The Grand Dédale Country House, formerly known as the Doolhof Manor House, promises guests a true country-living experience. This 5-star facility is situated in the valley of the Groenberg, Hawekwa and Limietberg mountains, just beneath the Bainskloof Pass in the Western Cape town of Wellington, South Africa. This area is globally acclaimed for its outstanding wines and guests of Grand Dédale will delight in the abundance of exciting flavours, as the country house is optimally situated on the Doolhof Wine Estate itself.
Recently renovated, Grand Dédale is all about luxurious comfort, combining exclusivity with a warm sense of hospitality. With only six bedrooms and a separate cottage, guests are assured of the highest levels of intimacy and discretion in the heart of this breath-taking countryside.
The six bedrooms are situated within the old-world Manor House, reflecting its elegance and its deep sense of historical import. Despite this distinct focus on the chic style of yesteryear, the facilities and amenities are modern, suited for honeymooning couples, jetsetters or corporate travellers. Grand Dédale is made even more homely by the use of large spaces, linen and textiles of an excellent quality and top-notch service. All rooms have the added convenience of an en-suite bathroom.
The thatched cottage is free-standing, affording it even more privacy and intimacy. It was built out of stone in 1707 and has been restored to preserve its original beauty and charm. Known as the Old Wine House, this cottage has an open-plan lounge, satellite television, two bathrooms (one with a shower, the other with a bath) and a private mini bar downstairs. Upstairs, guests find the bedroom with its inviting king-size bed and a private patio with breath-taking views of the surrounding forests and horse paddocks.
This cottage has been booked for functions such as parties and wedding ceremonies (in place of the more formal chapel).
The rooms and the cottage offer guests the ultimate in comfort and luxury. Amenities include heated floors, air-conditioning, heated towel rails, twin basins, jet shower, free-standing bath, hairdryer, complimentary fruit basket, fresh flowers, the finest towels and bathrobes, allergy-free down duvets and pillows (although guests can arrange for fine fibre pillows instead), tea- and coffee station, wireless Internet access, electronic safe, iPod docking station, radio / alarm clock and a remote telephone (for internal and external calls).
The Western Cape is the home of the world-famous "Cape Winelands", where abundant vineyards set the scene for a gourmet delight to suit any palate. Grand Dédale incorporates the Cape into its dishes with the skilful combination of local ingredients and styles. Game and seafood are particularly popular and are the proud recommendation of the chef.
The Cap Classique breakfast includes a number of home-made items that make it extra special. A range of freshly squeezed juices are served alongside fruit slices, fruit salads, homemade jams and preserves, fresh breads, muffins, croissants, homemade mueslis, cereals, yoghurts and a number of cooked options. For visitors that have worked up an appetite during the day, light lunches and various tasty snacks are available to tide them over.
South Africa is a country of natural beauty and temperate weather conditions. As such, an outdoor picnic comes highly recommended. Picnic baskets are prepared by the guest house staff and guests are invited to pick a spot on the Estate in which to soak up the sunshine, nibble on delicious titbits and savour the stunning vistas. Alternatively, enjoy these snacks on the beach or up in the surrounding mountains. Special baskets can be organised for hikers, cyclists and climbers, which include more carbohydrates for added energy. Baskets must be ordered at least one day in advance.
After a day spent exploring the winelands or lazing in the shade, afternoon tea with its freshly baked goodies is a welcome event.
Pre-dinner drinks are best enjoyed poolside or on the verandah, as views of the setting sun and darkening countryside lull guests into a sense of complete relaxation. On chilly winter evenings, a warming aperitif is best sipped in front of a crackling log fire in the library. While relaxing with refreshments, guests can sample the wines from the Doolhof Wine Farm and choose their three-course meal for the evening. Seafood and game are the chef's speciality, and the focus is on locally sourced, fresh ingredients that reflect the area at its finest.
There are several facilities on the Estate itself as well as within its close proximity. These combine fun, adventure and historical significance to ensure that there is something to see and do for everyone. Grand Dédale has a refreshing 15 metre x 3 metre saltwater pool, surrounded by comfortable loungers, a large verandah with stunning views, an outdoor kitchen with barbecue facilities, stunning gardens and a spa room with various beauty treatments, non-surgical rejuvenation procedures and wellness therapies. These can also be conducted within the privacy of the suite, or next to the crystal waters of the swimming pool (treatments must be booked 48 hours in advance). In addition, it has a tea lounge with a fireplace, a television lounge with satellite, a library, dining room, self-service residents' fridges and wireless Internet access throughout. The surrounding area is ideal for horse riding, canyoning, hiking, walking, cycling, a Vineyard Walk, fishing and golf.
Guests have access to various services that make their stay even more special and hassle-free. These include on-site laundry, valet parking, concierge (helping with travel plans, tour reservations, transfers, restaurant reservations, hired cars and so on) and airport transfers, which are conducted in spacious vehicles or a helicopter.
The hosts can speak English, Afrikaans, French, German and Italian.
There are so many things to do and see in and around the Western Cape. Guests wanting to experience the splendour of this area are advised to make their stay at Grand Dédale at least a couple of nights long.
On the Estate:
In the surrounding area (hotel staff will be happy to assist with arrangements, where necessary):
Doolhof has won several awards for its outstanding wines. There is a tasting room available for guests to sample the entire range. A private tour of the cellar can also be arranged. Pre-dinner wine tastings are enjoyed during the magnificent sunsets so that guests may choose the ideal vintage for their dinner. Doolhof Wines
The Doolhof Wine Farm stretches for 380 hectares, of which 40 are dedicated to vines. Because these are spread over such an extensive are, growing conditions and soils vary. Therefore, each type of grape is harvested under the conditions in which it will flourish, which involves much insight, understanding and dedication. The white Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes are grown amongst the red Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Pinotage and Shiraz. The white grapes do better in cooler conditions with less direct sunlight, so they are grown on the eastern side of the Groenberg Mountain.
The estate on which Grand Dédale is situated is placed snugly in a valley between the Groenberg Mountain Range and Bainskloof. This valley has a variety of growing conditions, soil types and microclimates, making it particularly suitable for vineyards. The soil is a combination of Clovelly, Malmesbury shale and homogenic Glenrosa, which combine to ensure optimal nutrients as well as the best conditions for roots to extend deep down. In fact, these roots may extend over four metres into the soil. This soil is also ideal for retaining water, while it does not allow the water to go stagnant. The Doolhof region experiences slightly cooler winters and more temperate summers than the remaining Wellington area due to its unique topography.
The Grand Dédale Country House is situated in the valley at the foot of Bainskloof Pass. Surrounding and populated by Fynbos, forests and vineyards and surrounded by three mountains, this area is truly one of awe-inspiring beauty. The Estate is intersected by the Kromme River, which supplies water (which it gets from "Gawie se Water") and is an awesome sight in itself.
The name "Doolhof" is translated into the "Great Labyrinth" in English and refers to the valley in which the hotel is nestled. This sets the scene for a private getaway and a peaceful retreat in the heart of the South African winelands.
The town of Wellington is historically and culturally relevant, and is only a five-minute drive from the suites. Other nearby towns are:
Cape Town is a popular tourist hub, frequented by local and international visitors. It is only 45 minutes away, as is its international airport. The Mother City, as it is affectionately known, is famous for its wine routes, wildlife, entertainment hubs, Robben Island, Table Mountain and its friendly locals.
Directions from Cape Town