Majeka House in Stellenbosch is buzzing with new ideas and fresh energy with the return of head chef Tanja Kruger from a cooking spree in Paris and the arrival of Josephine Gutentoft as Makaron’s new restaurant manager and sommelier.

The hotel has just opened three sophisticated Junior Garden Suites, decorated by Etienne Hanekom, and launched a trio of exciting, value-added accommodation packages for the season ahead.

Makaron’s sophisticated interiors are visually stimulating yet relaxed, creating the perfect setting for newly appointed full-time sommelier and restaurant manager, Josephine Gutentoft, who comes to Majeka House from Grande Roche in Paarl.

Says Josephine: “What I enjoy most about my job is the interaction with guests and being visible on the floor during service, supporting my staff.” She plans to put her stamp on the wine list, increasing and refining the current offering while working closely with wines of Stellenbosch origin. “In my experience, tourists want to try wines that are as local as possible, while our local clientele tend to enjoy trying wines from further afield – even from other countries,” she says.

Chef Tanja Kruger, who heads up the hotel’s kitchen and oversees the menus in Makaron and the tapas-style menu in M Bar, is excited about the opportunity to work closely with an experienced sommelier like Josephine.

Fresh from a month-long stint working under highly respected chef Alain Passard at L’Arpege in Paris, Tanja is brimming with enthusiasm for everything that she learnt, experienced and tasted while in France. From the flavours du jour – geranium and verbena, for example – to Passard’s enormous respect for the quality and provenance of each ingredient that comes into his kitchen, the Michelin-starred chef’s emphasis on lightness and freshness is already being weaved into Tanja’s new menu plans. “This summer, I am going to be playing around a lot more with raw veggies, fruits and flowers inspired by my time in France. On the current menu, the vegetable sushi and sashimi dish is my first expression of a lighter, simpler style of preparation.”

Complementing Makaron restaurant is M Bar, a lounge-style bar with the decadent ambience of a Parisian salon. Majeka’s owners, Lloyd van der Merwe and Karine Dequeker-Van der Merwe, have created an inviting space where guests can relax before or after dinner or even during the day when a drink or light meal is in order. M Bar’s enticing menu of “floating food”, as Tanja calls it, is ideal for sharing and for winter includes warm salads, risottos, cheese or charcuterie plates, a pork pot pie and Majeka’s decadent mini burger, made famous at this year’s Taste of Cape Town.

The hotel’s three new Junior Garden Suites are privately situated, overlooking a sunny garden and pool area for the exclusive use of guests in these rooms.

Designer Etienne Hanekom, responsible for transforming many of the interiors of Majeka House last year (including Makaron and the sleek Mountain View suites) has created warm, dramatic interiors with the use of bold colours and wonderful textures including unpolished granite on the floors and rich leather sofas with button detailing. “The colour palette for each room grew from three different images transformed into eye-catching wallpaper to create a focal point,” comments Etienne.

Majeka House has just released a trio of exciting accommodation packages for the upcoming season, valid from October 2012 to April 2013. Pampering Night Away includes one night’s accommodation for two in a Premier Room with breakfast, a relaxing Crystal Himalayan salt bed treatment for two in the Spa, and a Majeka cocktail at M bar followed by a three-course dinner at Makaron including wine pairings – all for R1820.00 per person sharing.

Spa-ing and Dining includes three night’s accommodation for two in a Premier Room with breakfast, three specific Spa treatments per person (Swedish Massage, Priori facial and Crystal Himalayan salt bed treatment), a Majeka cocktail at M bar followed by a three-course dinner at Makaron including wine pairings, R800 voucher for dining out in Stellenbosch, and a romantic in-room tapas dinner, DVD and board games – for R5190 per person sharing.

In the Winelands includes two night’s accommodation for two in a Premier Room with breakfast, a Crystal Himalayan salt bed treatment for two in the Spa, three- course dinner at Makaron including wine pairings, a romantic in-room tapas dinner, DVD and board games, a wine and chocolate tasting at Waterford, and a picnic for two at Warwick Wine Estate – all for R3280 per person sharing.

Note that special rates for additional nights or room upgrades have been worked out for each of these packages. Terms and conditions apply and all offers are always subject to availability.

For accommodation and table reservations or for further information call Majeka House and Makaron Restaurant on (27) (21) 880 1549; email [email protected]; or visit Visit the website for latest seasonal promotions.