape terrain. There are free daily activities to get involved in, such as harvesting kitchen ingredients from the gardens, joining a cookery class or creating your own artwork in the atelier. In rooms: ceiling fan and/or air conditioner, Sonos sound-system, minibar with home-made snacks, Nespresso machine, milk frother, teas, free bottled water, kettle, free stationery, bathrobes, slippers, Sterrekopje toiletries made with herbs and spices from the gardens.
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 natural materials and hand-picked decorative pieces bringing out bags of personality in each serenely calming space. 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 outdoor saltwater pool any time. There’s another pool area by the spa and also a gorgeous lake nearby for wild swimming.
The onsite spa, in the beautifully decorated Bath House, has a hammam and a treatment room where you can enjoy a range of 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). There are plenty more experiences on offer, from reiki to breathwork to sound baths, and you can book personal training sessions or guided yoga classes in advance.
An open mind and comfortable clothing.
Due to the nature of the land here, the hotel is not suitable for wheelchair users.
For the most part, this laidback farmstead is geared more for adults in search of a wellbeing boost. That said, family retreats are available a few times a year. You can book a nanny service in advance on a half-day or full-day rate.
The usual waste-recycling procedures apply here, as well as composting, LED lighting throughout and swapping plastic for glass wherever possible. Bath products are made using herbs and spices from the lush gardens, and are eco-friendly. Water is reused for irrigating the land, that in turn grows the farm’s fruit and veg that eventually makes it onto your plate. 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.
Simply let the staff know what you would like and you can enjoy your meal in your room.
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…