I think it is safe to say that all girls need a weekend away here and there. A few nights away from the kids and hubby makes a good opportunity to unwind and to go back home with a clear mind and ready to take on a new week.
Lauren and myself were invited to visit the beautiful La Bella Vita Studios out in Paarl. Now let me just begin by saying that the Winelands have never really pulled me in – I am not a huge wine drinker, and we normally head out to the seaside for family holidays.
But, this time around the Winelands caught me off guard. I think because we were staying at such a beautiful place – it set the scene and the mood. Also, being newly engaged, it was an opportunity to dream a little.
We drove up on the Friday afternoon, just a short drive from home – and checked in at the Studios. We were really lucky to be given a little tour of the 8 studios (as well as the two new studios that will launch THIS month), because it really showed us the full vision of the owners, as well as the talent of the interior designer, Elsje Schonken. So much love has been poured into each studio – but I am going to leave the interior talk to Lauren from Lauren McCreath Interiors who will cover it from every angle. What I would like to mention though, is that each suite has a huge bathroom with a shower and bath, a small kitchen which is well equipped with beautiful crockery and cutlery, as well as a fridge and microwave AND Nespresso machine – so you can bring your own food (there is no oven or stove though, so as long as it is food that can be heated/cooked in the microwave), as well as a fire place, TV, lounge area and balcony. So it is fully equipped, and we didn’t once feel that it was lacking anything.
You never tire of looking around the studio – each corner of the room is filled with high end finishes. The coffee table is neatly stacked with interesting books which are all relevant to the room. Nothing has been spared in terms of style. There is more than enough WiFi, and everything has been so thoughtfully done and considered which all adds to the overall experience.
I always get excited for a girls weekend – I know I can just let my hair down and relax. La Bella Vita Studios allows you to do EXACTLY that. It was quiet, and we were surrounded by beautiful mountains and nature. We’d wake up each morning and go out to our private balcony, and just sit and drink coffee while watching the ducks and birds on the pond in front of us. We honestly could have spent all three days just sitting in our studio or outside on the deck.
On arrival, we were gifted with a basket of delicious bread from Babylonstoren (literally a 5 minute drive away), some butter, jam, honey, cheeses, strawberries and wine. All fresh and divine. This allowed us to just totally chill on the first night with soup and bread, and we didn’t have to go anywhere.
I truly believe that hospitality is shown in the little details – in this case, the basket of treats, as well as the beautiful tray of bath salts, bath bombs and scents that they use in the studio (each studio gets a different scent).
We had a divine bath that night (they have their own water supply), and each climbed into our own bed, which was literally MAGICAL. I haven’t experienced such comfort in a bed! There’s nothing like bundling up between beautiful linen sheets and sinking into plush feather pillows after a long day of adventuring. We watched some TV, laughed and chatted and fell asleep quite contently.
The next morning we woke up, and had a slow start to the morning before heading out into the Winelands. Breakfast and some exploring at Babylonstoren, then off to a few other beautiful spots before heading to Blaauwklippen for a glass of wine, and then to Boschendal to finish off our day of adventures with a late lunch.
We headed back to the Studios, and it honestly felt like getting home after a long and busy day. That says a lot about a place. We finished off the day with a glass of wine and a bike ride around the estate. This was the most fun we had had in awhile!!! So much laughter.
On the Sunday, we decided that we would spend our last day just relaxing and hanging out at ‘home’, because we just wanted to absorb what was around us. It was also incredibly hot, and neither of us had thought to bring our costumes, not realizing that there is a gorgeous pool. We then booked a spa treatment at Sante Wellness Retreat and Spa which is right next door to the Studios, within walking distance, and in the same Estate. I found that this was perfect for a girls weekend, and was also a highlight of where La Bella Vita Studios is located. Note that there is also a restaurant based inside of the Spa, so you don’t even need to leave the Estate when staying at the Studios. My facial was amazing, and Lauren had a full body massage which she also raved about. There are also uncountable amazing places just a stone throw away which are begging to be explored. Mark my words, you won’t ever feel bored!
My mind keeps switching over to the beautiful interior and décor of each studio, but I know that Lauren will be covering all of that in the next article. But, I do need to say that it is refreshing to stay at a place that has put so much thought into creating each studio unique and totally different to the next. One studio may not be your ‘vibe’, however, one of them will be. I have about three others on my list for when I return, one of them being their brand new studio, which is breathtaking, and may even be my new favourite.
I love that each studio has a ‘theme’, the one we stayed in being the Mare Studio. Each theme represents a charity or cause that they support – so when you stay, 3.5% of their annual profit from each studio goes to that specific cause. This is really something amazing, and you don’t get many places that do something as selfless as that.
La Bella Vita Studios isn’t just a weekend away. It is staying in luxury, rebooting, and an experience. A perfect spot for a girls weekend, your honeymoon, or even the spot to stay the night before your wedding with your girls, as it makes for beautiful photos for getting ready. But mostly, it was the ideal place to escape to for me to chatter away to one of my best friends as a newly engaged woman about all of my dreams and visions for planning my wedding day.
I hope to be back soon with my maid of honour too for even more fun. This is one of those places that will never be forgotten. And I am excited to return to stay in one of the other Studios for a different experience! A few key words to describe La Bella Vita Studios in closing would be: Upmarket, contemporary, comfortable, and luxurious. It was such a treat being surrounded by the simple beauty that nature offers, and we were so sad to leave that we even stayed one extra night.
Thank you for having us! Your hospitality was refreshing and your Studios magical! Keep an eye out for the interior review by Lauren McCreath next week.
Do yourself a favour and head over to their beautiful social media accounts that are bursting with gorgeous photographs of their studios and also have loads more information on each Studio:
*Please note that the majority of these images were used from the La Bella Vita Studios website shot by Sheldon Moultrie Photography.
I decided to use their images because mine just didn’t do the beauty of La Bella Vita Studios justice!