Like getting more than you bargained for? I sure do. The best way to do that is to visit Swellendam.
And because one night in Swellendam is not enough, you will need a place to stay. A Hilltop Country Retreat is a great four star accommodation option that offers a variety of self-catering rooms to choose from. Each room is modern and functional, but put together with artistic flair. Most finishes and furniture were made by local entrepreneurs and artists. We could only stay for one night, because they were fully booked the rest of the time.
Why we got more than we bargained for: 1) VERY spacious rooms I measure “space” by mountain bike. This means that to register as “spacious” there should be enough space to easily store my mountain bike inside the house/room without it being in anyone’s (my wife’s) way. I could store 10 mountain bikes in the main house and she would not have noticed. You usually want to stay somewhere – I could live here.
Our boys were running on the lawn in front of the house, into the house, out of the house – without breaking anything even though it is luxuriously furnished with chandeliers, paintings, other art etc. Big rooms, Big beds, Big tables, big kitchen, BIG braai area. We decided it was too much space for only one family and invited friends (with 2 boys) for a sundowner in the evening. If you are in a travelling group, this is where the party will be.
2) Great Braai Facilities LOTS of firewood and breathtaking view. When you braai here, watching the sun’s setting glow on the mountain you want to put on Toto’s song “Africa” in the background. Bliss. Room 5,6,7 & 8 have indoor fireplaces as well.
3) The Pool Beautiful pool with a floating duck. With the pool located close to all the rooms, it is not a big mission to move from the room to the pool. I did not swim but enjoyed sitting next to the pool and watching the duck. I found it pretty and somewhat hypnotic.
4) View of the mountain It’s hard to miss that big mountain from anywhere in town, but if you are the house on the edge of town, it almost feels like “your” mountain.
5) Tourist Information The staff are well informed and very good at providing info on what to do and where to eat. The lady at reception did not know I was a local and started providing info. I was impressed with the amount and accuracy of the info. A Hilltop has their own town map which they personalise by highlighting what you would like to do. They can even provide you with restaurant menus & Marloth Mountain bike route maps. It’s like your own personal Tourism Info.
6) Friendly staff VERY friendly, energetic staff that were good with our kids as well.
7) Self-Catering option It might take a bit more planning but gives you a lot of freedom regarding what, where and when you eat, which I found almost liberating. The kitchen was well equipped and we enjoyed preparing dinner and breakfast ourselves in our “new home”.
After a recent vacation I had mixed feelings after enjoying the buffet breakfasts. At a buffet I usually eat enough to feed 4 grown men and a donkey and embarrass my wife by taking (at least) two muffins as take-away. This results in me being so stuffed that I struggle to move normal for the next 3 hours. And my boys disappointed me terribly at those buffets – eating only flapjacks.
On this stay we had the option to go eat at a restaurant, make dinner ourselves or order in. A Hilltop can arrange a stocked fridge for breakfast @ R80pp, this includes the following: Bacon, Eggs, Tomato, Toast, Jam, Butter, Juice, Muesli, Yoghurt, Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Milk, Rusks and Fruit. Big plus: A Hilltop takes care of the dishes.
8) Platters/dinner deliveries At reception there was a sign saying “Chef special: Soup & Ciabatta R50, Winter Platter R150”. We ordered the Winter Platter to enjoy with our friends at sundowners. WOW! Country Catering is an outside service provider who can serve anything from platters and lunch packs to being your personal chef for the weekend while you stay at A Hilltop.
Their catering options include: Canapes, Platters, Braai Sides, Private Meals, in-unit private cheffing.
9) Great selection of DVD’s and games to use Our boys woke up Sunday morning just after 6. They came to me and asked if they could go to the DVD shop. Confused I asked what DVD shop they were referring to. At A Hilltop’s reception they have such a wide selection of DVDs and board games to choose from that our boys thought it was a shop. The bookshelves in Room 7 were filled with more than a 100 books to choose from.
If you are looking for 4 star luxury self-catering accommodation, A Hilltop is a perfect choice.
After our recent vacation on the Garden Route (which included seeing Lions, Crocodile, The Big Tree in Tsitsikamma and two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters in Stormsvlei), I asked my boys to choose the highlight of the trip. They concluded that the biggest highlight on the Garden Route trip was the flapjacks at the buffet breakfast. I was hoping for more....... After this break-away to A Hilltop (which included hiking and other highlights) I again asked them for the biggest highlight. They both agreed it was to stay in such a beautiful house and sleep in such a big bed. Their biggest regret was that we only stayed one night. With this I could not agree more.
Here are the reasons I expected our visit to be as good as it was: 1) Location A Hilltop Country Retreat is located within walking distance of some of the best tourist attractions in Swellendam including the Drostdy, Bukkenburg Pottery, Bee things and more. The “and more” includes coffee shops like Ikigai, La Belle Alliance and Old Gaol as well as fine dining restaurants Field&Fork, de Companjie and Drostdy Restaurant.
Marloth Nature Reserve's main gate is located a mere 2.5km from A Hilltop.
We started our stay with a hike of Plaat East in Marloth Nature Reserve with friends. The Marloth Mountain Bike routes pass a mere 100m from A Hilltop.
Even though I have been living in Swellendam my whole life – I only recently found out where A Hilltop was located. This is because it is hidden in a quiet section on the edge of town, while still being within walking distance of the Drostdy, coffee shops and centre of town. This results in a great combination of easy access to activities and – a quiet street.
2) The Bruce-factor This has not been scientifically proven (yet) but when Bruce Geils from atelier is commisioned to take an accommodation’s marketing photos – it is worth a visit. If Bruce takes the photos it says something about the accommodation and the owners/managers. If the owners/managers choose Bruce (atelier) it indicates that they value quality and aesthetics. And if Bruce agrees to do a project, it means that he believes in the value of the venue/project and usually likes working with the owners/manager. Bruce is a positive vibes kind of guy. And who would not like to stay at a place that’s beautiful and run by positive people.
3) TripAdvisor A Hilltop Country Retreat has been recognized with a 2018 Certificate of Excellence from the world's largest travel site - TripAdvisor. This was based on the consistent great reviews they’ve earned. They have a 9.3 review score on Booking.com from 591 reviews!!!
4) Tour de Braai rides with Specialized This is a 6 night luxury cycling tour (with Specialised as one of the main sponsors) costing R22,000 per person. Their final night’s stay in Swellendam was at A Hilltop.
Top things to do in Old Quarter - where On a Hilltop is located
Early bookers discount: 25% off your accommodation at A Hilltop Country Retreat in Swellendam.
- May to September 2018, excluding long weekends - pp sharing, families welcome - direct bookings only, min 2 nights
Contact Lana at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to book your getaway.
available to book for 1 week only.
Reception at A Hilltop - lots of tourism info with wide selection of DVDs, games and books to choose from.
Hiking Plaat East with friends
Where our boys slept