The Royal Hotel

The Royal Hotel in Riebeek Kasteel

The Royal Hotel often offer great specials for
CapeTownMagazine.com readers.
Ask about these specials when booking.
 
+27 (0)22 - 448 1378
33 Main Street | Riebeek Kasteel
www.royalinriebeek.com
info@royalinriebeek.com
The Royal Hotel

The Royal Hotel in Riebeek Kasteel

Home to the longest stoep south of the Limpopo

“I’ve lived a bit of a wild life,” says Robert Brendel over a lunch of fisherman’s soup and springbok tartar, the afternoon sun highlighting his blonde hair. We’re sitting on the back terrace of The Royal Hotel in Riebeek Kasteel, a  charming town settled squarely in the heart of South Africa’s olive country (roughly one hour from Cape Town).

White ducks waddle around the restaurant, tremendous views framed by  the Kasteelberg Mountains cascade in the distance - on the perimeter a rippling dam leads into plump orchards - and rolling green lawns sprawl out in the foreground. Just off from where we’re sitting is the swimming pool, an appetising body of water elevated on a wooden deck with surrounding white deck chairs that no doubt boast the best vantage point. Underneath, waits an outside bar, with all the ‘fixings and mixings’ for cocktail hour.

Robert and his wife, Carminda, bought the rambling property in 2004, after meeting and falling in love in Spain, where they were both working. 

“…wives, girlfriends, clubs, fast cars. They made a documentary about my life; cameras followed me around for a while,” says Robert, continuing his thread. Not many people earn a place in the limelight, but Robert lived such an interesting and extravagant lifestyle, and was in-turn such a high-profile businessman, that the TV time was inevitable. After that, the Dutch bad boy abandoned a corporate life on the stock exchange in Holland and moved to Spain, where he opened two restaurants and a nightclub and lived for 14 years. Though, he left his wild ways behind him when he met Namibian-born Carminda, and the pair came to South Africa with the intention of buying a wine farm.

“I saw a picture of this hotel, and it looked like I imagined South Africa to be,” recounts Robert of his first view of The Royal. “It was more English and colonial in style, not like the Cape Dutch architecture that characterises most of the wine farms. I fell in love. I saw the hotel in the morning, and signed the papers in the afternoon.”

Gin and gentleman

The Royal Hotel is a colonial treasure, and is as famous for its age – it’s said to be the oldest in the Western Cape, dating back to the 19th century – as it is for its expansive stoep. Stretching along the perimeter of the hotel’s façade, the vast verandah – it’s credited as ‘the longest stoep south of the Limpopo’ - is decorated like a tableau for old world explorers—among the colonial clutter: antique chairs, battered suitcases, a birdcage, a typewriter and green fan palms that add colour and symmetry.

Not just a stage set though, the broad front porch’s handsome chairs are quite comfortable, and are perfect for sinking into with a gin and tonic. Speaking of which, served in a brandy goblet the size of a flower vase, the cocktail cum mosquito repellant is packed with ice, lemon and only the finest gin (the hotel has a premium selection of the spirit, from Beefeaters to Bombay).

Inside the colonial theme continues, bamboo fans spin lazily in the air above dark wood furniture polished to a high shine.

Just off from reception is the bar, a room dressed in the same mahogany as the rest of the hotel with framed daguerreotypes decorating the walls. The black and white images seem a salute to the hotel’s long history, which is said to include appearances by the likes of bygone South African politicians Paul Kruger and Jan Smuts.

The bar is adjacent to the main area of the hotel’s restaurant, which spills out into the back where we’re enjoying lunch.

After Robert recounts future plans for the restaurant, we finish off our meal with an antipasti platter (I know, we’re doing things backwards, but we’re in the country after all). The wooden board is loaded with parma ham, Riebeek Valley olives, slow roasted tomatoes, and cheeses. Once every last crumb has been siphoned up, we’re led to our room, which is on the edge of the garden.

The décor is simple and elegant. A long white bed fills the space, high white ceilings and deep carpeting complete the effect, and the overall impression is one of relaxation.

All of the usual facilities and amenities are taken care of, from the heated towel railing in the en-suite bathroom to the well-stocked minibar.

Olive country

Once settled in, we go for a walk around town.  Outside we spot Robert heading off on his Harley, with a roar and a wave the charismatic owner disappears down the road.

Riebeek Kasteel is home to a mix of people, including a large community of artists. Over the years the picturesque surroundings have attracted many painters, and a short walk confirms the creative spirit of the town:we spot bric-a-brac shops with hand-painted signs and craftworks on sale, bespoke back garden sculptures, and bohemian locals who decorate the streets.

Aside from its surpising cultural character, the village is also the epitome of country leisure. Famed for both olives and wine, the Riebeek Valley hubs hosts festivals throughout the year - the biggest are the MedFest in in March, the Olive Festival in May, and the Shiraz and Art Weekend in October – and from its stronghold in the heart of town, the Royal Hotel is the perfect outpost from which to enjoy them all.

The next day, after a buffet breakfast on the stoep, we pack our bags; and like good colonial explorers, we’re off to discover something else.

By Malu Lambert

---

Read more about eating at the Royal Hotel's restaurant in Riebeek Kasteel.

---

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle and check out our Pinterest boards for updates.

Cape Town Events Calendar
April 2014
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

Blood Brothers ActorsBlood Brothers at The Fugard Theatre

The local version of Willy Russell’s critically acclaimed West End production ...

Braai food at Backyard Grill Sea PointDinner Special at The Backyard Grill ...

Get two courses for R100 at this laidback Cape Town braai spot

Half Price Thursday Tapas HQHalf Price Tapas at HQ Restaurant

The legendary meaty eatery broadens its offerings with discounted delights ...

Startup Grind 01Startup Grind Cape Town

Starting your own business? Get some insider tips and motivation from ...

Stardust new venueDinner Theatre at Stardust Restaurant

The pre-Friday theatrical dining experience that will make you feel like your ...

Margaret Bourke-White Dawn of ApartheidFamed Life Magazine Photographer’s ...

See Margaret Bourke-White’s rare, striking imagery of life in South Africa at ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

Take a gander at local creations along this Cape Town township’s first ...

Air Supply concert Cape TownAir Supply Concert in Cape Town

‘Making Love Out of Nothing at All’ singers set to make magic for one night ...

Colours of Change Oom JanColours of Change Art Exhibition at ...

Head up the West Coast for a fascinating exhibit featuring work by San artists ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

Corporates become commandos in this adrenaline-inducing, morale-boosting laser ...

Joe Barber 6 LifeJoe Barber is Back

Prepare for a laugh-a-minute show that delves into the heart and soul of Cape ...

Andiamo Restaurant in the Cape Quarter Cape TownLive Music Thursdays at Andiamo

Kiss the workday blues goodbye with good food and great tunes at the magical ...

Quad Biking back safari Aquila Game ParkQuad Bike Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Get up close and personal with South Africa’s animal kingdom on an ...

Forex The Foreign Exchange Cape Town ObservatoryBeer Pong Night at The Foreign Exchange ...

Give this fun-filled drinking game a go every Thursday night in Observatory

Welcome to City Bowl MarketCity Bowl Thursday Night Market in Hope ...

Pop in to this quaint community market for a post-work meet and eat

Nelson Mandela 27 for Freedom half marathonNelson Mandela Legacy Exhibition

Cape Town pays tribute to Tata Madiba

The Galileo Open Air Theatre V&A WaterfrontThe Galileo Open Air Cinema at the V&A ...

Get your weekly dose of classic movies at these summertime outdoor screenings

Kids Bday Party at Two Oceans AquariumKids Parties at the Two Oceans Aquarium

Birthdays are better down where it’s wetter, take it from us!

Richard's Bistro supper and stage KaapstadRichard’s Supper Stage “Kaapse ...

Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

Thursday Night Live Music at Jackal & Hide BarThursday Night Live Music Sessions at ...

It’s all about good grub and great tunes at this Cape Town hotspot’s FREE ...

Winelands Tea at La MotteWinelands Tea at Pierneef à La Motte

Enjoy an old-Cape high tea at La Motte wine estate

Wine and cheese platter from Peter FalkeSundowners at Peter Falke Wine Farm in ...

Toast dusk with fine wine and gorgeous cheese platters

Romantic Date Night & Movie at Twelve Apostles HotelDinner and a Movie Experience at The ...

Lights, camera and a three-course meal at one of Cape Town’s favourite fine ...

Vegetarian pizza from Festa WellingtonPizza Special at Festa Restaurant

Take a bite out of this delicious deal in Wellington every Thursday night

Lunch at Beyerskloof wine farm restaurantBeyerskloof Winery Pinotage Experience ...

Taste your way through the fine food and wine made from South Africa’s ...

James Bond Gun Fun After Hours Package007 Thursdays at Gun Fun

Get your kicks shooting the same guns as James Bond. For real.

Hugo cocktail for happy hour at Rick'sHappy Hour Restaurant Special at ...

Sip discounted sundowners, sangria and more atop one of Cape Town’s most ...

Pool deck at the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & SpaHalf-price Sushi Special at African ...

Get 50% off this Century City restaurant’s sashimi, salmon roses and more ...

Beer Garden at the Waterfront Market Cape TownV&A Market on the Wharf

Treat yourself to a truly unique food experience at the Waterfront’s gourmet ...

Oriscolls City Centre pub Cape TownAll-week, Double-whammy Happy Hour at ...

Drop kick the stress of the workweek with not one but two hours of discounted ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips