June 9, 2017

places I love (south africa // babylonstoren)


just when we thought south africa couldn't get any better. a week on safari, a night in a old-world gem in durban, exploring cape town edge to edge

in the middle of our cape town stay, we planned two nights an hour or so outside the city in the stellenbosch wine region of south africa. 

after two nights at babylonstoren, I'm ruined for all future hotels. forever. a dreamy old cape dutch farm built in the 1600's and currently owned by the former editor of south african elle, babylonstoren is perfect. we were lucky enough to snag the room in the farm hotel nestled above the library and it was nearly impossible to drag myself away. 

garden after garden after garden. 
one of the continent's best restaurants
ducks on the payroll. 
all the wine. whenever we wanted. from our own bar. 
long afternoon bike rides. 
cheese shops.
salads by color. 
chickens and donkeys and geese. 
tea picked from the grounds. 
chester. 
rose. all day. 
a spa plucked straight from my daydreams. 
vineyard sunsets. 

if you get the chance, don't even think about it. just go.

everything here is beautiful. 

and I can't wait to come back. 






































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May 25, 2017

places I love (south africa // cape town).


a quick flight across the country and we found ourselves in cape town. we had four nights in the great city (with a getaway to wine country in between...more on that later), and we loved every second. 

cape town is full of life and color and all the good things. here were some favorites. 

stay.
cape town is spread out, so we split our stay up between beautiful camps bay and the city centre so we could easily get around. in camps bay we got a little fancy and stayed at the amazing 17-room POD. it's the kind of place where the awesome staff think of everything before you have to ask for it. cold waters in our car for a day trip, fresh popcorn and hot cocoa for an in-room movie night, etc. when lindsey started asking about hiking, one staff member even invited her to join him and his friends on their sunrise hike up lion's head! the rooms were perfect (equipped with ready packed beach bags for a quick walk to the bay), and we loved every minute of our visit. 

when it was time for the city centre, we kept it a little more budget friendly and stayed at the Hippo Boutique Hotel. It was low on the frills - but spacious, clean and in the perfect location to walk around a bit and explore. 

eat. 
let's be real. the majority of the stars on my google map were restaurants. and they did not disappoint. cape town was made for food lovers. here were some favorite spots: 
molten toffee. nowhere makes a cold brew like they do in the US, but the food and drinks at molten toffee were perfection. 
deluxe coffeeworks. simple, cool and good. 
orphanage cocktail emporium. less food, more drinks...this speak-easy vibes spot serving drinks in tea cups was real cute. 
arcade. I'm a sucker for a good neon sign, and this cool bar on bree st. didn't let me down. 
foxcroft. we snagged a reservation here on the tail end of our cape peninsula day trip. cozy, delicious and in the adorable constantia area - it was a great end to the day. 
the potluck club. we couldn't get in to the famed Test Kitchen (as one of the country's top restaurants it's been booked solid since opening), so instead we opted for it's sister restaurant, the potluck club. the view from the glass-walled top of the biscuit mill silo is a draw in itself, but the tapas style dishes were perfection. we definitely left full and happy. 
chef's warehouse + canteen. this tiny no reservations spot was listed as the place where "chef's go to eat" - and it was easy to see why. no decisions necessary, the only menu option is the eight course tapas for two, and every dish blew. my. mind. lindsey contemplated going into the kitchen to hug the chef we loved it so much. GO, and go early. apparently we got lucky, there is usually a line around the block. 

do. 
there is so much to do in cape town. a highlight for us was spending a day doing the cape peninsula drive. we took our time so it took most of the day, but we wandered down and around the cape of good hope, stopping in places like kalk bay, simon's town, boulder's beach (the penguins!), cape point, and more. it was definitely one of the most scenic drives I've ever been on. we spent another morning on a tour of robben island (every tour is led by a former political prisoner - and it's amazing). we wandered around the beautiful gardens of kirstenbosch (I'd love to go back when there's a concert there!), and took the cable car up to the top of table mountain. we wandered around bo-kaap, the old, technicolor muslim neighborhood, and went to the saturday market at the hip old biscuit mill in woodstock. 

other tips. 
  • rent a car! once you get the hang of driving on the opposite side of the road (thanks linds!), it's pretty easy to navigate, and it was SO helpful to have the freedom to go where we wanted. we made sure to look for hotels with secure parking, and never had a problem. 
  • book your robben island tour in advance! 
  • just wander! we loved walking around on bree street, in woodstock, in camps bay, etc. 
next up: back to that side trip to wine country in the middle of our cape town stay...































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