Tucked away in a quiet corner of Swellendam, South Africa you will find Schoone Oordt– a beautifully restored country house with more charm than all the charm of the charming town it sits in. Looking past its undeniable character and charm (did I mention it’s charming?) you will find a story of one couples dream of quiet country living and the love it took to get there. The result is a property so gorgeous it makes this blogger use flowery language he otherwise has no right to use let alone type.
Bear with me. It’s worth it.
Meet the Walker’s
To take on a restoration project like Schoone Oordt one would have to be skilled, patient, and have a keen eye for antiques…or be very ambitious as Alison Walker put it. Over coffee in the Conservatory restaurant, owner/operator/giver of life Alison went on to explain the love and hard work that went into restoring Schoone Oordt and how it almost didn’t happen. From a “love-at-first-sight” purchase, this old country manor was destined to become a guesthouse. With literally every piece of wood in Schoone Oordt receiving a facelift, the Walker’s dream of running a charming guesthouse has been an endless work in progress. Living through a renovation is never fun. I had a hard time dealing with not having a kitchen for a week while I retiled a backsplash. Richard and Alison’s Schoone Oordt restoration spanned several kitchen renovations, scraping years of neglect by hand, and the arrival of 4 children (4!). Not many people could survive a project like Schoone Oordt however Richard and Alison’s desire, passion, and vision persevered.
Thankfully it all came together in time for me to enjoy. From what I have seen, all the effort and elbow grease is paying off.
Throughout Schoone Oordt’s country manor you will find a treasure trove of unique knickknacks and artifacts. What started from a few collectables has grown to museum-like proportions – and it’s amazing.
Dare I say charming?
Schoone Oordt Guesthouse Rooms
Of course the vintage charm (there it is!) of Schoone Oordt’s restoration doesn’t stop at the original home. Inside the spacious guest rooms (located next to the manor) you will find old world fixtures and furnishings that have been lovingly refinished. Take the beautiful claw-foot tubs or the vintage pull string toilets for example – possibly the coolest of all the toilets (sorry Japan). Then there are the wood burning fireplaces and antique wardrobes, all combined with convenience and well-thought detail. Think electrical plugs and switches by the bed, something uncommon in a hotel of this style.
Yes, Schoone Oordt is a place for those wanting a unique old-world stay without having to fetch your own water or kill your own breakfast.
Although I was more than happy to read a book by the fire, Swellendam has loads to see. Much of it is at Schoone Oordt’s door. Just down the street you will find the “Golden Mile,” a concentration of arts, crafts, historical sites, and restaurants. Then there is the Drostdy Museum – an interesting peak into Swellendam’s Dutch Heritage.
Head a little further and you will hit the Faerie Sanctuary. Perhaps for the kids or those looking for something odd? Words can’t really describe.
Schoone Oordt’s huge Conservatory doubles as the hotel’s restaurant. Included in your stay is a well-stocked breakfast buffet and afternoon tea. At night the tables are set for fine dining. I sampled springbok carpaccio, Karoo lamb, and a peanut butter soufflé…which had me at peanut butter soufflé.
This cliché word that I wouldn’t use to describe a prince winning over his true love has come up again and again. Looking at Schoone Oordt’s restoration, character, and quiet (but central) location in Swellendam (South Africa’s most charming town by the by), how can it not?
Schoone Oordt Good to Know
Room Rate: Check out Schoone Oordt’s website for latest rates.
Includes: breakfast, afternoon tea, and a charming nights sleep!
Don’t Miss: the antiques in the bar, pull-string toilets, and peanut butter soufflé.
What say you?
Thoughts on the charming Schoone Oordt Country House?
Let’s hear it!
Although I was provided a complimentary stay at the Schoone Oordt Country House,
the experience, opinions, and charming night sleep was my own.