An epicurean escape at the Alphen

2013-09-23 11:31
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The Alphen - a picture of eccentricity

The Alphen boutique hotel - nestled in the timeless beauty of Constantia - is a treasure trove of rich South African history, exuberantly wrapped in tasteful, five-star luxury.

Walking into the Alphen Boutique Hotel certainly is like stepping into another world.

Its five-star elegance, swathed in unashamed exuberance, is apparent from the moment you sit down in the oversized armchairs at reception.

If you’re an art lover, this hotel will have you oohing at the spectacular antiques and art adorning the walls.

It seems famed writer and poet Oscar Wild would have been expertly at ease surrounded by this kind of beauty he’d deem “utterly useless” – but it demands that you abandon all things practical and mundane, at least for the duration of your stay, in favour of a far more epicurean approach to life.

Yes folks, that most certainly is all.

We arrived after 10pm, slightly later than expected. The staff demeanour however fitted the breeziness of a 9am shift.

Attention-to-detail (especially when you have kids travelling with you) and an attitude of “Let us take that load off of you” is just what a tired family needs when the clock ticks closer to the witching hour.

Ushered into the suite, the painstaking effort was apparent.

A baby camper and spare bed beckoned from the corner of the room.

Still spacious, the added additions were overshadowed by a Dorian-Gray-befitting cheval mirror. Ooh.

Flopping into bed and cot was easy; and most welcomed. It was a good night’s rest.

Waking up in this 17th century historical treasure, to the sound of rain battening the huge windows, is delightful. Could there have been a better place at such a time, snug in an amazing suite? I doubt it.



Staring out across the Constantia Valley and the 11.5 acres of this boutique hotel’s wonderland garden, it is not hard to imagine the various scenarios this national monument has seen. With its status confirm in 1973, the Alphen was a wine estate and at other times a working farm. In fact, it still proudly boasts the oldest working mill in the Western Cape.

The Alphen’s restaurants (three in total - The Five Rooms, la Bella and The Rose Bar) and dining areas call you out to explore the surrounding gardens, as the suites are a short walk from the main hotel amenities. I’d image an alfresco breakfast in summer to be a great way to start the day.



During our particular stay we decided to forego a dash through the rain and opted to dial-up reception. Yep, still perky despite it now being closer to the other side of the witching hour (the joys of traveling with kids who wake up early).

La Belle Bistro & Bakery cooks up a dangerously, delicious breakfast. We had lashings of freshly cooked oats, muesli with all the healthy trimmings and a farm breakfast capable of satisfying the hungriest of fellows. If you ask for extra anything, be prepared to get your money’s worth. There seems to be no kiddies-size portions here.



Somebody at reception was either briefed really well on how to handle kids on a rainy day or has kids of their own - without even asking, a selection of DVDs were delivered to our room.
Just the diversion needed when indulging in one of the hotel’s signature experiences – a Butler drawn bath.

This is a must - whether you need to ease aching muscles or just happen to need some quiet time. Don’t underestimate the power of incense, Charlotte Rhys bath salts and candles, together with heaps of rose petals scattered across a bath filled with bubbles.

The best part?

Having the kids abandon the movie, tumble into the tub and tickle your face with the rose petals. We splashed up a storm and I’m not sure what is it about kids and candles – blow it out, light it up. Again.

When they’re all grown up, these are the memories we’ll cherish.

Take a look at this Alphen Boutique Gallery or visit the Alphen Boutique Hotel website for more details - being just 15kms from Cape Town's city centre it is a great option for a family holiday down in the Cape.

Have you been to the Alphen Boutique hotel or do you have a favourite boutique hotel? Email us your experience to get published on News24 Travel - info@news24travel.com

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