Diary of a Grand Dame

Diary of a Grand Dame

Swellendam South Africa

Building (from scratch) a small country hotel in Swellendam South Africa came with some challenges, a large one being, nobody really knew where Swellendam was.  It’s one of those underrated and extremely beautiful South African country towns with a huge amount of history, beautiful architecture, awesome adventure, wonderful warm people and only a two hour drive from Cape Town.  We’ve realised over the many years of passionately sharing Schoone Oordt Country House with guests, that from the start, we need to market Swellendam and the fabulous things to do before marketing our fabulous hotel.  And fabulous they both are.

Luckily, both ourselves and Swellendam Tourism work very well together and we have been putting huge efforts into spreading the ‘word’, online and in social media.  With this in mind, we assisted in putting together a small group of local travel bloggers on an adventure weekend of note!  Playfully ‘piggybacking’ the very successful #Stellenblog campaign in Stellenbosch, we instigated a ‘#Swellenblog’ 4-day event that showcased a myriad of ...

We care1

Posted 6 May, 2014

Cancer care donation by Schoone Oordt Swellendam Hotel

Cancer care

We’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, as its an important part of our heart at Schoone Oordt Country House. Not only do we care about the environment, sourcing local and ethical products, but we also care about people… Last year we supported two major causes (as well as a few little ones). The one was Action Against Hunger’s ‘Too Many Critics’ event and the other, an especially personal one, was the Breast Cancer Care Show in the UK.

We met Sue Stannard in 2003 when we bought this grand old house in Swellendam and became very good friends over the years of planning, renovating and building. Sue and her husband, Phil, are ‘swallows’ (spending summer months in England and South Africa). Around the time that our little Swellendam country hotel was getting busier and we could do with a spare pair ...

Swellendam Restaurants

Swellendam Restaurants

As you know, we’re constantly growing and evolving at Schoone Oordt and we’ve spent a bit of time trying to find our way with offering dinners. Some aspects have worked, some not. We’ve learnt, listened, taken our precious guests’ feedback to heart and from the 1st November last year, we officially launched ‘The Conservatory Restaurant’ at Schoone Oordt Country House, soon to be recognised as one of the top Swellendam Restaurants. We constantly strive to keep our offering fresh and original and feel that the light and airy Conservatory fits it’s name rather well. What do you think?

We’ve started with a small a la carte menu, such as: Dukkah spiced kingklip with marinated tomato, pickled cucumber, potato mousseline; Sweetcorn velouté with ginger, coconut, chilli, coriander, popcorn; Potato gnocchi with beetroot, buffeljachts goats cheese, sage; Overberg beef fillet with potato puree, trio of onion

and my very own personal favourite…. Fynbos honey ...

antique letters in couch Swellendam South Africa

Swellendam South Africa

This is a very special romantic story and one I’m so happy to share.

Even before we’d discovered Swellendam South Africa, Richard found this old couch on one of his antique store trawls in 2002. He bought it. It sat in a pile of building rubble for the many years that we’ve been restoring and building our Schoone Oordt country hotel. This past winter, whilst breathing new life into the rooms, kitchen and garden, Richard also found the time to ‘potter’ on restoring the couch in his workshop.

This is what it looked like lying outside Schoone Oordt and pre-restoration:The restoration project of this beautiful old piece of furniture is perhaps a story enough, but what makes this truly memorable, is that two old letters dating back to World War Two were found hidden down the side. Obviously stuck there in anger or pain and forgotten. They conjure a story of ...