Aasvoëlkrans – more than a touch of whimsy in Montagu
Let me let you into a secret. Pretty Aasvoëlkrans is really worth your rand. To say that you are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Montagu is an understatement. There is so much to choose from that it can get a little confusing. But if you’re after a little bit of luxury, with a huge dollop of contrariness, individuality and personality, then this country setting B&B is for you.
I have not been exposed to something quite as original as Aasvoëlkrans before. Set on an Arabian stud farm just outside town – Church Street is a mere 10 minutes walk from here – the accommodation is a series of completely individual and private garden rooms. Each has its own bedroom, en suite bathroom, balcony, and a couple their own kitchenette …
Whilst this sounds like a fairly ordinary set up, it isn’t. What makes it so very different is the personality of its owner, Jeanne. Jeanne is an artist. This is perfectly obvious from the minute you set foot on the property. Her quirkiness, love of colour and her need to transform every corner of the property with a series of unusual tableaus affects every nook and cranny, every bend or curve of the house and garden fall under her eccentric spell, and the result is a feast of art, statues, plants, colour and impact.
Aasvoëlkrans is one of the only B&Bs to find its way onto the art and crafts map of Montagu. Jeanne’s walls, halls, garden and breakfast area are all host to the works of her own, her daughter’s and local artists’ works. Folded pieces of festive material and table cloths, cushions, bright pink chairs around her swimming pool, statuettes, wooden swings in trees, and a collection of pottery and crockery that adorn the shelves, not only of her kitchen but the accommodation as well, add to the effect. Everything, including the very plants in the garden, form part of a larger tapestry that turns the entire experience into a work of art.
Jeanne has spared no expense or passion when it comes to preparing a place of refuge for her visitors. Her rooms are filled with the type of opulence associated with luxury accommodation, so that even in the dead of winter, which was when we found ourselves staying in her newest flatlet that comes with a lounge kitchenette as well as a bedroom en suite, we lacked for nothing. The roaring fire in the ceramic fireplace kept the entire place sizzlingly warm, and our down duvet warm as toast whilst asleep. She even laid in a camping cot for our four-year old, who had a ball climbing her trees, playing with trucks stored in the resident wigwam for her grandchildren, and on the steps of the flatlet with his blocks.
Whilst Jeanne’s choice of décor for breakfast, and just what food to serve every morning is very dependent on her mood, you welcome any evidence of artistic temperament and the inventive and talented way in which her stylish abode is put together. She is obviously skilled at adorning all around her in a way that is delightful to be in. Her attention to detail and the obvious love she has poured into her venue honours visitors.
And the farm is without doubt a beautiful setting. In a paddock close to the accommodation are a number of athletic Arabian horses. In the light of very early morning (let’s not forget that despite the luxury, we were still in the company of a very small child set on waking as soon as the very first cock crowed) these horses are taken individually through their paces and it is too beautiful to stand and watch them as dawn breaks.
Then beneath boughs still dripping with early morning dew, we made our way across to the main house for breakfast – a sumptuous selection of fruits, yoghurt, crumpets, honey, cereals, coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juice and the option of organic farm eggs and bacon. All of this served on a series of gorgeous pottery bowls and crockery laid on brightly coloured table linen, flowers deftly plonked in a bucket, its very informality a way of offsetting the beauty of the flowers.
To keep us warm, Jeanne had ingeniously used a gas outdoor heater, the type you usually associate with restaurants during winter. She could do so as the breakfast room, just down from her kitchen, is set under high rafters. During summer, Jeanne serves her visitors outside under the trees in the garden, her swimming pool available for early morning dips – it gets hot here.
Jeanne is quick to whip out the art and crafts map as a way to show you around town. She highlights those places worth a visit and outlines which restaurants in town are best for which meals. She is aware that we need child-friendly venues and points these out. Whilst we are eating, our abode is quietly being cleaned and aired so that when we return, it is ship-shape, flowers adorn the surface areas, and our bath towels are on the line to dry.
Whilst we are there she has a photographer visit to try to capture the charm of the place. It’s difficult, and I can understand why she’s already had two or three photographers around here. One has almost to stay here for a while, to drink it all in, before one starts snapping away. Aasvoëlkrans is an experience, and it can’t be captured simply in a few photographs…
Aasvoëlkrans Contact Details:
Address: Van Riebeeck Street No 1, Montagu, Breede River Valley, Western Cape
Jeanne, Telephone +27 (0)23 614-1228 or +27 (0)82 552-4545
Web Pages: Aasvoëlkrans Bed & Breakfast
Special Offer: If you stay two nights or more, you get one night free as part of a winter special at Aasvoëlkrans B&B.