Michael-John recently went on holiday to Stellenbosch and had a wonderful and relaxing time at the luxurious five-star Majeka House. Make sure to book a weekend away at Stellenbosch.
I'd like to start off by saying that I'm not crazy about art, possibly because I'm not any good at it. I can admire good art, but don't ask me to draw a vase of flowers.
I also feel tremendously out of my depth in my art appreciation, not knowing what makes a Turner better than any other painting of British landscape. And so because of these artistic handicaps I have often just blended into the crowded gallery umming when others umm and ahhing when others ahh.
With these obvious problems to overcome I decided to spend two days in Stellenbosch, relaxing, unwinding and most importantly becoming more appreciative of the artistic world.
My home for the two days was the luxurious five star Majeka House. If there was ever going to be a more perfect base from which to explore Stellenbosch's artistic scene, this was going to be it. Everything in the hotel is picture perfect, from the cool white linen on the bed, to the clear blue pool, to the warm and inviting bar and informal dining room. The decor of the hotel was clearly very carefully chosen and is very interesting and inviting.
Upon arriving at the hotel I was warmly greeted and immediately offered some iced tea. I was shown to my luxurious room, which had a quaint balcony overlooking the gardens and trees. After getting settled in I headed down to the gym for a quick workout before doing a few lengths in the hotel swimming pool.
The first evening I decided to have dinner in at the hotel. Because the main restaurant wasn't open for that week, I ate in the smaller bar/informal dining room. The decor in the room was just fantastic with warm greens, wonderful hanging lights, wooden model ships and more. After I had placed my order the waiter brought a drink and snacks. If you ever visit Majeka House make sure to try their olives. I don't know where they get them from, but my word.
The next morning I awoke for the full spread breakfast. There are a huge number of options from the buffet tables as well as from the hot menu. After a wonderful breakfast I headed out to browse Stellenbosch and to visit some of its art galleries.
I drove straight to Church Street, because although Dorp Street is the most famous in Stellenbosch, Church Street is one of the most populous in terms of art galleries and boutique restaurants. My first stop was at Art on Stellenbosch. Here a set of sculptures and paintings were on display from various artists. Some of my favourite pieces were the sculptures by Louis Chanu. After one or two wrong turns in the gallery I somehow managed to walk up the wrong staircase and nearly ended up in an accountant's office. But apart from that, it was a good welcoming gallery with some interesting pieces.
Just down the road is Quagga Rare Books and Art. I popped in to have a look and there really are a great number of really interesting rare editions. Right opposite Quagga books is the Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary Gallery (SMAC). An exhibition by Trevor Coleman, known for his bright colours, called 'Abstraction' was on display and featured work from 1960-1977.
Browsing art galleries can make one hungry, and so I decided to head to Basic Bistro for lunch. Basic, as it's known to the locals, is a popular and cosy restaurant on Church Street. They keep the food simple and good and it makes for a perfect lunch stop.
After lunch I headed through to the Stellenbosch University Art Gallery which is located in an old Lutheran Church. The setting is unique and it is fitting that such engaging and beautiful artworks find their home in a charming old church. Outside there's a wonderful art installation piece, with a sculpture of a lady holding an umbrella on a bench welcoming you to come and sit with her and rest in the shade.
After my full day of exploring, I decided to meet up with a friend for dinner. For a simple outdoor dining experience we met up at Gino's on Dorp Street. If you're looking for a simple Italian restaurant with very reasonable prices and a nice al fresco dining area then it's a great option.
The next morning I got up and enjoyed another wonderful breakfast at Majeka House before setting out back on the road again. I had a wonderful two nights in this beautiful five star establishment, and truthfully could easily have stayed another two nights if time allowed. As for the art in Stellenbosch, there's plenty to do and see and enjoy and I somewhat surprised myself at being able to correctly judge the right times to ooh and aah. If like me you're a bit apprehensive about your art tastes, but wanting to see what South Africa has to offer, then Stellenbosch makes for a great day out.
To find out more about Majeka House and to book a weekend away in Stellenbosch, click here.