Building (from scratch) a small country hotel in Swellendam comes with some challenges, a large one being that not many people seem to know where Swellendam is!” wrote Alison Walker, owner of the stunning Schoone Oordt Country House Hotel, back in 2013.

Alison, her husband Richard and their four children have weathered many challenges along the way to creating their delicious slice of tranquility and class, in what Alison describes (rightly) as “one of those underrated and extremely beautiful South African country towns with an interesting history, fascinating architecture, awesome adventure and wonderfully warm people.”

Their reviews are always full of superlatives, and Alison makes the effort to personally respond, showing how much she cares and treasures each guest.  She treasures her staff too, knowing full well that it takes a village to raise a business.

Typical of the sort of comments from her appreciative guests: “The history of this happy family house – especially its conversion into a beautiful boutique hotel – seemed to influence the warmth of welcome and everything that followed. Lovely room with balcony, pool, garden, the conservatory restaurant – breakfast and excellent dinners (the beef – wow!) and wine. But as is often the case, it was the people that made the difference. Must mention Filby, serving us bubbly and nuts on the front balcony as the sun set and genuinely interested in one another’s stories.”