There are so many funny, dramatic, emotional & heart-warming stories along our Schoone Oordt journey. Way too many to recount here, but this is a shortened rambling for some fun reading… Hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it...
Richard and I had always wanted to live and raise children in the country. Richard’s dream was building a game farm; mine a beautiful old guesthouse filled with artists, poets, writers and of course, children. After a short Christmas holiday in Arniston, where a pregnancy test proved positive, we drove home to Cape Town via Swellendam and found this aging Victorian Grand Dame. It wasn’t quite a farm, but definitely enough of a project to inspire both of us. We fell in love.
We started with very little capital and scraped everything that we owned together to purchase this beautiful old Manor House. Luckily, this was during the property boom in Cape Town and we received a little more than expected for our house there. This helped us a bit with the renovation costs, but of course, nowhere near what we REALLY needed. We knew that this was a lifetime project for us and so threw ourselves into it with gusto and little regard for a budget!
In 2010, as the major renovation work was coming to an end, Richard had to focus his attention on his advertising business in Cape Town and was having to spend more and more time there. We began to realise as Schoone Oordt was growing and evolving, that it was becoming a little too big for me to manage properly with 3 small children and Richard in Cape Town. We began to search for help. This came in the wonderful form of Wander & Sonette Bester. They began with us in May of 2011 and spent 5 years with us taking on the exquisite care of our eldest ‘baby’. They assisted us in growing it from a small guesthouse into an intimate and charming Boutique Hotel in Swellendam and we are deeply grateful for all they have done for us. Wander & Sonette have recently moved on to new adventures in the Hemel en Aarde Valley and have passed the reigns on to Ian (our new General Manager). Our superstar Fidiney remains as Duty Manager and guest carer extraordinaire. We are so excited for this next phase of our Schoone Oordt journey and hope that you thoroughly enjoy a small part of your journey with us.
We have had such brilliantly supportive guests (especially those that stayed through the banging and hammering), but also those that have given us constructive helpful feedback, both complimentary and not and those with fabulous senses of humour. We thank every single one of you. We have learnt SO much on this amazing journey and know that if we’re not on the property, our hearts are always here.