Spier Hotel, Stellenbosch. Tel: +27 (0)21 809 1100. www.spier.co.za
Double from R1900 per night. Great for: Babies, little ones, tweens.

Sometimes you just need to – as Parks & Recreation’s Tom Haverford would say – treat yo’self. Last year, hubby had been working overseas for a couple of weeks and was back in the country for a few days before heading off again for another fortnight. After three days of single parenting (side note: single parents, you absolutely rock), I started researching hotels with kids’ clubs and was rather delighted to find a luxurious and yet affordable hotel with a dedicated kids’ club within an hour’s drive of our home in Cape Town.

We have, of course, been to Spier before  to eat, to taste and to take Kai to see the excellent bird of prey display at Eagle Encounters. But I’d always imagined the hotel was prohibitively expensive. Plus I had no idea how child friendly it was.

Granted it was a bit of a splurge – certainly more than we usually spend on a family weekend, but well worth it for the relaxation factor. Rooms are large and plush with muted, relaxing decor. They’re set in double-storey, flat-roofed villas in a peaceful corner of the estate far from the wine tasting centre and restaurants, and of course come with plenty of amenities, but you’ll doubtless spend little time in the room.

The greatest draw here is that you can ditch the car for a weekend and explore on foot, never leaving the estate unless, of course, you really want to. Our first stop, following a buffet breakfast, was the kids’ club. Kai was instantly in love – and that was before he found out about the bouncy castle and the baking classes. It’s an extremely well-equipped play centre with, of course, dedicated staff to take care of the kids. So we signed him in and went off to explore the farm.

Hotel guests can borrow bikes for no charge, so we spent a morning exploring, stopping to check out lunchtime restaurant options and of course, to use the wine tasting voucher we were given at check-in. When we came back, we had to drag Kai away, but he soon found that the rest of the estate was almost as kid-friendly as the clubhouse. Whether you’re in reception, having pre-drinks at the hotel bar or grabbing lunch at the wine tasting centre, there are miniature tables everywhere, with pictures to colour, cups full of crayons and baskets of toys. And wherever you are, you feel like staff have been briefed to make you and your offspring feel completely welcome, even when dining out (as beer lovers, we opted for Hoghouse on our first night – definitely recommended).

As I was in the business of treating mo’self, I headed off for a two-hour spa treatment while the boys went to visit the hawks and vultures at Eagle Encounters. That evening we grabbed food to go so that we could do the one thing we hadn’t yet found time for – enjoying the calming, comfy room.

We’d visited Spier perhaps a half dozen times before we discovered the hotel, but I suspect they’ll be seeing us again this winter (when prices drop!) In fact, we might just make it an annual family retreat.

We decided to have a phone-free retreat so I failed to take any photos; images for this review were supplied by Spier.