So I have this App. It’s a simple app with the sole purpose of playing soothing sounds to aid in rest and relaxation. For example, a crackling fireplace, a babbling brook or frogs chirping. It’s actually not as random as it appears.
I use it when I just can’t seem to quieten my mind or let go of the day.
Seemingly endless moments spent lying in bed, simply exhausted, while my mind runs amok with thoughts... of that to-do list for tomorrow, my growing workload and of course the all important stuff, like "what would my dream kitchen look like" or "would I be able to use a rolling pin with my feet in a pickle?"
Sound familiar? Of course it does.
Imagine visiting a place that offers you each and every one of those sounds, and more - without an App and 100% Authentically.
Welcome to Schoone Oordt.
The Walker family undertook the tremendous task of restoring the main house of Schoone Oordt to its former glory, and with (I suspect), perhaps more spit and polish than had ever existed before, even in her hey day.
The woodwork and painstakingly restored antiques will take you to a by gone era. This establishment boasts manicured gardens and history dating as far back as 1853.
It truly is a marvel and a testament to the formidable spirit and vision involved in bringing this grand old dame into a new century.
The food is packed with flavour, is suprisingly unpretentious and can only be described as modern country food at its finest. With an array of amazing local farmers, Alison Walker explained that the restaurant only sources fresh organic ingredients from local suppliers.
The dishes more than echoed this claim in quality and taste and I was struck by the seamless integration of the farm to table movement in a setting that could be taken all too easily as ostentatious.
Schoone Oortd strikes this balance perfectly.
A few dishes to mention; The risotto was superb, and the Overberg feef fillet was tender and seasoned to perfection.
The entree that really stood out was the beetroot salad with goats cheese and crispy sage, and of course to round it all off, I opted for the lavender creme brûlée. Apparently, as my partner pointed out, licking your bowl in the dining hall is uncouth.
The service is attentive, friendly and there isn’t a second that you will not be waited on hand and foot. The staff are mostly local, which I love! There is a real sense of professionalism, as the staff moves without really being seen. After dinner, you come back to a lit fireplace and a turndown service that offers the sweetest homemade chocolate truffle you have ever had. (Naturally, I had both truffles.)
The gardens are beautiful. They are filled with tranquility. If visiting during a hot spell or during the summer months, you could relax at the pool with a book and completely switch off to the outside world. With water features scattered in the gardens, I drifted off into a complete state of relaxation and my partner quipped on more than one occasion that I was a Zen-Master Truffle.
The bedrooms; Lying in bed listening to a crackling fireplace while sipping on peppermint tea is my definition of heaven. Their attention to detail will not go unappreciated, I can promise you. It’s the little things that make all the difference in a five star establishment. Fresh milk in the fridge and home baked rusks for your morning tea is just a few of them. The bathrooms are spoilt with fragranced products from pause room and I must admit a rose petal bath every night was on the cards for little old me.
In retrospect, thinking of my stay at Schoone Oordt - It's definitely the little things that turn out to be the big things.
Falling asleep to the sound of the water fountain outside and the fireplace crackling at the foot of my bed created a deep relaxation that no iPhone or App on earth could create. Sometimes you just need to take a step back.
I took a step back into the arms of our countries third oldest town, Swellendam and stayed at one of the towns oldest houses, Schoone Oordt.
The Walker's have not only created a space where the most natural thing to do is to let go and just be; they manage to maintain the values of slow living at every turn.