Live ‘la dolce vita’ at Fraai Uitzicht 1798

The building that houses the restaurant and cellar, among others, with the superb accommodation tucked away to its left.

The Italians call it la dolce vita, the good life! But a good life is all about memorable experiences. The more, the better! For example, a superb accommodation experience is much more than the magnificent room you stay in and a fine dining experience much more that the multi-awarded restaurant where you eat. It’s the sum total of each and every experience.

 

We were recently privileged to have had such an experience where the finest accommodation, food and wine came together in beautiful and relaxing surroundings and with warm, friendly and hospitable people. It was at Fraai Uitzicht 1798 in the Klaas Voogds Valley at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains between Robertson and Ashton.

 

It is said that the Old Cape Dutch thatched main house and old stable on this historic wine and guest farm were built in 1798, which makes this the oldest producing wine farm in the area. For nearly two hundred years the farm was known as “Boplaas”.  But, as there are so many farms named “Boplaas” in South Africa, it was renamed Fraai Uitzicht 1798. 

 

 

ABOVE: Two of the lovely cottages at Fraai Uitzicht with the pool in the foreground.

 

Fraai Uitzicht 1798, with its award-winning restaurant, certainly lives up to its name, which simply means “beautiful view”. This gem of a retreat lies in the heart of the Robertson Valley on the scenic Route 62 and offers a tranquil retreat, balm for the soul, the ideal place to spend a relaxing, comfortable and culinary few days.

 

Stylishly appointed guest cottages and suites provide superior accommodation, overlooking the Robertson Wine Valley, Sonderend Mountains, fruit orchards and vineyards – some of them right outside your door. The accommodation is divided into cottages, vintage cottages, superior garden suites and garden suites.

The Cape Dutch style cottages, situated by the pool, feature open reed ceilings, modern interiors and French doors opening onto the verandas, and cottages situated beside the historic wine cellar keep the original charm of the 1800’s, with wooden ceilings and natural colours. 

 

The garden cottages (or suites) are named  after wine varieties - Chardonnay, Riesling and Colombar – and according to Karl very popular because they offer various options to suit individual budgets. They are spacious and also offer a lounge and seating area, a large bathroom, an extra shower room and a private outside area.

 

 

ABOVE: This is the style and luxury that await you at Fraai Uitzicht 1798 ...

 

We stayed in Chardonnay, which I thought was very appropriate as a well-made chardonnay wine gives you elegance, tantalises your taste buds and leaves you with a warm feeling of joy and appreciation afterwards ... and then regret because you know all good things come to an end! But one can always get more, of course!

 

One of the many plus points of the room – with or without TV, dressing gowns and other luxuries – is its bathroom with its open shower, large oval bath and underfloor lighting which creates a romantic atmosphere after dark.

 

The two vintage cottages date back to 1798 and can sleep up to four people. They are located in the historical building of the wine cellar. They consist of a lounge and two sleeping areas with a queen size bed in one and a king size in the other, and offer beautiful views of the vineyards.

 

Modern conveniences such as open fireplaces, CD-music stations and TV sets may be found, while hand-embroidered linen adorns queen-sized beds and original, handpicked artwork indicates personal attention to each unit. The individually appointed suites, each with a private outside entrance, offer spacious bedrooms and modern en-suite facilities.

 

 

ABOVE: ... or this ...

 

Facilities include minibar, fresh fruit, tea and coffee facilities, hairdryer, wireless lan and airconditioning with heating (except for the Vintage Cottage), and the rooms are serviced twice a day.

 

“The whole idea with the accommodation here was to create a unique experience,” explains Karl Uwe, the very friendly former German investment banker who now owns and runs Fraai Uitzicht with his energetic and dynamic wife, Sandra, also a former investment banker. “We want our guests to feel that they’re on holiday. Each of our nine units is unique and we aim to create an experience that will make people want to return.”

 

Incidentally, the open hand one sees everywhere is symbolic of the handcrafted wines produced in the historic wine cellar and, as far as we’re concerned, also of the wonderful food and accommodation … and the hands-on approach by both Karl and Sandra Uwe, the owners, and their staff.

 

The prominent life and destiny lines in the hand represent the gentle lifestyle you will experience during your stay at Fraai Uitzicht 1798, according to the brochure, and it certainly is no empty promise.

 

 

ABOVE: ... or this!

 

Everything combines to make the Fraai Uitzicht experience unique, from the rooms and cottages to the cellar and restaurant, from the green lawns and cactus garden to the water feature and herb garden, and from the enticing pool to the numerous interesting nooks and crannies of the garden. And because it is so centrally located, all towns in the Robertson Wine valley – Robertson, McGregor, Bonnievale and Ashton -  are within about half an hour’s drive, even Montagu just on the other side of the ridge from Ashton.

 

And whether you just need a break from the rate race and recharge your batteries or you are a bit of an adrenalin junkie and often need to be on the go, you’ll find it all here. Be sure to take your hiking boots and mountain bike along.

 

Accommodation rates vary from R550 per person sharing to R950 per person sharing, breakfast included.

 

Restaurant

 

Apart from the superb accommodation, Fraai Uitzicht 1798 also offers the delights of attentive hosts (while Sandra does her magic in the kitchen, Karl swops his winemaker’s hat for that of host), a friendly and cosy ambience and a fine dining experience in its award-winning restaurant. The menu portraits country style cuisine offering seasonal dishes made from fresh vegetables and just-picked herbs from the garden, ensuring a culinary delight. Exquisite desserts and the best wines of the Robertson Valley complement a memorable meal.

ABOVE: Where better to have a superb meal than here at the restaurant, with its stunning views of the vineyards and the valley, or just to relax and chill with a bottle of Fraai Uitzicht wine!

The exquisite meal we had one evening started with Ravioli (filled with ricotta and lemon thyme and served with freshly grated parmesan) for Sharon and Grilled Steak Tartare (only-on-the-base seared beef fillet topped with a salsa of tomato, fresh and roasted coriander, basil, spring onions, pine nuts, soy, olive oil and maple syrup) for me, mine served with a glass of Fraai Uitzicht’s excellent 2007 Merlot. 

Our main meal consisted of Karoo lamb (parmesan crusted lamb loin chops on ratatouille vegetables and rosemary potatoes) for my lady and one of Sandra’s specialities, Vanilla Prawn & Pasta (grilled prawns marinated in vanilla butter and secret spices on Barilla’s creamed bavette pasta), for me, and a glass of Arendsig Chardonnay 2012 as suggested by Sandra.

 

LEFT: Sandra's Vanilla Prawn & Pasta! It looks brilliant, it tastes even better!

 

We finished off this feast for the senses with Fruit Panna Cotta (the classic Italian dessert with a fruity twist) for my princess and Dream of Africa (freshly baked fondant of Belgian chocolate served with vanilla yoghurt cream and Fraai Uitzicht 1798 merlot syrup) for yours truly. And to top it all, I had it with a glass of Weltevrede Oupa se Wyn.

 

Believe me, words fail me when it comes to describing the food. You simply have to go and experience it yourself. That means the accommodation AND the food.

 

Highly recommended and one of Fraai Uitzicht 1798’s most indulgent experiences is “The Fine Wine and Dine Menu”, a six-course degustation menu with specially selected Fraai Uitzicht 1798 wines to accompany each course.

 

A three-course meal, excluding wine, will cost you about R250 per person.

 

Incidentally, Karl, Sandra and the kids visit Germany in the SA winter and the European summer, “but then we miss Fraai Uitzicht and the valley terribly and return!” And that’s exactly how one feels after having been to Fraai Uitzicht 1798 once; you miss it terribly and want to return! And who can blame you.

 

For more information or to book, please call 023 626 6156 or send  an email to info@fraaiuitzicht.com. You can also visit www.fraaiuitzicht.com.

 

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