IMAGES Jan Ras
We take a peek inside Twice Central, a newly revamped contemporary guesthouse in the heart of Stellenbosch. Owners Ané Spies, Liesl Swart and Mandi Smit give us some insight as to what sets them apart from the rest.
In 2014, Harold and Ané Spies opened a two-room guesthouse, Twice Guesthouse, at their family home in Stellenbosch. They chose the name “Twice” due to the rooms’ superb views of the Twin Peaks that form part of the Jonkershoek Mountains. “Twice” is also an invitation to guests to return for a second visit.
Ané met Mandi and Liesl, now two long-standing friends, at their young children’s playgroup. With their babies out of diapers, they felt the need to explore the world beyond bottle sterilising and the sandpits. The dream of a new guesthouse was born, a place where they could combine their love for interior design and travel experiences. The rest is history. The trio bought a beautiful property in the centre of Stellenbosch in 2016 and decided to build on the well-established reputation of Twice Guesthouse to open the seven-bedroom Twice Central guesthouse.
The 1950s property operated as a guesthouse for the past 10 years and when the owners bought it in June 2016, it needed serious refurbishment to transform it into the envisioned space. With the help of Alma Mentz from Skep Architects and CS Property in Stellenbosch the old dame was converted, restored and modernised, in keeping with its original design.
Relying on their personal travel experiences and love for beautiful design, the owners, along with their partners, played an active role in thinking and re-thinking every detail to create functional and beautiful spaces that fit the budget. They also worked with brand consultants and creatives like Alwijn Burger (BLOMBOY) and the in-house design team at Similan to keep them focused.
When decorating one’s own home you often go for safer, timeless choices but with a guesthouse where the guests only stay for a short period, the team took advantage of the opportunity to be more daring. The mood is homely and modern, decorated as if their own families would be enjoying these spaces.
It was a labour of love by the owners and their husbands. Countless hours were spent going through piles of magazines collected over the years, deliberating about colours and tiles, pinning and repinning. Products were sourced from local designers and producers like Isobel Sippel and Mungo, as well as beautiful throws from Babylonstoren.
In the rooms, guests enjoy all the added extras, such as personalised welcoming letters, a USB port, Nespresso machine with complimentary pods, new magazines and Africology amenities. Guests can also enjoy beautiful breakfasts presented in a creative way, made with locally sourced produce or greens from the garden. Daily, one of the three owners is involved, ensuring that friendly service and cleanliness remain a top priority.
The location is simply perfect. It’s in the centre of town, yet offering a tranquil neighbourhood-like space. Although the rooms are individually decorated, there is a modern design theme that binds everything together. All the rooms have been renovated from top to bottom and everything, from the beds and linen to curtains and bathrooms, are brand-new.
Each room has an en-suite bathroom with shower, bath or both. Four of the seven rooms have king beds that can be converted to twin beds. Two rooms feature private balconies where guests can enjoy a glass of wine. Room 7, named the “The Garden Suite’’ has a free-standing bath in the bedroom, as well as dedicated loungers next to the pool. Twice Central is conveniently situated within walking distance to most restaurants, shops and tourist sites.
Mona Haumann, Paula van Coller-Louw, the Walter Battiss Foundation and photographer Marthinus Retief gave their art on consignment, allowing guests to purchase most of the art on display. “We love the fact that our guesthouse can also act as a platform to involve the community of Stellenbosch,” say the owners. “We have a small gift shop on site with locally sourced goods, including items from ceramicist Thia de Vos, the Uvuyo community project in Kayamandi, fabrics from Lise Stephens and gift cards by a local school, Akkerdoppies.
Twice Central is situated at 7 Hamman Street, Stellenbosch. For more information, visit twicecentral.co.za.