Category Archives: Sleep Here

Sleep Here: SummerWood Inn and Winery, Paso Robles, California

SummerWoodGreatRoom

All images by Lauren Mowery

 

Over the last decade, Paso Robles, California exploded with new wineries and now boasts over 200 on the books. Unfortunately, the tourism sector — specifically the luxury hotel industry — has not kept pace. For a region capable of such artisanal, soulful wines, it’s puzzling more hoteliers haven’t opened commensurately boutique, aesthetically-conscious properties so synonymous with wine country in other parts of the state.

Fortunately, the team behind SummerWood Winery had the vision to open just such an inn, completing a total renovation more than a year ago.  And their fully booked calendar, sold out months in advance, proves the stylish lodging void desperately needed filling. Tucked off the main highway and abutting acres of newly planted vineyards, Summerwood Inn provides the region with a fresh, design-focused perspective evoking a chic, modern farmhouse.

SummerWoodBed

Calming hues of sand, slate, and blue carry throughout the nine grape-themed rooms. (The theme is really in name only. There’s nothing gimmicky about this property.) Framing the vines yonder, picture windows in the spacious rooms deliver practical wall art through scenic country views. My suite featured a double-headed shower, plus a stand-alone tub which would’ve been tempting but for the drought crisis afflicting the state. Had I more time than a single night, I would’ve cracked open my complimentary bottle of wine, either on the sofa affronting the gas fireplace, or on the private deck. Alas, after a long journey from New York, and a few stops at wineries along the way, the soft cotton sheets tucked into a fluffy, pillow top bed beckoned my fatigued limbs to climb in and never get out. The next morning, I was lured away solely on the promise of a generous, chef-inspired breakfast which did not disappoint.

Great properties highlight the relationship between small details and big concepts.  An expansive great room filled with smart, custom furnishings draws shape and warmth from textured throw blankets, potted orchids, and mercury vases. From freshly picked flowers adorning breakfast tables, to locally-made custom bath products, to evening platters of decadent desserts and turndown service treats, it is evident innkeeper and chef Kelly Wangard and general manager Shayne Kline, understand the finer points of hospitality critical to leaving an indelible mark on guests.

SummerWood Inn’s only flaw: its handful of rooms can’t satisfy demand. If you’re lucky enough to plan in advance, or catch a last-minute cancellation, however, you’ll enjoy the best lodging experience in town.

SummerWoodBath

Highlight

Breakfasts are substantial and deftly executed by the innkeeper Kelly Wangard who is also a trained chef. Submit selections with preferred breakfast time, the night before. Fresh fruit, coffee, and juice complement main dishes ranging from smoky chilaquiles with a fried egg (essentially high-brow breakfast nachos), to fluffy biscuits and savory gravy.

Location

SummerWood Winery & Inn is located in Paso Robles, California exactly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They are just one mile off Highway 101, on the corner of Highway 46 West and Arbor Road. From Highway 101 take the exit for Highway 46 West, Hearst Castle, and Cambria. Travel one mile west and turn right on Arbor Road. Summerwood Winery is on your left and the Inn is on your right.

Amenities

  • Wi-fi
  • Choice of gourmet breakfast included
  • Large demonstration kitchen and dining area can be booked for private events
  • Outdoor patio
  • Wine hour with substantial hors d’oeuvres, plus evening desserts and coffee
  • Complimentary bottle of wine
  • Nearby Summerwood Winery tasting room. Definitely try the Grenache Blanc.
  • Parking

SummerWoodGuestRoom

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Sleep Here, SummerWood Winery & Inn

Sleep Here: Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa

LeQuartierFrancaisPoolView

All images by Lauren Mowery

Le Quartier Francais

If a hotel can embody the spirit of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel Secret Garden, Le Quartier Francais comes close.  On Franschhoek’s main street, an unassuming front entrance adjacent to the outdoor patio of the property’s cocktail and wine bar belies the escapist fantasy waiting inside. Guests and visitors must funnel through common spaces, past très chic French décor punctuated by African accents, and whimsical rabbits perched on pedestals in anthropomorphic poses, to reach the rose- and jasmine-scented courtyard oasis. Echoing the sentiments of the book, time spent shuttered away within Le Quartier’s serene confines, provides a tonic for the neuroses and afflictions of day-to-day life.

The family-owned, boutique property offers more than just the curative aromatics of a lush garden in summer bloom. A range of “Le Quartier” rooms to various sized “Auberge” and “Four Quarter” suites, suit a spectrum of budgets and spatial needs. All rooms are immaculately dressed in sensuous textiles and warm, playful colors with bright accents (my color shock came in vibrant pink), feature touches like fireplaces and towel warming bars, and boast details such as wood-beamed ceilings to contribute old-world charm. Serving as the focal point of the courtyard, guests can relax poolside with views of the steadfast, cloud-capped Franshhoek Mountains, promising themselves to step foot off the property for a stroll through town. At some point. Or  maybe visit a vineyard (I recommend Chamonix followed by lunch at Solms-Delta). At some point.

LQFGardenRabbits

Sparring rabbits and blooming gardens

 

LQF serves a thorough, fresh breakfast in the brightly-hued garden room which feels evocative of vacationing on a French island, St. “Somewhere” in the Caribbean (Saint-Barthélemy?). A buffet featuring enormous, flaky croissants, a selection of seasonal fruits and juices, three types of homemade granola, plus a hot breakfast menu, come with the room rate. The most acclaimed restaurant in town, The Tasting Room by chef Margot Janse, calls LQF home. (Note: the restaurant closes on Sundays. Such was my luck during my recent visit.)

LQFBreakfast

Breakfast spread with the city’s best croissant

 

Highlights: A book, a mountain view, a cocktail, all by the pool in the afternoon. Croissants at breakfast: they must be the best in the village.

Location

Tucked off the main avenue of the romantic, French-flavored village of Franshhoek in South African wine country, 45-minutes out of Cape Town.

LQFRoom11

Room #11

 

Amenities

  • Full breakfast
  • Gym (nearby)
  • Wi-fi
  • Heated towel racks
  • Nespresso coffee and tea service in rooms
  • Pool
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Spa
  • Library
  • Secure parking
LQFLounge

Bar and Lounge

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Le Quartier Francais, Sleep Here, South Africa

Sleep Here: The Cellars-Hohenort Constantia Valley, Cape Town, South Africa

CellarsHoenhortVineyardView

All images by Lauren Mowery

 

The Cellars-Hohenort

Transporting guests back in time to a more genteel epoch, Relais & Châteaux property The Cellars-Hohenort predictably attracts an older (almost elderly), stylish crowd.  One of three Liz McGrath properties (the iconic hotelier who also owns The Plettenberg in Plettenberg Bay and The Marine in Hermanus), the historic manor, adjacent to the stunning estates and vineyards of Constantia, dates back to 1693. Originally called the Klaasenbosch Farm, the Cellars-Hohenort was the expansive estate that belonged to the chief surgeon of the Dutch East India Company, Hendrik ten Damme.

CellarsHoenhortGrandRoom

Recently refurbished, today’s patrons can spend mornings at local wineries, and afternoons wandering the fragrant gardens blooming with rose and jasmine on the path to sunbathe at one of two pools.  A chic spa and hair salon ensure guests are relaxed and perfectly coiffed prior to dinner at highly-awarded The Greenhouse, run by R&C Grand Chef Peter Tempelhoff. The restaurant is bright and airy, enclosed in glass — hence the name — with white furnishings stamped in a green plant motif. No need to go off-site for a post-prandial; a range of wines and cocktails can be sampled at the Martini Bar.

CellarsHoenhortGreenhouseResto

Table Mountain is an impressive vision, made especially so from the privacy of a terrace room at Hohenort. Accommodation runs from luxury villas, suites, to smartly-furnished singles. My room, “almond,” was a charming space in eggshell white and seaglass blue, with French doors opening on to the pool. Outdoor furniture needs updating, and some edges of the property show the fray of time, but the freshest common rooms blend contemporary textiles, patterns, and colors with antique furniture and objets d’art.

CellarsHoenhortRoom

Highlight: Exploring the gardens while in full, intoxicating bloom; breakfast of eggs Benedict and fresh summer fruit on the terrace.

Location

Situated on 9.5 acres of lush, manicured gardens, the Hohenort lay a few minutes’ drive from the wineries of Constantia Valley and approximately 20 minutes from the CBD of Cape Town, South Africa.

CellarsHoenhortLawnView

Amenities

  • Two award-winning restaurants, including The Greenhouse
  • Bar
  • Business center
  • Tennis court
  • Two pools
  • Spa and Hair Salon
  • Wifi
  • Private transfer available upon request
  • Acres of gardens

 

Contact

Ariana van der Merwe

reservations@collectionmcgrath.com

+27 (0)21 794 5535

Leave a comment

Filed under Sleep Here, South Africa, The Cellars-Hohenort

Sleep Here: Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa 

VineyardHotelRearRestaurant

Seamlessly blending old with new, the Vineyard Hotel on the fringe of Cape Town in South Africa, delivers the charm of a 200-year-old heritage house with the comfort of modern amenities and stylish décor, all set to a stunning backdrop of Table Mountain along the Liesbeeck River.

Contemporary architecture utilizing glass and steel, has expanded the property beyond the original wood structure, delightfully wrapped during summertime in green vines punctuated by shocks of pink blooms. Built in 1799 by British colonial servant Andrew Barnard for his Scottish wife Lady Anne Lindsay, the property’s name derived from the vineyards found near the grounds at the time. Notably, it was the first English country house built in South Africa. Lady Anne set to cultivating beautiful, meandering gardens along the riverfront setting, which still afford guests today the chance to enjoy indigenous flora and fauna and abundant bird life.

Chic rooms feature cool color palates in contemporary fabrics; mine was in soothing sandstone and sky blue. The mountain view reminded why I came to South Africa in the first place: It boasts one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. The warm service at the hotel left me wishing I’d had more time to relax on the beautiful grounds or utilize amenities like the expansive fitness center, exceptionally equipped for a hotel gym.

RoomWithAView

Highlight of Stay

The Javanese massage at the spa. Poolside with views of Table Mountain.

VineyardHotelPool

Location

Tucked into the leafy, upscale suburb of Newlands, the Vineyard Hotel is within easy walking distance of the up-market Cavendish Shopping Centre and is just 10 minutes away from the City Center and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.

VineyardHotelDiningRoom

Amenities

  • 207 Rooms
  • Conference center
  • Free Wifi
  • Indoor and outdoor pools
  • Two restaurants, a lounge, plus patio and poolside dining
  • Angsana Spa by the Banyan Tree Group
  • Hair salon
  • Fully equipped fitness center
  • Garden walkways and jogging paths along the Liesbeeck River
  • Two tortoises, Herbert and Gloria

VineyardHotelDiningRoomTopView

Leave a comment

Filed under Sleep Here, South Africa, Vineyard Hotel