Elegance doesn’t get more plush than this. On Mount Babylon wine farm in the Western Cape’s Walker Bay district, Yolanda and Johan Holtzhausen have created a cool yet intimate space where guests at private events can savour the delightful pink Méthode Cap Classique made by Jean-Claude Martin, the winemaker who co-owns Creation Wines next door, from the seven-hectare estate’s Shiraz grapes.
There’s no doubt that the venue is a glamorous one, and boasts magnificent views as well as alluring interiors. As you enter, what engages you from the start is the seductive smoky pink decor. The hue predominates both in the soft velvet of the upholstery and the high gloss of the walls, which are painted a shade Yolanda says is as close as they could get to the subtle peachy pink of Mount Babylon’s MCC Brut Shiraz. It’s a stylish colour that’s smoulderingly feminine and warms up what was once a dark and cold tasting room, a previous extension of Mount Babylon’s cellar. Now full of life and light, the space draws you in.
The revamp took two years and included enlarging the area. Architectural designers Danie Louw and Jo-Andri Maree of Cape Town-based firm ADsquared worked in conjunction with Yolanda and Johan on the architectural and interior design concept, and builder Johan Theron from Hermanus was also brought on board. ‘It’s all about trust,’ say Louw and Maree, who believe this is key to a successful project. ‘Working with Yolanda and Theron was a dream!’
Theron had already built an attractive holiday home overlooking Mount Babylon’s dam for the Holtzhausens – a necessary convenience as the couple lives in Somerset West and Johan’s financial services company is based in Stellenbosch. ‘My husband is a businessman,’ says Yolanda, ‘but Mount Babylon is his passion.’
Originally the tasting room had only one window, so to maximise the vistas and bring in light, walls were replaced with glass. Now, floor-to-ceiling windows and large sliding doors open onto a balau wooden deck that looks across the dam and vineyards to the mountains beyond.
A smart design trick used to visually heighten the room was the addition of a bronze-tinted mirror on the central section of the low ceiling. Its dramatic smoky reflections amplify and lighten up the space, while wide, curving cornices help elevate the glossy pink walls.
Marble adds luxury and sophistication, and the designers have used it extensively in the tasting lounge – on the fireplace, the tops of several small round tables and the bar counter, whose base is covered with vertical slatted-oak panelling. In the floor, a broad marble panel as wide as the mirror above it on the ceiling creates a striking juxtaposition with the warm natural oak of the herringbone-style parquet.
Vibrant large-format artworks play an energetic role in the decor, particularly Jimmy Law’s monumental portrait in oils of a dazzling young woman. ‘Her eyes look directly at you, as if she needs to tell you something,’ says Yolanda. ‘We wanted paintings that are powerful enough to stand out from the opulence of the interior and yet don’t overpower it.’
She’s equally enthusiastic about the accent colour the designers chose as a vivid contrast to the pink: a brilliant green for the handmade crockery by ceramicist Mervyn Gers as well as the velvet seats at the bar and round tables.
There’s a spacious, fully equipped state-of-the-art restaurant kitchen and, while the lounge seats 28, at least 60 guests can be catered for on the extensive deck. ‘Mount Babylon’s lounge is a fresh, uplifting space that knows no limits,’ says Yolanda. ‘We want the events held here to be inspiring and memorable.’
Visit mountbabylon.co.za for more information or to make a booking.