Sterrekopje: A centuries-old sanctuary hidden in a blessed corner of South Africa

Jane Broughton pays a visit to the meticulously wonderful Sterrekopje, a place to stay where words like 'hotel' and 'spa' simply don't seem enough.

Sterrekopje, which takes its name from a nearby peak, is a guests-only retreat, gently cradled by the upper reaches of the Franschhoek valley. It comprises meticulously restored heritage buildings — including the farm’s former cowshed and a wine cellar — all stitched together by courtyards and deep verandahs.

Some are filled with art, others row upon row of books. In the 17th-century manor house, its rounded clock gables a tell-tale sign of Cape Dutch design, there’s a Hamam-inspired bathhouse and treatment rooms — a place for transformative healing rituals for which this hotel is known.

The aromatherapy room at Sterrekopje. Credit: Elsa Young / Sterrekopje

There are full-body and Indian head massages, yoga, breath-work, hypnotherapy and dream programming, sound therapy and moon-lit meditations. A two-night minimum stay ensures guests achieve a holistic reset, but with pottery and painting, baking lessons, wild swimming, hiking and mountain biking on offer, too, you might find a week is too short.

Atelier Suite, Sterrekopje. Credit: Inge Prins

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The 11 suites feel more like sanctuaries. Hand-painted murals have been daubed on the walls, antique finds from the Dutch owners’ own travels pepper the space and Zanzibari four-poster beds come with a choice of raw linen or Egyptian cotton for optimal sleep.

Sprawling gardens invite exploration at every turn. The resident horticulturist, Leon Kluge, is ‘guardian of the soil’, a vital resource for growing nutrient-dense food. He revived the centuries-old, 123-acre farm using biodynamic principles.

Credit: Elsa Youngs / Sterrekopje

There are thriving orchards, vineyards and wild, meditative spaces carpeted in indigenous grasses, flowers and medicinal herbs. Guests are invited to harvest whatever they feel like eating. Franschhoek has much to offer, but Sterrekopje is a destination in its own right.

All-inclusive stays from £640 per night — see for more