AS already mentioned in a few of my other September Stellenbosch stories, I stayed at Bonne Esperance Guest Lodge, which is on the corner of Van Riebeeck and Neethling streets. This puts it only a few minutes’ walk from the town, and there is no better way to explore anywhere than by foot, whenever possible.
Built in 1907, the heritage villa has 17 rooms, but the one I spent two nights in is numbered 18. There’s a story behind that and you can ask Annemien Kotze, who is one of the owners and takes a hands-on approach to running the guest house. She – and her daughter Mienke, who helps out on no-school days – were there to greet me when I arrived. It’s a highly valuable personal touch.
I was given one of the best rooms in the establishment, which has views of all the mountain ranges which surround Stellenbosch, as well as the courtyard below where the swimming pool is located. Covid protocols are observed upon checking in, including temperature taking, and other details are filled in online to minimise contact. You have the choice of having your room serviced during your stay, or not.
Likewise, you can choose to take breakfast downstairs in the café or on the veranda overlooking the beautiful, well-established garden, or in your room/on the balcony. I did both as I was there two nights. The café is open to non-resident guests as well, and also caters for private functions. I saw it set up for one such event, with face masks placed at each setting.
My room was lovely, with all the amenities I needed, including top notch rechargeable lights to cope with load shedding (also placed along corridors and stairs). One of the banes of my existence is doing make up in hotel rooms; more often than not, the lighting is completely inappropriate. At Bonne Esperance – which is French for “good hope” – there is a desk lamp which was perfect for the task. The small touches to ensure a guest’s happiness and comfort should never be underestimated.
Not only is Bonne Esperance close to town, but it’s also diagonally opposite the Botanical Garden, which is small (if you’re comparing it with Kirstenbosch but big measured against my own garden) but very lovely and well worth the tiny entrance fee.
There’s still a bit of September left, so see if you can still take advantage of the 50% discount at Bonne Esperance this month. For more information, click here.
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©