And the people that make it great
19.03.2017 - 21.03.2017 90 °F
What is a place if not for the people who are passionate about what they do?
Delaire Graff is a stunning property that wraps its graceful arms around you when you arrive. Coming from the busy waterfront in Cape Town the short drive takes you through the townships and then suddenly pass the vineyards and wine farms of Stellenbosch. It's a striking contrast that weighs heavily on me as we make our journey. Ultimately we make the turn off and climb the hill that brings us to this magnificent property. We turn in and the gardens greet us like an old friend. I remember how I felt when I arrived the first time and I take in the stunning gardens with the beautiful statues as we drive up to the lobby. The hotel itself is perched on a hilltop surrounded by the vines of Delaire. Above us are the jagged rocky cliffs that seem to lift out of nowhere, Simonsberg to one side offering a dramatic view from our room and Leopards landing, a short climb above the Chardonnay vines where you can see clear across to table mountain in Cape Town.
The gardens blooming with many flowers and birds chirping a welcome song. Just sitting on the balcony of our room and doing nothing is something.
It's remarkable beauty and it must be savored. It might take a minute to slow down and take it all in, to really empty your mind and absorb it all.
We had dinner on the property at Indochine the first night and what might have been an ordinary, albeit delicious meal was transformed into memorable experience with the help of our amazing server, Jean Claude. His passion for the food and his desire for us to enjoy ourselves was amazing, he described the choices on the menu as if they were his precious children and guided us to pick the things that he knew we would enjoy. Finally upon offering us dessert, we informed him there was no room left and his face dropped, I thought he might cry. He went on to describe two choices we might like to share among us and of course we ordered and were not disappointed with our choice. The food was truly delicious.
We also spoke with the Sommelier, Kyle, who really loves what he does. He directed us to a great red blend for dinner, but the best part was how he took his time to ask what we liked and the properties of the different wines. Kyle tells us he is preparing for his master sommelier test I was humbled as he took the time to help me understand what I liked and translated it into terms that made sense to me.
We met Kyle the next afternoon in the restaurant just looking for a glass of Chardonnay. I just started drinking white wine, so I really did not know what to ask for. He had me taste one or two, and then explained that I like the big Chardonnay with a bit of Oak, not much citrus! I could listen to Kyle talk about wine all day long.
On our second day we decided to have a picnic up at leopards landing at sunset and asked the hotel for a cheese plate and a bottle of wine. Allan, Clive and Tee hiked up and I took the buggy, I arrived and to my suprise they had layed out a blanket and pillows and set a table for us with a beautiful Delaire Terraced Block Chardonnay on ice. The cheese plate turned out to be a hamper full of fruit, cheese, crackers, smoked salmon and we brough a beautiful sourdough bread from Babylonstoren. The wine was just beautiful and we finished the bottle easily. The weather did not disappoint and we were treated to the most amazingly clear view and sunset. It was an evening to remember. We might have looked a bit like the three stooges (well four) because of our many cameras, IPhones, GoPro's and Clive's drone. The serenity of the evening was captured on every device we had which made us laugh at ourselves. Just before sunset another couple came up to enjoy the sunset and enjoy a glass of champagne. They left quite soon after the sunset to make their dinner reservation. I realized our wine was finished and they may not have finished the bubbly, so I went over and helped myself to their bottle. I think the bubbly put us over the top. I am not sure any of the pictures will really capture the moment, perhaps due to the wine, but It was fun trying.
On the last day I decided to have a facial. Delaire is known for it's spa services and I booked a facial. My therapist, Misha, did an outstanding job. I don't know what she did during the facial, but it was so relaxing and nurturing I almost cried. My skin was glowing when I left and I felt fantastic.
As I read this over I don't think I have really captured the essence of this place. The beauty all around that is nature, the statues in the gardens and the lobby plus the art work that hangs on the walls. There is something to enjoy at every turn. That paired with all those who work here that bring their passion and joy to work daily makes Delaire Graff a really special place.