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Room service: d' Ouwe Werf Hotel

Published Oct 17, 2008


Spending the night in an establishment which lays claim to being South Africa's oldest hotel may conjure up images of headless horsemen and spooky hallways, but that's completely the opposite case for the four star d' Ouwe Werf Hotel.

A history lesson in itself, the actual building is steeped in a rich heritage that precedes its reputation. Established in 1802 by the Wium family, the hotel is the oldest and most historic in South Africa. Even the ground on which the hotel is built has a story of its own - there lies the remains of a little church which can be seen beneath the floorboards of the kitchen.

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And herein lies the charm of d' Ouwe Werf. The Georgian-style building, complete with its antique pieces and warm atmosphere makes guests feel that much more welcome. Not to mention the friendly staff who are always willing to go that extra mile with a smile on their faces.

Complete with 32 en-suite bedrooms, priced to meet individual budgets, from competitively-priced Classic suites to the grander Govenors' suits, each room is tastefully styled to reflect the hotel's overall old-world style.

The courtyard opens up to a little heated splash pool, perfect to cool off in during the summer months or refresh the body on colder days. The building itself is divided into different sections, with the original home housing the main hotel, and the outlying buildings accommodating the superior and governors suites.

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Because the inn is situated in the heart of Stellenbosch, there's always something to do, with little nooks and shops to explore. Pop into the local craft store for locally-produced goods, or brunch at a quaint little restaurant in one of the side streets.

Stellenbosch is also the hub of the winelands, so spending the day exploring the outlying wine farms provides the full authentic “Cape Wine experience”.


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The d' Ouwe Werf is located in Church Street, central Stellenbosch.


We had the luxury of staying in the Governors suite. Spacious and stylish, these rooms are one of the newest additions to the hotel. Styled with modern Cape décor, all four suits are named after some of the first governors in the Cape, the Van Riebeeck, the Van der Stel, the Somerset and the Caledon.

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All rooms are are fitted with a bar fridge, which will only be stocked upon request. The governors rooms have spacious walk-in closets and large bathrooms with underfloor heating and heated towel rails.


Attached to the hotel is the 1802 Restaurant. Regarded as one of the culinary landmarks of Stellenbosch, it's a must when visiting the hotel, or even the area. Specialising in a traditional Cape menu with executive chef Liza Engelbrecht at the helm, we were very impressed with the presentation and generous portions. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list which should impress even the most learned of wine connoisseurs.

The bottom line

All rates are inclusive of breakfast and are quoted per room.

- Classic: R1300 per room

- Luxury: R1450 per room

- Superior: R1600 per room

- Governor: R1990 per room

More information

For booking enquiries and in-season rates, visit the website: or email [email protected]

To make a reservation at the 1802 Restaurant email [email protected]

This hotel review was arranged with the help of Manley Communications

Founded in 2000, Manley Communications is a perception management agency that has grown into an energetic powerhouse and is recognised as being a

market specialist in generating exposure for the luxury travel and retail industries.

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