What springs to mind when you think of Cape Town? Table Mountain, succulent red meat, beautiful landscapes and world-class wine. Before visiting this phenomenal city, these were the things I automatically associated with Cape Town. The wine was one thing I was particularly excited about, especially after discovering a huge love for red wine in the past year. During my recent trip to Cape Town I enjoyed a 2-night stay at The Steenberg Hotel which is part of the Steenberg Wine Estate. Compared to the much larger neighbouring wine region of Stellenboch, Constantia is a small but mighty wine hub that is the proud home of Steenberg. Based 15km south of the city in the region of Constantia, The Steenberg Estate was founded in 1682 and is the oldest vineyard in Cape Town.
With a wine bar, bistro, golf course, restaurant, spa and 5* luxury accommodation, The Steenberg Wine Estate attracts tourists and locals in their droves and whether you’re visiting for a week or just afternoon, you cannot fail to fall in love with charm of Steenberg. Here are a few of the things I particularly loved during my stay…
Wine Tasting at Steenberg
Steenberg Farm was our first stop after our Qatar Airways business class flight from London to Cape Town. After a warm welcome from staff at the main house of the hotel, the first activity on our list was a wine tasting session – naturally! The session was held in a spectacular private dining room within Bistro Sixteen82 and overlooking the wine bar.
The tasting was lead by Steenberg General Manager John Loubser, who has an in-depth knowledge of all of Steenberg’s wines and an unmistakable passion for the product. We were guided through a tasting of 4 Steenberg’s most popular wines which all came perfectly paired with an entree from Bistro Sixteen82 downstairs.
The selection of wines included a delicious Semillon Blanc (my favourite) and a super silky Merlot. I was fascinated by everything that John had to say and furiously scribbled down lots of notes to I could remember all of the facts and food pairing advice he gave us. Private wine tastings can be arranged for guests or day visitors and are available upon request.
After our wine tasting we were invited to sample yet more Steenberg wines over lunch downstairs in Bistro Sixteen82. The beautifully designed bistro has been listed as 1 of 20 of the World’s Best Winery Restaurants by Wine Access magazine. It has also received local recognition in Fleur du Cap’s Top 100 Places, Eat in Cape Town and EAT OUT’s Best Bistros list.
It was a beautifully sunny lunchtime when we sat down for lunch at Bistro Sixteen82 and the restaurant was buzzing with guests and visitors enjoying a leisurely Saturday lunch. I opted for one of the daily specials which was tuna steak with Asian greens. The tuna was cooked to perfection and the Asian greens were drizzled in the most wonderful Asian dressing that complimented the entire dish. I enjoyed the lunch with another glass of the incredible Steenberg semillon blanc which I tried during the tasting.
Perfect For: Long lunches, wine tastings or for sitting in the sun with friends and sampling the many Steenberg wines on offer. Be sure to check out the specials board and feel free to ask for menu recommendations from friendly waiters.
The Steenberg Hotel
The Steenberg Hotel sits in the heart of the Steenberg valley and is sheltered by a majestic mountainous backdrop. Rustic luxury meets rural charm in this gorgeous five star accommodation that is an intrinsic part of the entire Steenberg estate. I absolutely love that the hotel is surrounded by working vineyards and after my 2-night stay at the Steenberg Hotel I felt as if I had received a real wine education.
In the centre of the main house is the cosy and inviting reception. With dark woods, ornaments and characterful rugs, it feels more like a beautiful home than a hotel. Guest rooms are based either side of the reception in the main house and in surrounding 1-storey annexes. My spacious suite was located in one of the annexes close to the reception and included a reception area, large lounge area with a sumptuous sofa and an open-plan bedroom and bathroom space.
The décor had lots of woods and furnishings of the highest quality. The central bathtub was a luxurious feature which I couldn’t wait to dive in to and fill with bubbles at the end of my day.
My suite also had a semi-private patio with sun loungers overlooking the vividly green golf course and mountains that stood tall behind it. The tranquil pool is tucked away in a corner of the annexes, which I managed to make it into once for some pre-breakfast morning lengths.
Perfect For: Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city and spending a few days immersing yourself in Cape Town’s famous wine region. The hotel is ideal for those wanting to stay on the outskirts of the city. Top Tip: It takes about 35 minutes to drive into the centre of Cape Town from The Steenberg estate so guests would either need to hire a tour guide or a car to get around.
Catharina’s is known by locals as one of the best restaurants in Cape Town and just so happens to be part of the Steenberg Estate. The restaurant is based within the grounds of the hotel, which means guests can conveniently enjoy fine dining on their doorstep. I got to eat at Catharina’s on the second night of my stay and I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the produce.
After kicking off with a signature glass of Steenberg ‘bubbly’, I enjoyed a classic tomato, pesto and mozzarella medley starter followed by the chargrilled beef-fillet. The beef fillet came with a potato and cheese croquette, asparagus, sauté shimeji mushrooms and foie gras jus. Not being a fan of foie gras, I asked to swap the jus to a peppercorn sauce, which the waiter was only too happy to do. The fillet was succulent and tender and was the perfect portion size.
Perfect For: Romantic dinners, special occasions or an intimate family dinner.
Steenberg Wine Estate has so much to offer for both tourists and locals and in my opinion, it is a huge asset to the region of Constantia. If you’re looking for central Cape Town accommodation, the Steenberg Hotel isn’t what you are looking for. But if you are in search of relaxed and rustic luxury nestled away on the edge of Cape Town, this is just the ticket.
Planning a trip to Cape Town? Check out my Top 10 Things to Do in Cape Town
What did you think of my Steenberg Hotel review? Are you planning a visit there or have you experienced the hotel recently too? Let me know your thoughts and experiences by commenting on the box below! Thank you x
Rooms at The Steenberg Hotel start from ZAR2650 (approx £150) per room per night on a bed and breakfast basis. More details are available at www.steenbergfarm.com
How to Get There
I flew with Qatar Airways, which flies daily from London Heathrow to Cape Town via Doha. Roundtrip prices start from £747 economy and £3122 Business Class. Book via 0333 320 2454 or visit www.qatarairways.com.
My favourite city as it’s where I call home (for now, hahah)! Bistro Sixteen is such a great restaurant to dine at. I love their desserts :). Wow, I’ve never seen the rooms before, so it was lovely to read your review. Happy you enjoyed Cape Town and all that wine!
Celeste | Cape Town Vacationer says
Great review of wine tasting in Constantia and Steenberg!
Head Elsewhere says
Looks like you had an amazing trip! I especially loved your photos and decor from Bistro Sixteen82 and Catharina’s Bistro. Thanks for sharing, hope I can make it to Cape Town soon!
Very interesting, I’ve been to Stellenbosch but never to Steenberg. I love the Dutch style architecture and the fact that it’s right in the middle of the vineyards
Suze | LuxuryColumnist