From boutique boltholes to monastic self-catering cottages and Provencal-style villas, there’s no shortage of lodgings in this swanky winelands town. We’ve rounded up our favourite places to stay in Franschhoek.
The luxurious vineyard escape: Mont Rochelle
As he is known to do, Sir Richard Branson took a 17th-century hilltop estate in the magnificent Franschhoek winelands and turned it into Leisure Land, where polished service, plush (yet pared-back) surrounds and an unbeatable location are all part and parcel of the Virgin experience.
The rooms All 22 rooms have a sexy weekend-away vibe, with exposed-beam ceilings, oversized floor-to-ceiling windows offering killer views of the mountainous valley, a capacious open-plan bathroom with a stand-alone tub and a deliciously stocked minibar and TV lounge. Local interior designers Hot Cocoa have struck the perfect balance between restrained and whimsical.
Lie of the land There are diversions aplenty for those seeking them: tennis, boules, croquet, spa treatments, horseback riding around the 100-acre estate, a dip in the heated outdoor pool, a workout in the vineyard-facing gym, wine-tasting, to name a few… Miko, the hotel’s fun and stylish in-house restaurant, has wraparound views of the valley and serves delicious contemporary fare. The hotel, which welcomed its first guests in September 2014, is a five-minute drive from Franschhoek’s main drag, where you’ll find De Hoek that serves the best coffee in the village (and maybe even the whole of the Mother City) and a slew of great restaurants, galleries, boutiques and markets.
Above and beyond Though the hotel (obviously) attracts high rollers, the atmosphere remains understated, fun and sophisticated, rather like its owner…
Contact 011 325 4405, firstname.lastname@example.org
Room rate From R 3 210 – R12 600 per night (depending on season and room type; includes breakfast, minibar drinks and snacks, a wine-tasting session)
Where to find it Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek
TIG reviewer Nikki Benatar
The Provençal villa: Franschhoek Country House & Villas
With the heady scent of lavender wafting through the air, rose bushes and lemon trees at every turn, and a stately Provençal-esque villa, you might think you’ve landed in the south of France when you arrive at this small luxury hotel in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley.
The rooms Set against the rugged Franschhoek mountains, the restored manor house has 26 rooms in total: 14 rooms and 12 luxury villa suites. Our top-floor villa was everything my inner hedonist could wish for: plush French country-style lodgings with high ceilings and exposed beams, a king-sized bed with crisp white linen, a deep soaking tub and double vanities, a roomy lounge and entertainment area, two balconies with chaise-longues and breath-taking views of the vineyards and valley beyond.
Lie of the land A brisk 15-minute stroll takes you onto Franschhoek’s bustling high street, with its sidewalk cafés, art galleries, upmarket boutiques and interior shops. But, with an award-winning restaurant on the grounds, a spa, two beautiful swimming pools, rambling gardens and tranquil surrounds, you might not ever want to leave the estate…
Above and beyond The underfloor heating in the bedroom, lounge and bathroom; the camomile teabags in the kitchenette area; the bottle of Taittinger in the minibar; the warm hospitality and friendly service (Lizette at reception and general manager Antonio deserve a special mention).
Contact 021 876 3386, email@example.com
Room rate From R2 950 per night (includes breakfast)
Where to find it Huguenot (Main) Road, Franschhoek
TIG reviewer Nikki Benatar
The stylish farm getaway: Babylonstoren
A heavenly mixture of laid-back farm-style delights and world-class creature comforts awaits at this luxury boutique hotel on a working wine farm in Franschhoek. It’s clear that owner Karen Roos combined the very best experiences from her travels abroad, and masterfully merged those with the very best local flavours – from Provençal-inspired gardens to luxurious suites reminiscent of the old farm workers’ cottages, to food fit for the gods.
The rooms Each of the 13 guest cottages overlooks the vineyards and the farm’s famous gardens. Karen’s innate sense of style (nonchalantly teaming a Kartell side table with a deep, old-fashioned bathtub) and her scrupulous attention to detail puts some of the city’s most lavish hotels to shame. Here, 18th-century heritage blends seamlessly with 21st-century style and amenities.
Lie of the land A sleek and sophisticated – yet surprisingly informal – restaurant serving fresh-from-the-farm fare, a state-of-the-art tasting room and cellar, an oh-so-zen spa, and a plaasdam-style pool for paddling are just some of the facilities on offer. There are also mountain bikes with which to explore the farm (or to pedal over to Babel for dinner, with a moonlit detour through the garden, of course).
Above and beyond the beautifully curated collection of books in every room, L’Occitane grooming treats, the complimentary bottles of Babylonstoren wines in your suite (best enjoyed at sunset on your picture-perfect private verandah)…
Contact 021 863 3852, firstname.lastname@example.org
Room rate From R3 900 per night (includes breakfast)
Where to find it Babylonstoren
TIG reviewer Riekie Human
The designer bolthole: Holden Manz Country House
Set on a small wine estate at the top of the Franschhoek Valley, this is not just another French-inspired Franschhoek hotel… This tranquil guesthouse is discerningly dressed in an impressive collection of contemporary African art and a combination of modern furniture and antique pieces, stylish companions to the lofty, Cape Dutch-style proportions of the striking main building.
The rooms The five beautifully appointed guest rooms boast magical views of the mountains and vineyards outside. Though the house accommodates a maximum of 10 people, you might never encounter another guest during your stay, as there are sumptuous sofas tucked away in various nooks and crannies, where curling up with a book from the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf is obligatory.
Lie of the land This (relatively) small wine estate is home to a state-of-the-art winery, restaurant, outdoor swimming pool and spa. There’s also a tree-shaded river, where a gourmet picnic can be arranged. The proprietors – German Migo Manz and British Gerard Holden – own a gallery on the main road where you can purchase jaw-dropping local art.
Above and beyond The up-to-the-minute design, which combines contemporary art, decor and furniture with heritage style – a breath of fresh air in this South African patch of Provence.
Contact 021 876 2738, email@example.com
Room rate From R2 800 (until 30 September 2016)
From R4 900 (October – 18 December 2016)
From R5 800 (19 December 2016 – 10 January 2017)
From R4 900 (11 January – 30 April 2017
From R3 200 (May – September 2017)
Where to find it Green Valley Road, Franschhoek
TIG reviewer Nikki Benatar
The cottage in the trees: La Chataigne
Near a tree, by a river, there’s a cottage in the woods. Well, there are three cottages… and they’re in a citrus orchard… with beautiful views of the vineyards and mountains in the distance. Owned by Swedish-born couple Richard and Julie Parkfelt, the original workers’ quarters have been stylishly renovated and turned into monastic (and oh-so-chic) self-catering lodgings.
The rooms Two of the cottages sleep four, and one sleeps two, and all bedrooms have recently renovated ensuite bathrooms. The newly revamped kitchen, with a central island, opens onto the lounge with fireplace, and is stocked with good quality cutlery, crockery and glassware. Outside is a spacious patio, with a built-in braai area, overlooking a river and an enchanting forest of pear trees.
Lie of the land Beautiful walks and mountain-bike trails abound, but if you’re looking for a buzz, Franschhoek’s main drag is a five-minute drive away. And there’s a fabulous, ubercool swimming pool in the orchard that’s very inviting in summer.
Above and beyond The good glassware! Enjoying a glass of wine in a thin-rimmed glass when you’re in the back of beyond makes all the difference. And the (faux) fur-covered hot-water bottles – delicious on an icy night.
Contact 021 876 3220, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost R1 200 per unit per night (four-sleeper, low season)
R900 per unit per night (two-sleeper, low season)
R1 500 per unit per night (four-sleeper, high season)
R1 100 per unit per night (two-sleeper, high season)
Where to find it R45 to Franschhoek, La Chataigne Wines, Franschhoek
TIG Reviewer Nikki Benatar
The relaxing retreat: Angala
Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Simonsberg, surrounded by verdant gardens and steeped in the kind of countryside tranquility that city folk can only dream of, this boutique guesthouse is a veritable haven of understated pampering, where world-class luxury meets the kind of earthy splendour that spells out peace, quiet and a soul-restoring slow-time.
The rooms If luxury linens, a well-stocked minibar, in-room dining facilities and a glorious fireplace are high on your list of requirements, you won’t be disappointed. The bathroom deserves special mention, with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, opulent double showers and basins, extra-deep tubs for lengthy soaks and a decked outside shower that’s reminiscent of top-notch game reserves.
Lie of the land Breakfast and dinner are taken on the poolside deck (or in-room if you’d prefer). And speaking of the pool, it’s one of those eco jobs – with absolutely no chemicals and an ecosystem of fish and vegetation keeping it fresh. A popular retreat for yogis, Angala offers Yoga Retreats regularly, as well as Art Weekends for aspiring masters.
Above and beyond Special dietary meals can be whipped up at the flick of a finger. The outdoor showers offer majestic views – and the added bonus of a chorus of birdsong in the mornings – while sprawling private gardens open up from enclosed patios, with everything from lemon trees to herbs and indigenous fynbos, as well as beautiful wooden sculptures.
Contact 021 874 1366, email@example.com
Room rate From R4 500 per night (includes breakfast)
Where to find it Corner R45 and Klapmuts Road, Franschhoek
TIG reviewer Riekie Human
The modern suite: Vrede en Lust
Nestled at the foot of the Klapmuts Road,Vrede en Lust was established as a working wine farm more than 300 years ago. Today the estate boasts a wine-tasting centre, four-star accommodation, brand-new conference and event facilities, a beautiful wedding venue and an award-winning bistro-bakery called Lust.
The rooms The estate offers three accommodation options: the self-catering Manor House sleeps 10, the three Jonkermanshuisies each sleep four (only one is self-catering), and the Vineyard Suites sleep two. The latter is perfect for discerning travellers looking for a sophisticated stopover. Here, the luxury is in the details. Stylish wall art, fresh flowers, modern trinkets, Charlotte Rhys essentials and delicately placed lavender all add that special touch. The decor of these newly built suites is super-modern – in stark contrast to the neighbouring manor house that dates back to the 15h century. Think: mirrored cupboard doors, plush bedding, contemporary bathroom fittings and folding glass doors that flaunt the encroaching vineyards.
Lie of the land The estate is a short drive away from some of our favourite Franschhoek eateries, offers horse riding, vineyard strolls and a communal pool house and braai area. While you’re in the area, why not pop in at the Franschhoek Uncorked Festival, happening on the 24 – 25 September 2016.
Above and beyond A welcome basket of wine, beer, soft drinks and light snacks was very agreeable indeed. The wine connoisseurs will be happy to know that should you wish to treat yourself to a wine-tasting in the tasting centre (open until 5pm), it’s free. We loved that we could order platters from Lust to accompany our tasting. The cheese and meat platter was delicious, and reasonably priced at R85.
Contact 021 874 1611, firstname.lastname@example.org
Room rate High-season: R2 400 per suite per night
Low-season: R1 750 per suite per night
Breakfast at Lust Bistro (R140 per person) is included
Where to find it Vrede & Lust Estate, intersection R45 & Klapmuts Road, Simondium
TIG reviewer Michelle de Bruin
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