5 of the best hot tubs in the South African Winelands
Grab your swimming costume and a corkscrew, and treat yourself to a little wine-centric indulgence at these dreamy getaways
There are many good reasons to visit the South African Winelands. For starters, well, there’s the wine, and at local cellars you’ll find world-class releases selling for a fraction of the price you’d pay in Napa, Bordeaux or Barossa. The region’s culinary scene is also on fire, as talented chefs turn out everything from high-end fine dining to seasonal farm-to-fork fare. Throw in an array of fine hotels and country lodges, and you have all the makings of a memorable escape.
Plus, there’s a trump card. At the end of a long day of exploring the Winelands (also known as the Cape Winelands, due to their relative proximity to Cape Town), you can return to a wood-fired hot tub, stoked-up and waiting for you out on the deck. With a glass of sundowner sauvignon blanc in hand, prepare to soak away the last of any holiday stresses.
The hot tub trend taking hold in the Cape (an informal name for the area in and around Cape Town) means you’re not short of choices, but these five getaways offer the winning combination of views, location and a healthy dose of luxury. Enjoy!
The Breedekloof is something of a local secret in the Cape. Just an hour’s drive from Cape Town, this laid-back corner swaps the glamour (and tourist crowds) of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch for the authentic charm of a valley filled with country restaurants and family-owned estates – estates like Opstal, where the Louw family have tended to orchards and vineyards for the past seven generations.
On a hillside high above the cellar, the five freestanding units of Opstal Stay are a masterclass in Scandi-chic gone local. Think blonde-wood floors and sliding glass walls that give onto a wide terrace, or ‘stoep’, as the locals call it. Here, with panoramic views of the Slanghoek Valley and distant mountain peaks (often snow-capped in winter), you’ll find a hot tub ready and waiting. Crack open a bottle of the farm’s famed chenin blanc, and settle in for an unforgettable sunset.
PO Box 27, Rawsonville, 6845, South Africa
Soaking up the setting at Camp Canoe / Image: Tanja Kruger & Anna- @c_a_b_i_n_s_e_e_k_e_r_s
No rush to get out of this tub: Camp Canoe / Image: James & Kirsty @cabin_fever_cpt
Channel your inner Sam Shakusky (Moonrise Kingdom’s young protagonist) at this Wes Anderson-inspired under-canvas getaway in the Stellenbosch winelands. At the sharp end of the local glamping trend, Camp Canoe brings a dollop of irreverent style to a charming country getaway, with seven playful suites each filled with bespoke details from leading local designers.
It’s camping with all of the fun and none of the hassle, and the attentive crew here will even ensure your hot tub is warmed up on arrival. The circular zinc tubs are the work of architectural design studio Podula, riffing on vernacular farm reservoirs of the Winelands. Camp Canoe is pitched on Boschendal estate, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment and dining options.
Boschendal Estate, Pniel St, Groot, Franschhoek, 7680, South Africa
On a private game reserve halfway between Cape Town and the ever-popular Garden Route (a 200km stretch of coastal road along South Africa’s southern tip), Melozhori rests on the southern edge of the Breede River wine route, offering the chance to combine a little light game viewing (there are no predators, so safety isn’t an issue) with a sip of fine wine. The reserve provides a range of options, but the luxurious self-catering pods should be where you lay your head. The terrace features a 14-metre hammock, along with an integrated hot tub for keeping any evening chills at bay. As the pods are self-catering and remote, ensure you arrive fully stocked for your stay.
Off Route R317, Bonnievale, 6730, South Africa
On the outskirts of the village of McGregor, two hours’ drive from Cape Town, this sustainability-focused farm offers a choice of accommodation, but the remote Hill Cottage is a firm local favourite. It’s a gloriously romantic spot, sleeping just two guests, with views of the farm dam, vineyards and broader Robertson Valley. Light a barbecue in the fireplace crafted of local stone, open a bottle of estate wine (there’s an honesty bar indoors) and settle in for a soak and a little stargazing beneath the sweep of the southern skies.
Vrolijkheid, PO Box 92, McGregor, 6708, South Africa
It’s no lie to say that Rudi and Karen Oosthuyse made hot tubs famous in the Cape, with these steamy indulgences having long been the key to the charm of their Kolkol cabins on the mountain slopes of Bot River. The contemporary Pecan Pod is perhaps the pick of the lot, with a spacious living area, indulgent bathroom and kitchen that boasts a wood-fired pizza oven. Of course, the similarly wood-fired tub a few steps away delivers superb views of fynbos-clad valleys. For days out, the wineries of Bot River are nearby or book a table at Farro restaurant for upscale Italian-inspired dining on Gabrielskloof estate.
Van Der Stel Pass, Bot River, 7230, South Africa