WALKING INTO OUDE WERF HOTEL, you immediately feel 200 years of history under your feet. Wooden floors partially covered by strategically placed rugs and carpets evoke the old church that once stood on these grounds. Proudly referred to as South Africa’s oldest inn, the hotel has been in business since 1802, having been extensively rebuilt and renovated through the centuries.
An iconic Stellenbosch landmark, Oude Werf Hotel, as it is now known, has recently completed the latest in a series of comprehensive renovations. The changes include revamped suites and an updated restaurant, and were carried out in collaboration with respected architects Revel Fox and Partners and a dedicated arts and decor team.
The hotel features 58 luxury rooms with views of the lush garden and cosmopolitan Church Street. Guests can expect a combination of plush drapery and rich interiors with modern botanical influences. Deluxe comforts are subtly combined with period inspired details, ensuring that guests enjoy all the convenience of modern comforts, while being offered a glimpse into the rich heritage of the property.
This interplay between modern and vintage has been carefully balanced and managed in all facets of the hotel. From the Georgian-style facade guests enter a corridor of natural light – created by glass walls and a vine-covered courtyard. Beyond this, visitors are able to enjoy a meal in the newly designed restaurant, featuring statement copper light fittings and richly upholstered seating. The new Oude Werf Restaurant offers guests a contemporary European twist on traditional South African favourites. Under the guidance of chef Albert van der Loo, the restaurant welcomes both guests and day visitors for a selection of delicacies, including a dedicated afternoon tea menu of sweet treats.
Oude Werf Hotel has placed great emphasis on bringing the outdoors in. This is not only visible through the perfect use of natural light, but also in smaller decor touches throughout the property. Fresh roses on the restaurant tables, floral upholstery and stag heads in the reception area hint at the great outdoors.
Arts and decor team member, Riri Petousis, says the inspiration behind the upgrade was found close to home. “We tried to create an authentic experience by acknowledging, in a contemporary style, a strong sense of place – focusing on Stellenbosch and the rich Afrikaans history. With this, we also wanted to showcase local creativity and encourage the integration of in- and outdoors.”
A dreamy garden lounge allows visitors to appreciate the view of the lush gardens and tranquil pool from the comfort of an overstuffed armchair. In winter, a cosy fireplace turns the lounge into one of the most sought after places to enjoy a latte and the hotel’s famous cheesecake. In the gardens, white wrought iron furniture, a water feature and shady vines provide a restful ambience in summer.
General manager Elanie Fourie, who has been at the helm of Oude Werf Hotel for over nine years, says the future of this iconic property has never looked brighter. “We are excited to share the next phase of Oude Werf’s history with both Stellenbosch locals and international visitors. We have been so graciously supported through this time of change and invite everyone to celebrate the future with us. Whether it’s cheese cake and bubbly on the stoep or a mini-getaway in everyone’s favourite Winelands town, Oude Werf is ready to welcome you!”