Swellendam has always been one of our favourite towns, for a number of reasons. We have family there. We love the architecture and the history and the amazing trees. The climate is mild as they say in England, the place is known for producing some of the finest berries – big plus for me.
An invitation from Alison Walker to spend a night at Schoone Oordt Country House, owned by her and her husband Richard, while visiting family this week was one we happily, and as it turned out wisely, accepted. And one that would make us want to go back again and again. The house is managed by Sonette and Wander Bester; Wander being the master behind the pots.
Schoone Oordt is situated at the eastern end of the main street in Swellendam. A classic Georgian Style Victorian townhouse with the front stoops covered in enchanting cast iron ‘broekie’ lace.
We spent the night in The Honeymoon Suite, my bride of 38 years and I. In a four-poster bed. I don’t recall sleeping in a four-poster bed before, but in the late 1960s I worked at a hotel in Stellenbosch the bedrooms of which were peppered with all manner of four posters. They creaked and rattled and shook like an elderly steam train making its way up a mountain pass in India. The one at Schoone Oordt was of the firmest construction and blissfully quiet with the most perfect of mattresses, pillows of the greatest comfort and it has been many moons since I slept the night through, insomniac that I am.
All through the night, there was a gentle running water sound from the Koornland River in front of us and any number of fountains in the immaculately kept gardens.
In the morning we had breakfast in The Conservatory Restaurant that is about as Victorian a conservatory as you would find. We were cared for by Christal, bright and caring in her service.
The breakfast, as they say, is made with LOVE. And it is, a three-course affair with everything you would want. From the well-stocked buffet offering any number of cereals, delicious granola, fruit, yoghurt, cheese and yummy homemade biscuits, hot carroty muffins and home baked bread.
The second course was a spiced poached pear – beautifully poached and soft all the way through. There was a dried fruit and nut filling and a spoonful of thick yoghurt.
Eggs Benedict, with truly crispy bacon followed. The bacon so good that on its own it would merit moving to Swellendam. Served on a real English muffin with a benchmark hollandaise.
More traditional bacon and eggs or a ‘good, old-fashioned fry-up’ are also on offer.
The coffee was excellent too
We will be back for more – soon.
1 Swellengrebel Street, Swellendam
Telephone 028 514 1248