The picturesque village of Franschhoek is brimming with ‘joie de vivre’ and rural charm. This is the foodie capital of South Africa with award-winning restaurants, interesting shops and art galleries.
The picturesque village of Franschhoek is brimming with ‘joie de vivre’ and rural charm. This is the foodie capital of South Africa with award-winning restaurants, interesting shops and art galleries. Plus the town is cradled in a pretty valley surrounded by mountains.
The origins of Franschhoek date back to 1688. Some of the French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution settled in the valley. With their arrival, it became known as French Corner, or ‘Franschhoek’ in Afrikaans. The French influence is still very evident today with wine estates called Mont Rochelle, Haute Cabriere, La Motte or L’Omarins amongst others.
You can opt to stay in Franschhoek, which is great if you like browsing through shops and galleries. Plus it means that you can walk to one of the many excellent restaurants in the evening. However if you prefer a more rural location, you can stay on one of the many wine estates of Franshhoek.
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Yes, of course - as I knew it would be – La Residence in the Cape Winelands is in a class of its own. The place is absolutely stunning even on a cold wettish, winter’s day – so I can just imagine how lovely it is in summer. The Singita Grumeti of the Cape Winelands…
Yes it’s not cheap but then true luxury rarely is. Sometimes clients ask me whether a place is worth it? I always find that a difficult question to answer because each person is unique in terms of what they value and what gives them pleasure. What I would say is – if you are in the market for staying somewhere like La Residence, you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Liz Biden, the owner, is a marvel at interior design. I had worried that it would all be just too much! And it almost is… but it isn’t and that of course shows her skill. As you walk in, you come into a glorious and vast double storey room with dining on the one side and sitting areas on the other side. It’s impressive with magnificent flower arrangements and log fires burning. It’s palatial but also surprisingly comfortable and not gauche or intimidating.
As befits such a place, the service was impeccable. Friendly and genuine giving you a confidence that no request would be too much trouble. This is just what tour operators want to see. (We don’t want stuffy supercilious people looking askance at our clients because they come to breakfast in moccasins.)
I loved all the rooms at La Residence. I particularly liked the Tibetian Suite, room 11, room 9, room 6, room 4. However they are all gorgeous. I would recommend the slightly more expensive superior rooms as the difference is hardly anything and it gives you some of the most interestingly styled rooms in South Africa.
I also went to see The Villas at La Residence, only a few minutes from the hotel. The idea with the villas is that families with children can get the same La Residence experience. There are five villas varying from studios to three bedrooms and you can take them on a BB basis or on a fully inclusive basis.
The décor - though very much the same style as the main house - is slightly more practical eg. fewer objet d’art! But the same amazing sense of style, colour, furnishings etc. Some have their own swimming pools. Though I can see that these would be wonderful for a single family or a multi-generational family party, I think I had a preference for the original residence.