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GLAMOUR Recommends: Stay at the tranquil Kokos Huis in the Riebeek-Kasteel

Nestled within the tranquil embrace of a 200-year-old farm in the charming village of Riebeek-Kasteel, Kokos Huis beckons with its serene ambiance. A hidden gem waiting to be discovered, this soulful Swartland oasis offers a picturesque retreat like no other.

With its cosy nooks, sun-kissed stoeps, dreamy interior, verdant gardens, and a glistening palm-fringed and heated pool, Kokos Huis exudes a sense of tranquillity and comfort.

At Kokos Huis, guests are welcomed to six inviting bedrooms nestled in the heart of the main house, each meticulously curated to exude warmth and charm. Whether you seek a peaceful retreat alone or with your family, Kokos Huis promises an unforgettable stay characterised by comfort, style, and the timeless allure of its historic setting.

The experience extends to exploring the variety of the Riebeek-Kasteel wineries nearby, restaurants, and the shops located at the charming Riebeek town…making a trip to Koko Huis a wholesome adventure.

Owner of Kokos Huis Prisca Llagostera chats to GLAMOUR about curating this beautiful luxurious hotel and what inspired it.

What inspired you to open Kokos Huis, and how has your travels influenced its concept and design?

I wanted to open a place that was aesthetically nice but yet affordable. When my friends and family came over for my wedding, I could find tons of beautiful places to stay but a little out of range for us! Hence my inspiration to open something that I liked, that was affordable but yet had all the comforts I look for: good beds, crisp white sheets, nice aesthetics, lots of linen! Nice lighting, candles, books I can’t afford at home, power showers, heated towel rails, Mungo towels, I am obsessed with them!Nice amenities, a heated pool! Oh yes! And a pleasant atmosphere:-)

This is the kind of place I look for when I travel: a place that I can afford but that yet is still pleasing to the eye. I couldn’t quite find it here!

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How does the interior design of your hotel reflect the cultures and places you've experienced during your travels?

I lived quite a bit in Latin America and at Kokos Huis you get a bit of a Chile, Mexico, Brazil vibe, mixed with my Mediterranean as well as my British side.

The rawness comes from Chile, yet the Ethnic side from Mexico, the pops of colour and the tropical palm trees from Brazil, and the natural materials are inspired by the Mediterranean and the cosiness from my British side.

What kind of cuisine and culinary experiences can guests expect to find at Koko’s Huis, and how do these reflect your global travels?

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Simple but good quality food and good produce. Sometimes when you travel you go from restaurant to restaurant and when you get back to your hotel you simply want a cheese platter with a glass of wine, or some cold meats by the fire, or a fresh summer salad or a warm winter soup…that is what I try to offer. Johnny from John Joseph has helped me a lot! I buy his croissants from 55 Croissants in Wellington, a must go when visiting!

In what ways does the location of your hotel embody the spirit of the town it’s located in?

Riebeek Kasteel is a quaint sleepy town and Kokos Huise compliments it with its relaxed tranquillity. It’s like a little oasis, especially around the pool and cabana area.

How have your travel experiences influenced the overall guest experience and customer service at your hotel?

I basically tried to replicate what I look for when I travel, which is comfort and a welcoming but not too overwhelming environment.

Prisca Llagostera

What aspects of the local culture and traditions have you incorporated into the hotel experience?

The wines!!! I am in wine heaven and after all I am married to a winemaker! So there is definitely a heavy local influence and all the cheeses and cold meats on offer are locally sourced.

When guests arrive at Kokos Huis we welcome them with a cold towel in summer or a warm hand towel in winter…I feel that is a very South African thing!

How do you incorporate sustainability and responsible tourism in your hotel?

Sustainability by trying not to throw away food, which I am really proud of how little we throw. Also, nothing is of one use only… that is why I preferred to not put slippers in the rooms.

All the beds are locally made as well as the sheets, towels and amenities. I buy from local suppliers: everything from the candles to the cheeses, and we only serve Swartland wines.

How do you engage with the local community and support local businesses?

I try to send my clients out to the restaurants in the valley as much as possible and all my wines served here are from the area and from small wineries around.

The beautiful ceramics are from Ceramics Matter and we serve local olives. I think people who come here are looking for something different and to connect with the locals which is something that we offer with our yoga classes, pizza nights at Kalmoesfontein, and meeting the winemakers who all own their small sustainable business, by employing locals, buying local grapes, farming and creating jobs, and in general by promoting and putting the Swartland on the map.

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What are some unique amenities or activities at your hotel that guests should look forward to?

Tranquillity, a super relaxing time and a secret little oasis. I would like my guests to feel like they are in a house. We also offer private wine tastings, 5am braais with the winemakers, yoga classes, farm lunches, and pizza night or a fun dinner at Osteria

What do you hope guests will take away from their stay at Koko’s?

I hope my guests leave feeling recharged and grounded while feeling pampered as well.

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