I would like to start this article off by stating that it was not our intention to torture the owners and staff of this lovely luxury getaway spot – Chenel and I honestly thought that it would be a good idea to go away on a relaxing two-day getaway together… and to bring her 10-month old baby, my 7-year old daughter and 3-year old son.
At least we put the accommodation offerings to the ultimate tests, so you don’t have to… and I am pretty sure that this is not exactly what you expected – but let’s get into it anyway.
For those of you who do not know who Chenel is, she is the mamma bear and professional photographer behind Life With James and Jaxon. She is an Instagram QUEEN and will be hosting my workshop with me in August (which is kind of what we were supposed to plan on our little weekend away, I don’t think it came up once). We have known each other for quite a while, we send each other daily voice notes and have a similar kind of outlook on life in general. I suppose it just makes sense for us to be friends. I met Chenel at her place so that we could embark on the +/- 2 hour journey to Stanford and as I got out of my car I realized… we have never actually met each other before. Awkward.
Anyway, as if that’s not enough – we were dragging her 10-month old baby and my two kids with us. The trip there was easier than we expected, and not as awkward as you’d think! The kids mostly got along and Mikayla instantly took to being the carer of the two little ones. The downside? Both my kids now want a baby brother or sister. NOT HAPPENING.
After getting lost – as is a standard occurrence in my life – we finally made it to Blue Gum Country Estate, and it was beautiful.
An undercover blonde, red-head, a baby and two toddlers walk into a guesthouse…
Anton, who owns Blue Gum Country Estate with his lovely wife Tarryn, welcomed us and got us checked in. He is honestly the friendliest, most down-to-earth host and went out of his way to get us settled. I think that is always a pro when visiting a family owned guesthouse – it feels like a home away from home.
We were blown away by our rooms. The kids and I had the absolute pleasure of staying in the Lion room which is one of their honeymoon suites. We had an amazing king-sized bed that we could comfortably share with heated sheets, a private veranda with a breathtaking view of the vineyards and mountain range, a fireplace, a massive bath with complimentary toiletries, tv, bar fridge, tea/coffee station and more.
We arrived just in time for afternoon tea, which was a highlight for the kids. Freshly made scones, chocolate brownies with a spread of jams and fresh cream awaited us in the sunlit tea room. It was peaceful and tranquil… for about 5-minutes until my kids spotted the jungle gym. Que tantrums, moaning, whining… we ate our scones and set off to explore. The jungle gym is lovely and has a sandpit and trampoline. I will be very honest and say that it does need a bit of maintenance – there were some broken pieces here in there that made the helicopter mom in me go through a brief state of panic… but I do have a tendency to overreact and might be a bit of a drama queen at times.
It got really cold and we had to abandon playtime. We made a fire in our room and Chenel and I chatted while the kids watched a movie. I absolutely love that they have a whole library of DVD’s that are complimentary for their guests, there is so much to choose from – as well as popcorn, milkshakes and other treats. Due to breastfeeding demands and kid’s bedtimes, we asked if we could have our dinner brought to our room instead of having it at the on-site restaurant. It was AMAZING.
The next day we enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet and set off to explore the grounds properly, we took Chenel’s Totem Teepee and the kids had some great playtime in it against a backdrop of mooing cows. We splashed in muddy puddles, took some photo’s and generally just had fun. What I absolutely love about the estate is that every corner you turn is breathtakingly beautiful. The gardens feel like something out of a fairytale, it was absolutely magical. It is wonderful how it is this almost raw countryside adventure with the most luxurious bedrooms and dining facilities – a balance that should not be as easy as they make it look! We had lunch in our rooms so that the babies could have a nap. You hardly have to leave the comfort of the estate, there is more than enough to keep you entertained – tennis courts, bicycles, a pool… you name it.
Anyway, it was a challenge and a half navigating between Chenel and Jaxon’s breastfeeding times, nap times and my kids’ nap times… but somehow we kept our sanity. I can only think that it is the tranquil environment that kept us sane.
Until we left the tranquil environment on the evening of the second day and visited one of my favorite restaurants, The Manor House, for supper the next day. It was like a reality bomb exploded all over our faces. My kids were impossible, Jaxon kept trying to crawl into the fire and generally we just kind of wanted to be tranquilized… but we survived.
All-in-all, we had an amazing time and I actually cannot wait to go again.
- The owners and staff are AMAZING! I cannot fault them on a single thing. They were so patient, kind and helpful… even after the 3rd time of me asking them to bring more wood and coffee to our room.
- It is beautiful… really, really beautiful
- I think it is excellent value for money, especially with the current specials they have going on (see end of article)
- There is something for everyone… whether you are going away as a family, heading for a romantic weekend, or two moms crazy enough to take their kids on a holiday break – they have something for everyone.
- The food is out of this world delicious
- The rooms are warm and cosy, perfect for winter getaways
- Everything you would want to do in Stanford is a few minutes away
- There is more than enough entertainment for the kids
- I found that breakfast and dinner started a little late (8:30am and 7:30pm), but purely because my family are early risers and breakfast is the first thing we see to in the morning. We are also used to eating dinner earlier as the kids are supposed to go to bed at 8pm
- The jungle gym needs a little fixer upper
- It depresses me that I cannot live there permanently…
“The 13 rooms at Blue Gum Estate are all different, as you would expect in a private home. Some are more spacious, others more family friendly, but they all have a warm domestic feeling with an emphasis on quality and comfort. Several of the rooms have open fireplaces, which we are more than happy to light for you in the winter.
All our rooms are set amongst an olive grove, vineyards, rolling lawns and extensive gardens with access to the hotel’s swimming pool and tennis court. There is also a scenic Mountain trail available for use by hotel guests. We also have an extensive library with board games and boule sets as well as a library of DVD’s.”
Did you enjoy following our journey? We had such a blast travelling together, we are actually thinking of doing it again… what do you think?