Taking advantage of Spier’s warming winter special

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 28 June 2019

If I had to sum up a stay at Spier Hotel in the Stellenbosch Winelands in one word, it would be ‘warmth’. This was especially true of the staff who made my family and I feel abundantly welcome on a recent stay, but it extends to the physical warmth of the crackling fires, good food and wine there too.

From the moment we stepped into the reception area waves of warm air enveloped us, trying desperately to compete with the receptionist’s smile but not quite succeeding. Flames danced in the fireplace next to the entrance area in one of the many rooms richly decorated in South African art.

The hotel reception extends into a room filled with art – a delightful feature at Spier – which extends to the bar area and Spier restaurant. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

When we reached our rooms we discovered that besides the wonderful protea-themed decor, each room has its own fireplace. This was a first for me. I’ve stayed in all sorts of hotel rooms but never one with its own fireplace, a stone’s throw from our bed. Romantic, soothing and most of all warm, in our room we were unaffected as a cold front barrelled down on the Western Cape, shaking branches loose, whipping the wind into a frenzy and bringing much-needed rain.

Crackling fireplaces can be found all over at Spier during winter as can fresh proteas. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

We did venture out for dinner that evening at Vadas, Spier’s ‘smokehouse’ restaurant. The interior of the room where we were seated is quirky with bright art on yellow walls, the ambience reminding me of Vincent van Gogh’s The Night Café. Again we were warmed by a smouldering fire.

I choose the Panga sea bream which was tasty and succulent, my side salad was delicious and I’d highly recommend the lemon meringue pie, the sweetness balanced out with a cup of Japanese green tea. My husband found the pork ribs delectable but the brisket and pulled pork, although flavoursome, were very rich. If you love your meat smoked and brimming with flavour this may be just your spot. However, my favourite restaurant at Spier has to be Eight, where I enjoyed the most delicious chicken salad I’ve ever had the following day at lunch, and where my hubby tucked into a burger that got a big thumbs up.

Some of the food on offer at Eight restaurant, which prides itself on its organic farm-to-table cuisine.

Spending time on a wine farm meant we weren’t about the miss out on the vino, and a tasting was in order. Spier has introduced its new Seaward range of wines and provides an interesting pairing with soup. The wines, matched with tiny cups of broth (our favourite being the carrot), included the Creative Block 2 ( Sauvignon Blanc), Seaward Chardonnay and the Seaward Shiraz, rounded off with some Spier Cape Vintage (port) and a vegan brownie made from sweet potato.

Enjoying the view outside the tasting room. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

Breakfasts at Spier Hotel are heavenly. The buffet spread includes both regular and wheat-free scones, muffins, flapjacks, and waffles (which are truly delicious), as well as all sorts of fruit, yoghurt, porridge, cereals, oat bowls and traditional English breakfast fare –  eggs, bacon, mushrooms and the like. The restaurant at the hotel overlooks the brilliantly green lawn and surrounding gardens and is the perfect place to start the day.

After enjoying walks across the grounds, wine tasting and a scrumptious lunch on our first day at Spier, we returned to our cosy rooms to watch a bit of the Cricket World Cup before enjoying an in-room couples massage, while the girls headed to the spa for manicures. It doesn’t get much better than a full tummy, a warm fire and an expert masseuse working all the knots out of your shoulders. Needless to say, the relaxing experience was followed by an obligatory nap before dinner time.

If you don’t feel like walking 200m to the spa, you can organise an in-room treatment. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

Art is a thread that is woven into every building at Spier and its grounds too. There is always a feast for the eyes. Besides enjoying the various pieces that decorate the public spaces at the hotel and surrounding buildings, you can visit the The Spier Artisan Studio next to Eight restuarant.

Spier’s mischievous-looking pixie sculpture. Image credit: Stephen Kirsten

Spier also encourages guests to explore the farm by walking the grounds guided by the VoiceMap audio tour, or as our family did, run the 5km or 10km route on the farm or take a leisurely cycle on one of the Qhubeka Buffalo bikes that are available at the hotel entrance. The farm is also home to Eagle Encounters, a really wonderful interactive experience with raptors and owls.

On the second morning of our stay, the clouds were gone and we decided to do the Spier Segway Tour. This is something no guest (or day visitor) should miss.

We’d never done one of these before and our humourous and patient guide, Dylan, showed us the ropes before we set off to explore the farm on our whizzing machines, Dylan leading the way. What fun! These Segways have off-road tyres and we could confidently cruise over bumps and dips on the gravel farm roads, enjoying the fresh air and vistas of the Stellenbosch mountains and the Bottelary Hills. This was the perfect culmination to our winter weekend at Spier.

Spier’s Winter special: Two nights in a Signature room. Full English breakfasts. Farm-to-table lunch at Eight restaurant. Signature wine tasting. Massage session at Spier Spa. R1,720 per person per night. spier.co.za

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