Of all the Cape wine land farms, Babylonstoren is my favourite.
There are so many activities to choose from on the farm like a walk through the fruit & vegetable garden, which was inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town. One has to pop into the Farm Shop before leaving to buy some freshly baked bread, stock up on delicious Blood oranges (when in season) and some Greek style strained yoghurt & mozzarella.
Aside from offering delicious food at either Babel or the Greenhouse, Babylonstoren also has one of the most fabulous spas around, simply called The Garden Spa. Like everything else at Babylonstoren, the Garden Spa is inextricably linked to the garden and the ever-changing seasons and is set within a forest of bamboo with tranquil greenery and a myriad leiwater channels to set the tone. The space is housed in a pavilion constructed of bamboo and includes a hammam, chill room, hot spa and gym.
I did a post on it HERE a while back. Be sure to try the blissful, 60 minute QMS Hydration Treatment where a 30 minute anti-ageing facial is combined with a 30 minute back, neck & shoulder massage – sheer bliss I tell you!
But I digress. My reason for visiting the farm this time around was to check out The Scented Room at The Factory.
The walk to The Factory takes you through grape-laden vineyards, with the scent of lavender filling the air.
On entering The Factory, you realize very quickly this is no ordinary factory – it’s a fragrance-filled, beautiful concept space with feasts for the eyes wherever you look.
The Scented Room is an aromatic apothecary. It is a magical space filled with vintage pharmacy drawers and an impressive collection of antique glass pharmaceutical bottles that were found on the farm while it was being excavated, created and built.
And while this Scented Room offers the same wonderful olfactory experience of scented soaps, candles and floral oils as it did in its equally beautiful previous home, this dedicated space offers guests a new interactive experience – a chance to truly engage with the garden’s fragrances.
Visitors can make their own bath salts, body scrubs and face masks, under the caring eyes and knowledgeable insights of Babylonstoren-trained assistants who will help them in choosing the correct formula.
Bath soaks are displayed in laboratory beakers, filled with magnesium salt to combat fatigue, mustard to aid with the detoxification process, rooibos tea for its antioxidant properties and ginger for its anti-inflammatory characteristics.
These are enhanced by the addition of rose petals, torn lemon verbena and rosemary leaves, or lime zest.
An essential oil can be added at this stage; depending on what is available, guests may choose to add rose geranium, lavender, lavandin or rosemary essential oils.
The making of these beauty products by hand – in a beautiful room surrounded by natural fragrances – is both meditative and indulgent. And once made, they are beautifully packaged for visitors to take home.
Babylonstoren also makes their own soaps, according to the time-honoured traditions of the specialist artisans in France, and visitors can now book for their soap making workshop HERE.
There are also some beautiful cotton wares for sale in The Scented Room liken throws, duvet covers and the most beautiful cotton pajamas, gowns & shirts.
If you are lucky and you happen to chance upon the Factory during a period when the floral distillery is in operation, you will be surrounded by pure, sweet smells of lavender or rosemary. You’ll witness the process whereby the floral buds are distilled, capturing the steam and condensing it into a liquid which forms the essential oil. There are no harsh machinery noises, no ugly corners, only the scent of essential oils, and the sound of steam being released.
The remains of the flowers are not thrown away but returned to the garden instead to serve as compost for the next floral harvest. There is beauty in everything.