In the Air of luxury

By Lameez Waterfield Time of article published Oct 10, 2011

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I miss the rose garden. I miss the entrancing feathers of the peacocks. I miss sitting on the porch and feeling as though I’m engrossed in the splendour of a setting straight from Italy or the south of France but knowing that this is Africa. I miss the weeping willow tree as it stands content and sways teasingly to the sun as it sets. I miss Janet, Paul, Bertha and encompassing smile of the worker on the estate. I miss Belair Estate for what is and what it stands for.

After a wedding, the honeymoon is the most important part as it signifies the epitome of romance and the dawn of your new life. While there are many idyllic places around the world that could make any bride and groom lose sense of all reality, today’s world is far different that it was five years ago. No longer is it needed to head off to Thailand, the Maldives or even Mauritius – your honeymoon could (and should) be spent in one of the most beautiful places on earth – our country.

So aptly put by my friend who travelled to Mexico for her honeymoon: “I wish it were more Mexican.” It echoes the current state of commercially driven tourist spots around the world. The more popular they become, the more authenticity it loses. I mean our beaches, landscapes and weather competes with the best in the world.

With a week to go before tying the knot, we decided to change our minds about going on honeymoon later and rather to head off into the sunset after the nuptials. We had the option of heading off to Zanzibar or Madagascar but decided to keep it local simply because we felt more comfortable with pumping money back into our own economy. Not the most romantic reason, but a reason based in reality nonetheless.

An internet search brought up Creative Honeymoon Solutions who not only put packages together for places varying from the wine route to game reserves, but everything was done over email within three days – my kind of service. Ross-Lynne, the owner of Creative Honeymoon Solutions, was interested to know about the wedding added personal touches to make it an experience we won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Our choice you may ask? We opted for the Belair Estate in Paarl. Yes, Paarl. Home to a thoroughbred horse stud and home to multiple winner, Occult, the only South African bred horse to win the coveted treble: Republic Day, Durban July and Gold Cup, the Estate is now, which can only be described as one massive lush garden of luxury and quaintness.

Situated next to the Fairview Wine Estate on the Suid Agter Paarl Road, the venue greeted us with a long and drive-way where we were instantaneously transported into a setting from France or Italy. I’m not one for hotels but I am one for grandeur and Belair does just that. There is a great story which I feel you should hear from the owner herself.

Tastefully decorated, our honeymoon luxury suite was situated away from the main guesthouse. Rose petals led us to the front door and Parisian décor done so tastefully and perfectly led us into what would be an unforgettable honeymoon. The two floor suite, boasts a fireplace both downstairs and in the bedroom. Picture a perfect honeymoon room, with four poster bed, plush white carpet and a bathtub overlooking the mountains and that is exactly what we had.

Recollecting the scenery and décor would not do Belair justice, even though it would be enough to be sold on. There are peacocks who roam free, while you have breakfast in the conservatory – at a table decorated in rose fresh roses.

We were there for three nights and I want to go back. I will go back. The morning after we checked in and watched the sunset on the patio amid our own rose garden, we headed to the secluded pool. Hugged by perfectly trimmed hedges, the lounge chairs and umbrellas were a perfect setting to soak in the lunchtime sun and read a magazine. Followed by a picnic overlook the majestic views, with the Paarl monument behind us, we felt as if we were home, with each other and with our surroundings.

There are loads on offer in the area – whether you are into wine tastings, up for a romantic dinner at a top hotel or even taking a trip to Franschoek for the day.

Belair is personal. From its owner Janet, who is there every morning to make our every breakfast wish her command, to the soothing music playing the background while we ate, to Paul the American who is on hand to point out on the map the best Franschoek has to offer. Not to forget the chef, Guiseppe Massolin, who is on hand to cook an authentic Italian feast.

I’m not into hotels, as I’ve said. I’m into experiences and Belair delivers an experience fit for anyone embarking on a new life journey. I’m into moments in life that cannot be replicated, commercialised or monetised. I’m into being with the one I love with the conscience that we too have given back to our beautiful country and have started our life amidst the beauty and splendour that I call my home. -

All that is left, besides making another booking in the next few months is to say: “Paarl? Yes Paarl … who knew?” - IOL

If You Go...

Belair Country House:

Creative Honeymoon Solutions: [email protected]

Fairview Wine Estate:

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