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Small hotel, big break: Head to Fazenda for a luxurious, mountainside holiday

Breakaway from the city and take a much needed rest at this luxurious Fazenda retreat

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By Piet Smedy | December 19, 2022 | Travel Leisure

Tucked into the Hermitage Valley, a forested pocket of the Langeberg mountains, at the end of a weaving dirt track that takes you seemingly a million kilometres from civilisation (in reality, it is only about 15 minutes from Swellendam), the transporting – and revitalising – appeal of Fazenda Luxury Retreat & Farm cannot be overstated.

The Instagrammable Greenhouse offers an escape in the forest, Photograph: Obsessively_Creative_Directed

‘We could not help but fall in love with the quaintness and surreal beauty of this town, with its rich history and diverse community – and, of course, the lush, natural landscape,’ says Marilouise van der Merwe, who owns the farm with her husband, Jacques, and oversaw the complete reimagining of the humble berry farm into an exclusive retreat. ‘When we bought Fazenda, it had just two rustic log cabins,’ says Marilouise. ‘We renovated those and extended our hospitality offering to what it is today with the Hacienda and Greenhouse (which sleep four and two respectively) now firm favourites.’

The former, an old worker’s cottage, lives up to its name, drawing on the white-washed walls, pared-back interiors and low-slung architecture synonymous with the Spanish-style homestead. ‘The structure had interesting features, such as textured walls and a curved ceiling that I wanted to keep, so we used that as the base for this unfussy retreat,’ says Marilouise. ‘The plastered walls, slatted pergola and pool, all backdropped by the sensational view of the mountain and trees, are an unadulterated escape from the norm.’

The exterior complete with a swimming pool to the Hacienda, Photograph: Obsessively_Creative_Directed
The relaxed living area to the Hacienda, Photograph: Obsessively_Creative_Directed

Inside, it was transformed into a light-filled, open-plan space with elements of wood and stone, while a neutral interior colour palette was specifically chosen to highlight the natural surroundings of the lake, forest and mountains. The decor and finishes read as a who’s who of design – from Mungo towels in the bathroom to cutlery by JAN and crockery from Hertex Haus in the kitchen, while all the appliances and cookware are by SMEG and Le Creuset. ‘There were so many lovely moments during the renovation of this building, from sourcing lights and furniture to the art and, uniquely, the beautiful antique doors from India,’ says Marilousise. ‘The Hacienda is a humble abode, but there is no denying that there is something special about this quiet place.’

Views of the Langeberg mountains, Photograph: Obsessively_Creative_Directed
A fireplace for cooler evenings at the Hacienda, Photograph: Obsessively_Creative_Directed

The much-Instagrammed Greenhouse is an entirely different experience, all glass and steel and filled with greenery – a literal conservatory-style space hidden in the forest where you could, quite easily, stargaze from bed. ‘Fazenda caters to the discerning traveller not only seeking a luxury stay but an experience,’ says Marilouise. ‘Through the bespoke interiors and unique location, our guests can completely relax in nature while enjoying all the best of modern luxury.’

The interiors were kept light, Photograph: Obsessively_Creative_Directed
Dining at the Greenhouse, Photograph: Obsessively_Creative_Directed