My husband and I spent 3 nights at Rouxwil Country House on our first visit to the Overberg region of South Africa in early October. Overall, we were a bit disappointed in our stay. Rouxwil is a working wheat and sheep farm, and the owners, Thys and O'Nel, were very busy with the farm, I guess, as they weren't able to provide the hands-on service that I had been expecting from a 5-star owner-run accommodation. We stayed at 6 accommodations in South Africa on our September/October trip, and Rouxwil is the only one which disappointed us.
We arrived in the afternoon, and neither of the owners met us. We were greeted by smiling staff and shown politely to our room. But the staff at Rouxwil isn't trained to orient visitors to Rouxwil nor to the Overberg region, nor to converse with visitors. They are the silent hard workers behind the scene, for the most part. We were left in our room with all of our unanswered questions, and we couldn't figure out how to turn on the heat! The weather was a bit cold & often rainy during our stay.
We didn't meet the owners, Thys and O'Nel, until dinner, and by then, there were other guests as well. Therefore we had no chance at all to get the orientation & help which we needed. Although it says on their web-site “from arrival, emphasis is placed on individual interests and comfort”, I don't feel this worked out for us.
After dinner, we asked the owners for help and advice, but Thys said “we do that in the morning”. Then he left us standing in the room in the main house and went off to bed. O'Nel was going to follow, but we persuaded her to come to our room to show us how to turn on our heater! She was reluctant, but she did come with us. Otherwise it would have been a cold night!!
The next morning, Thys left for appointments after breakfast, leaving O'Nel to answer any guests questions and to deal with any guests who had to check out each day. Therefore, we had to wait to speak with O'Nel, and she only had a little time. So we did get a map and some advice for the day, but were never able, during our entire stay, to get enough time with the owners to get all the help that we needed. Although O'Nel had offered by email to make me reservations for a massage & a swim somewhere in the area, I had to give up on that, as I couldn't get enough time with her to get her to make those arrangements.
During our 3-night stay, wifi was spotty, and only available in the main house. We struggled to try to confirm our flights, and more than once, the owners just left us sitting there in vain, trying to confirm our flights, without helping, despite our letting them know that we were having difficulty with this.
Once, just as I was entering my room, the electricity went off, and bulb(s) in the chandelier shattered, scattering glass on the bed, on the top of the dresser, and all over the floor in quite a wide area. It was startling. After that, I was nervous about the electricity in the room. Fortunately, Hanna, a staff member, happened to come along just then with milk tarts as a surprise for us. Hanna cleaned up the glass that we could see with a little hand-held broom, and I picked the glass off of the bed. I called O'Nel on her cell phone, but she wasn't at all helpful, and kept saying “You must have turned something on.” In the end, Hanna and my husband and I cleaned up most of the glass, although I'm sure we didn't find it all, and my husband got the electricity back on. We didn't know til later that the same thing happened to the people in the room next to us. Accidents can happen anywhere...but I feel O'Nel didn't handle it well.
We just got off on the wrong foot with the owners from the start. It is my belief that Thys and O'Nel are a likeable, outgoing, and very busy couple who are overwhelmed with running two businesses – the farm and the guesthouse. My suggestion is that they hire a staff member who is trained to orient visitors to Rouxwil and to the Overberg region, answer their questions, and make reservations such as massage or restaurant reservations as needed.
Here is what I liked about Rouxwil: the food is excellent. We had 3 breakfasts and 2 dinners, including 1 braai. The braai was outstanding, and the other meals were very tasty. I especially like the 2 recipes which O'Nel served using the “waterblommetjies” as vegetables. They grow in the dams and marshes of the Western Cape. Thys, who has a great sense of humor, kept us entertained as he cooked bread and meats on the braai. The braai was my favorite meal at Rouxwil. (Note that breakfast is included in the room price, but dinner is an extra charge.)
Breakfast was pretty tasty as well, although O'Nel was a bit distracted, and 2 days in a row, she asked me what kind of eggs I wanted, and then brought me fried eggs cooked til the yolks are hard, which isn't what I ordered. (I even tried ordering scrambled eggs, and still got fried eggs over hard instead!)
We had a surprise on our final bill, as we had assumed that wine is included with dinner. We stayed at several other guesthouses where wine was included with the dinner price. I checked my info from O'Nel, and this point was never clarified in our correspondence. Fortunately we didn't drink too much wine...I had a glass before dinner and then 1 or 2 more glasses with my meal. But nobody likes surprises on the bill. But the unexpected charges for wine on our bill were high enough to make my husband grumbly.
Our room was spacious and romantic, with a big comfty king bed, and a romantic bathroom with a lovely bathtub, a separate big shower, and dried flowers nicely placed here and there. The heater works nicely, after you know how to work it. There is an electric pot to heat water for tea.
How will YOU feel about a stay at Rouxwil? Here is my advice. What is your priority? If your priorities are great food, a luxurious “country” style room, and a lot of peace and quiet...then you will love Rouxwil. But if your top priorities are location and hands-on-service by the owners, then you might want to book elsewhere.
We also didn't like the location of Rouxwil, as our favorite part of the Overberg turned out to be the coastal areas. We wish we had stayed in de Kelders or near Hermanus or near the Harold Porter Botanic garden (which we didn't have time to see.)
To give you a sense of Rouxwil's location...after breakfast at Rouxwil, we took a day-trip in our car to visit Hermanus and de Kelders, and we had lunch at Coffee on the Rocks in de Kelders, then returned to Rouxwil before dinner. This filled up 1 day. We would have preferred to stay on the coast, and to have had even more time to see some of the coastal areas near de Kelders and near Hermanus. (Hermanus is a bit touristy in our opinion, but it is located near some interesting coastal areas.) We did see whales from the shore at de Kelders!!!
Many of the guests at Rouxwil are repeat visitors who either live in South Africa, or come over from the UK, and they already know the Overberg region. Maybe all they need is a room key and a fine meal. But for first-time international visitors to the Overberg region, more help and advice from the owners is needed upon arrival.
I have some nice photos of our room and of some of the tasty meals which I will share soon. I hope this review, together with the other reviews, helps you make the decision which is best for you.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.