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 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, email@example.com
Room rate From R4 050 – R10 100 (includes breakfast)
Where to find it Klapmuts Simondium Road, Simondium
Reviewer Riekie Human
The Enchanted Garden: La Rive
If Harry and Meghan were to honeymoon in Franschhoek, this tranquil hideaway – set on a one-hectare estate straight out of Pride and Prejudice – would be the perfect spot. Its discreet location – just one block from everything else that makes Franschhoek tick – is ideal for those who seeking under-the-radar splendour (without lifting a finger).
Exquisitely decorated in a stylish mix of curated antique furniture and contemporary art, this six-bedroom manor house feels like the private home of a couple of bon vivants, which is exactly what it is.
The rooms Each of the six individually decorated en-suite bedrooms has its own distinct character, but all overlook the sparkling swimming pool, which takes pride of place in the main section of the garden. Our manorhouse suite is a salubrious mix of Victorian, Cape Dutch and Art Deco furniture and decor, with a contemporary colour palette (evident in the upholstery and soft furnishings) bringing it into the 21st century. We had the pick of the house, but chose this room for its double vanities, underfloor heating in the bathroom, deep-soaking tub and capacious dressing room – not to mention doors that open onto the terrace and enchanting garden beyond.
Lie of the land Dating back to 1860s, when the land the house stands on was allegedly surveyed, the U-shaped home is arranged around a magnificent garden and swimming pool, with deep verandahs and a covered terrace providing the perfect space for lazy lunches and late-night soirées.
Above and beyond We arrived at the villa on one of those magnificently sunny autumn days, to be greeted by name (our three-year-old son included) by the ineffably lovely Wayne McLachlan, the villa’s chef/ manager/ host/ etc etc. After enjoying a “glass of shampoo” in the exquisite living room, Wayne gave us a tour of the estate, and very patiently allowed our son to tinkle the ivories on the grand piano.
While the others went to explore the Wonderland-like grounds, I made my way to the outdoor verandah – glass of bubbly in one hand and a bowl of just-roasted cashews in the other. With a fire roaring in the background, and an Eden-esque view in front, I could’ve been anywhere in the world. There’s something about an outdoor verandah that signifies the ultimate luxury.
La Rive is one of those unforgettable escapes – just as suited to couples toasting their new life as a twosome as it is to families and friends celebrating a special occasion.
Contact 082 905 7946, firstname.lastname@example.org
Room rate From R42 000 – R58 000 per night (includes full breakfast and all beverages, butler service and wifi)
Reviewer Nikki Benatar
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, email@example.com
Room rate From R4 750 – R17 500 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
Reviewer Nikki Benatarangala
The Regal Manor House: Leeu Estates
On the slopes of the Dassenberg mountains lies a 68-hectare wine farm with an immaculately restored Manor House, whose six classically styled rooms offer sublime views of the surrounding vineyards, gardens and fynbos beyond.
Owned by Indian entrepreneur Analjit Singh, this estate is one of three farms he acquired after a serendipitous visit to Franschhoek in 2010, during which he felt “a deep sense of belonging, of energy, a sense of place.” (Incidentally Singh means lion in Sanskrit, which translated into Afrikaans is leeu.)
The rooms Dressed in subtle shades of taupe, vanilla and cream, our luxuriously appointed room is the last word in classic, unadorned style, with billowy linen curtains, a thick-pile sisal carpet, luxurious cotton sheets and a marble-clad bathroom creating sumptuous accents.
The subdued palette – no doubt chosen to blend discreetly into the surrounding landscape – is offset by Deborah Bell’s striking sculpture, Artemis and Dog I – III that takes centre stage on the manicured lawn below, adding the requisite drama and edge.
Lie of the land In keeping with the principles of Vastu Shastra (the ancient Hindu science of architecture), space, sunlight, flow and function have been carefully considered on every inch of this landscaped estate – from the Bokkie Garden and serene spa, with its heated swimming pool to the fine-dining restaurants, wine-tasting studio and dinky spirit room where visitors can enjoy gin tastings for R150 – so that a sense of wellbeing prevails.
According to our breakfast waitress Stephanie Goliath, who took me on an impromptu tour of the estate, her 60-something employer is somewhat of a perfectionist. “He’ll arrive at the estate after three months away, and notice if the smallest thing is out of place. But he won’t ask someone to fix it; he’ll do it himself.”
Above and beyond The exceptional service. It feels as if every single member of staff is fluent in Lion Language, demonstrating a deep and intricate knowledge of the estate, Leeu Collection, and Mr Singh’s story. From waitrons and barmen to drivers and masseurs, the staff goes out of its way to make you feel special and at home.
X factor Mr Singh’s impressive art collection – a mix of quirky, serious and thought-provoking works – that tastefully covers every corner of the estate. Beezy Bailey’s life-size royal blue Peace Man, allegedly Mr Singh’s favourite piece, presides over the reception area – a fitting welcome to this grand estate.
Good to know A three-minute complimentary shuttle takes you to Franschhoek’s pretty high street. Or, if you’re feeling energetic, cycle into town on one of the estate’s bicycles.
Read our full review of Leeu Estates.
Contact 021 492 2222
Room rate From R8 070 – R21 890 per room per night (depending on season and room type; includes breakfast)
Where to find it Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek, South Africa.
Reviewer Nikki Benatar
THE WINEFARM WITH VALLEY VIEWS: LA PETITE FERME
With arguably the best panoramas of the Franschhoek valley and surrounding mountains, this intimate four-star boutique hotel has always had a decidedly well-heeled (and far-flung) reputation, despite its laidback ambience, and the one-and-all appeal of its vineyard-facing front lawn.
The rooms There are nine rooms in total – five Vineyard suites, each with its own private pool, and four Manor House rooms that open onto a shared pool. Not surprisingly, all rooms are decked out with the requisite mod-cons – uber-comfy beds (ours was a delicious over-sized king), a living room, mini bar, newly refurbished bathrooms (our stand-alone Victorian boasted spectacular valley and vineyard views), TVs, DVD players, and so on.
Lie of the land Perched on the northern slopes of the Franschhoek Mountains, all of the rooms, as well as the charming glass-fronted restaurant, boast spellbounding valley and vineyard views. There’s loads to do on the estate: pool-lounging, wine-tasting, leisurely walks or more strenuous hikes, and mountain-biking with one of the estate’s fleet of bicycles.
The farm was owned and run by two generations of the Dende-Young family, who worked tirelessly for four decades to build a formidable hotel, winery and restaurant, before selling it to Dubai-based businessman in 2015.
Good to know Despite being a comparatively small winery, LPF produces some of the most sought-after wines in the country, caringly produced by winemaker Wikus Pretorius who comes with barrelfuls of experience from working in the wine regions of France, California and Australia.
Above and beyond The private plunge pools in the Vineyard suites take the rooms to the next level. Imagine waking on a crisp autumn day, throwing open the door of your suite, and flopping into your own pool with endless valley views? Paradise.
Contact 021 876 3016, 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 Franschhoek Pass Road, Franschhoek
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
Reviewer Nikki Benatar
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Room rate From R3 100 (1 May – 30 September 2018)
From R4 800 (1 October – 18 December 2018)
From R5 800 (18 December 2018 – 10 January 2019`0
Where to find it Green Valley Road, Franschhoek
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, email@example.com
Cost R2 000 per unit per night (four-sleeper, low season)
R1 200 per unit per night (two-sleeper, low season)
R1 950 per unit per night (four-sleeper, high season)
R1 400 per unit per night (two-sleeper, high season)
Where to find it R45 to Franschhoek, La Chataigne Wines, Franschhoek
Reviewer Nikki Benatar
Bookings Check Availability and Book Online
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Room rate From R3 188 per night (includes breakfast)
Where to find it Corner R45 and Klapmuts Road, Franschhoek
Reviewer Riekie Human
Bookings Check availability and book online
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, email@example.com
Room rate High-season: R3 000 per suite per night
Low-season: R2 100 per suite per night
Breakfast at Lust Bistro (R140 per person) is included
Where to find it Corner R45 and Klapmuts Road, Franschhoek
Reviewer Michelle de Bruin
The modern garden suite: Fransvliet Guest House
If you’re headed to Franschhoek for the weekend, be it for a romantic getaway or a rendezvous with friends, you definitely want to be close to the action. About five minutes’ drive from the town centre, on the R45 Main Road, is Fransvliet Guest House. A short distance from some of the best restaurants and wine farms (and within walking distance from Leopard’s Leap Vineyards), yet secluded enough to feel like you’re getting away from it all.
The rooms The property is divided into adjacent guest suites and one self-catering apartment, each with a stoep and seating area that looks onto the most beautiful garden and the mountain beyond.
Each stoep is quite private from its neighbours, so you can unwind with a glass of wine, marvelling at the sunset in solitude. Inside, the rooms are modern and luxurious, yet cosy and comfortable, thanks to a fireplace and plush furnishings.
The bedroom-lounge area is separate from the kitchenette and dressing area (we love that the kitchenette isn’t in the bedroom, as is the case with many guesthouse suites). The bathroom is spacious, with a large shower, slick free-standing bathtub and twin basins, and best of all, underfloor heating and heated towel railings – a dream during winter! Amenities include DStv, electric blankets, tea service and mini bar. Even a pod-coffee maker!
Lie of the land Nestled between a mountain range on either side, the setting is majestic. The grounds are covered in groves of grape vines that signal tranquillity. In front of the main house is a swimming pool, lounge chairs and umbrellas which looks like paradise on a sunny summer’s day.
Above and beyond The breakfast is exceptional. You’re welcomed by a spread of cereals, yoghurt, fresh fruit salad and an array of local cheeses and homemade preserves, as well as homemade fruit juice and your choice of coffee or tea. Each morning, owner Shirley Kilian whips up a seasonal dish. On the morning of our visit, home-cooked smoked ham was served on a portobello mushroom with a perfectly poached egg and hollandaise, accompanied by fresh croissants and other baked goods. Breakfast of champions, indeed.
Contact 021 876 3726
Room rate Winter 2018: R2 190 – R 3360 per suite per night
Summer 2018/ 19: R2 580 – R3 840 per suite per night
Rates include breakfast (except for the self-catering apartment)
Bookings Check availability and book a room
Reviewer Michelle de Bruin
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