From boutique boltholes to monastic self-catering cottages and Provençal-style villas, there’s no shortage of lodgings in this swanky winelands town. We’ve rounded up our favourite places to stay in Franschhoek.
If you’ve been somewhere incredible that you think we should know about, please add it in the comments below.
The Private Retreat: La Clé des Montagnes Village
A mere five-minute stroll from Franschhoek’s buzzy high street is this breathtaking countryside retreat (which re-opened in August 2018 with individual rooms, as well as four private villas). La Clé des Montagnes, (“the key to the mountain” in French), is nestled among blossoming orchards and rolling vineyards, where guests are fully Immersed in the Franschhoek lifestyle, with art, food, wine, space and tranquillity in abundance right on your doorstep.
The rooms Whether your preference is for historic charm or modern farm-style interiors, one of the four meticulously designed villas is sure to fulfil your every desire. The main two-bedroom home (Manoir) is available to book on a per-room basis, while Gallerie (two bedrooms) is solely for exclusive bookings. Grange (three bedrooms) and Colonial (four bedrooms) are available to book on a per-room or exclusive-use basis, each featuring their own lounge, kitchen, swimming pool, garden, entertainment area and outdoor terrace.
Lie of the land Franschhoek’s high street is a mere five-minute stroll away, yet the vast property, featuring orchards, vineyards, pools and manicured gardens, ensures a sense of uninterrupted peace and tranquility. There is also a library, tennis court and bicycles to use at your disposal.
Above and beyond One of only two farms in the valley with access to run-off mountain water in Franschhoek, La Clé is serious about conserving our resources. The sybaritic lifestyle, coupled with personalised service, will have you feeling like the king (or queen) of your own country estate. There’s also the option of a personalised dining service, where an attentive team of chefs will prepare a host of culinary delights from private braais when booking exclusively to picnics around the grounds, laden breakfast tables and more. (We loved the welcome drinks and a snack basket on arrival!)
Special offer From now until 20 December 2018, you can experience the magic of this valley retreat for 15% off the normal rates.
Room rate From R3 550 – R9 500 per room per night
From R15 500 – R40 815 per villa per night
Location 13 Daniel Hugo Street, Franschhoek, Western Cape
The Luxe Country Villa: Lily Pond House at Le Lude
Located on the edge of Le Lude MCC Estate is Lily Pond House, a farm villa whose simple white walls and elegant pillars set the scene. Inside, high ceilings, elegant decor and shuttered windows create a home that’s wonderfully reminiscent of a classic manor house. A short drive from the estate’s main building along the cyprus-lined dirt road, overlooking a tranquil, duck-dotted river, the home is the ultimate hidden hideaway.
The rooms There are two identical bedrooms, on opposite ends of the house, divided by large wooden doors. Each boasts a large double bed (which can be made into a twin), underfloor heating throughout, air-conditioning, a TV, and an en-suite bathroom, with a shower and a freestanding Victorian bath.
Lie of the land The home is completely self-catering, and has a large, fully equipped open-plan kitchen stocked with utensils and pantry cupboard staples – and even a chilled bottle of Le Lude MCC waiting in the fridge. The spacious open-plan living area, complete with wi-fi, TV, a desk and couches, leads onto the verandah, perfect for alfresco soirées. Outside is a lovely private plunge pool lined by sun loungers, and an outdoor dining area accompanied by a braai and firewood.
Above and beyond Complete privacy is a given here, with staff only visiting to clean or on request. Other than that, it’s just you and the peace of the countryside. You’ll even have access to your own private bridge across the river, leading to a short walk among the flowers and lily pond.
Room rate From R4 234 – R4 660 per night (depending on season)
Location Bowling Green Avenue, Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek, Western Cape
The Scenic Sojourn: 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 recently refurbished, achingly stylish Vineyard suites, each with their own private pool overlooking the valley, 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 oversized 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 becoming part of The Nest Collection in 2015.
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.
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.
Room rate From R3 013 – R12 520 per night (depending on season and room type; includes breakfast, minibar drinks and snacks, a wine-tasting session)
Location Franschhoek Pass Road, Franschhoek
The Provençal Manor: 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 breathtaking 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.
Room rate From R2 950 per night (includes breakfast)
Location Huguenot (Main) Road, Franschhoek
The Art Lover’s Oasis: 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 exquisite local art.
Room rate From R5 700 (1 October 2018 – 18 December 2018)
From R6 700 (18 December 2018 – 10 January 2019)
Location Green Valley Road, Franschhoek
The Chic Country Cottages: La Chataigne
Near a tree, by a river, there’s a cottage in the woods. Well, there are five 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 and stables have been stylishly renovated and turned into monastic (and supremely chic) self-catering lodgings.
The rooms There are three riverside cottages, Chestnut (sleeps two), Marron and Kastanje (each sleeping four), which boast en-suite bathrooms, fully equipped open-plan kitchens stocked with good-quality cutlery, crockery and glassware with a central island, and a lounge with a fireplace. Outdoors, each has a spacious patio, with a built-in braai area, overlooking a river and an enchanting forest of pear trees.
The two recently introduced Scandi-chic stable cottages, Blanc and Noir, epitomise contemporary comfort and style. Each has a spacious en-suite bedroom, fully equipped open-plan kitchen and living area, and an elevated south-facing deck with a private pool, overlooking the mountains.
Lie of the land A working wine farm, the property boasts scenic walks and intimate environment to unwind, but if you’re looking for a buzz, Franschhoek’s main drag is a five-minute drive away. There’s also a tranquil 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.
Cost Chestnut: From R1 400 per cottage per night (depending on season)
Marron and Kastanje: From R1 950 per cottage per night (depending on season)
Blanc and Noir: From R2 900 per cottage per night (depending on season)
Location R45 to Franschhoek, La Chataigne Wines, Franschhoek
The Zen Escape: Angala Boutique Hotel
Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Simonsberg Mountain, 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 laidback luxury meets the kind of earthy splendour that spells out peace, quiet and a soul-restoring slow time.
The rooms If luxury linen, 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 (drought-permitting), 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 haven 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 morning. Sprawling private gardens open up from enclosed patios, with everything from lemon trees to herbs and indigenous fynbos, as well as beautiful wooden sculptures.
Room rate From R3 188 per night (includes breakfast)
Location Corner R45 and Klapmuts Road, Franschhoek
The Garden Getaway: 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 private stoep and seating area that looks onto the most beautiful garden and the mountain beyond. Inside, the rooms are modern and luxurious, yet cosy and comfortable, and feature a bedroom-lounge area with a fireplace, kitchenette, dressing area, spacious bathroom with a large shower, slick freestanding bathtub and twin basins, underfloor heating and heated towel racks – a dream during winter! Amenities include DStv, electric blankets, tea service and mini bar. There’s even a pod coffeemaker!
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 evoke tranquillity. In front of the main house is a swimming pool, lounge chairs and umbrellas – all you need for lazy summer days.
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.
Room rate From R2 430 per suite per night (15 October 2018 – 30 April 2019)
From R2 1 60 per suite per night (1 May 2019 – 14 October 2019)
Rates include breakfast (except for the self-catering apartment)
Location R45 Main Road, Le Roux, Franschhoek, Western Cape
Central Country Comfort: Macaron Boutique Guest House
Situated on the corner of a quaint residential road, a stone’s throw away from Franschhoek’s buzzy centre, Macaron Boutique Guest House offers countryside comfort in an intimate setting, while still remaining close to the town’s sought-after scene.
The rooms There are nine rooms that range in size and features, but all are utterly comfortable and dressed in earthy, natural tones. In each one, you’ll find a selection of local cookbooks and up-to-date editions of your favourite magazines, as well as two delectable macarons. The larger suites also offer a desk, small lounge and fireplace.
Lie of the land The beautiful Victorian home offers nine suites spread across two opposite buildings and, despite its central location, the property features a large garden with two pools which provides an undeniable sense of tranquility.
Above and beyond Service is friendly and attentive, and each aspect of every stay has been carefully considered. From the delectable buffet breakfast served each morning in the lounge or on the terrace, down to the blankets and board games in the lounge, and cosy turndown service awaiting you in your room at the end of each evening (think hot water bottles in winter and a sweet treat resting on your pillow).
Room rate From R1 970 – R4 260 per room (includes breakfast)
Location 28 Van Wijk Street, Franschhoek, Western Cape
The Boutique Bolthole: La Petit Manoir
This quaint and utterly luxurious boutique hotel (which opened in July 2018) is proving that compact is king, with its beautifully appointed suites and world-class dining. Perfectly positioned within walking distance of many of the town’s attractions, with its very own in-house restaurant, La Petit Manoir is every discerning traveller’s dream when seeking five-star comfort in a central location.
The rooms There are an intimate number of just four suites, each of which have their own private balcony looking out onto the Franschhoek Mountains and street below. Deep-buttoned headboards, muted colours and monogrammed pillows are offset by sleek blonde-timber furnishings, industrial-style lamps, and a streamlined open-plan black-and-concrete bathroom. It’s an effortless balance between comfort and sophistication.
Lie of the land In addition two four luxe suites, guests have full access to the pool – which is flanked by the charming kitchen garden – and breakfast is part of the deal. La Petit Manoir restaurant, at the hotel’s entrance, offers delectable dishes a stroll away from your bed.
Above and beyond Personal touches illustrate that the owners – Brian Groenewald, JP Lombard and Frank Heyneke – understand that the experience is the sum of the small details, which was evident across the board. In the way they pitched in at dinner during my stay, and in the undeniable sense of hospitality. Other highlights were the beautifully stocked and stylish Smeg minibar, wood-burning fireplace, and a gorgeous freestanding tub… a reason to return when baths are back on the cards.
Room rate From R3 570 per room (includes drink on arrival, daily breakfast, wi-fi, a bottle of wine and bathroom amenities).
Location 54 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek, Western Cape
The Mountainside Guest House: Residence Vive La Vie
Just a short stroll away from the village buzz on Uitkyk Street, this scenic guesthouse is the perfect spot to relax and recharge after a day spent exploring. The expansive garden and soothing interiors imbue the property with a sense of tranquility that wash over you the moment you step through the doors.
The rooms The double-storey house has five individually decorated rooms: three in the main house (Superior King Suite 1 and 2, and Superior Double Suite 3), and two (Standard Double Room 4 and Superior King Suite 5) situated in a garden cottage.
Lie of the land A sense of home comfort is imminent throughout the property. There’s a spacious outdoor patio, offering guests a comfortable space to relax, enjoy a braai, and listen to chilled beats; a tranquil garden featuring a sparkling pool lined with sun loungers; and a bright indoor dining area where delectable breakfasts are served each morning.
Above and beyond The guesthouse ensures its eco footprint is green, using solar power, organic, natural cleaning products and toiletries, water-saving mechanisms in the in-room taps, and borehole water use.
Room rate Standard Double Room: From R2 650 (May – September)
Standard Double Suite: From R2 650 (May – September)
Superior King Suites (1, 2, and 5:) From R2 980 (May – September)
Location 27 Uitkyk Street, Franschhoek, Western Cape
The Stylish Stay: Le Quartier Français
Fresh from a savvy and stylish makeover, Le Quartier Français reopened in June 2018, with a more refined aesthetic, and all the warmth and charm it’s always been known for.
Previously owned and beautifully run for more than two decades by hospitality heavyweight Susan Huxter, the hotel was acquired by Dehli-born billionaire-businessman Analjit Singh, (along with two vineyards, two boutique resorts, shares in an art gallery, an Indian restaurant and a microbrewery) in 2015.
The rooms We stayed in a Four Quarter Suite – where we’d honeymooned nine years ago to the day – with our three-year-old son, who was beautifully looked after – with age-appropriate toys, books and fun toiletries laid out for us on arrival. And, while the reception we received on this family-friendly visit was decidedly different to our wedding night, it was done with the same thoughtful open-handedness.
Lie of the land The new incarnation has retained many of the features that made its predecessor such a well-heeled and well-trodden destination, namely exemplary service, the most stylish breakfast in town, and wonderfully colourful rooms (yet somewhat quieter than Ms Huxter’s brightly coloured aesthetic).
There are 32 rooms in total: 19 preside over an oval swimming pool that’s surrounded by a rose and jasmine garden, with a collection of adorably quirky baboon sculptures. There are also Four Quarter Suites, and two independent villas.
Above and beyond The exceptional service – many of the original staff stayed on when Mr Singh took over the property, some of whom have worked there for over a decade! And it shows: they know how things work on the estate, and also the best places to recommend in the village and valley.
And the beautifully merchandised boutique-style breakfast – one of the highlights of our honeymoon – which did not disappoint this time around.
To adapt a quote by esteemed American novelist Ernest Hemingway: ”When in Franschhoek, the only reason not to stay at Le Quartier Français is if you can’t afford it.” *
Rates R 7 112 – R 15 838 per room per night (depending on season and room type, breakfast and Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines Signature tasting included)
Location Corner of Berg and Wilhelmina Streets, Franschhoek
* The original quote was about The Ritz in Paris in the 1940s, but we’ve never let a continent (or a few decades) stand in the way of a good story.
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 and wine-tasting studio – 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.
Room rate R 8 070 to R 34 904 per room per night (depending on season and room type, breakfast and Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines Signature tasting included)
Location Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek, Western Cape
The Cape Dutch Dream: La Clé des Montagnes Lodge
Surrounded by sweeping vineyards and beautifully manicured gardens, La Clé Lodge is the epitome of a sequestered farm stay. Lashings of luxury fill the carefully considered interior, while vast open spaces add an unparalleled sense of seclusion. Exuding all the charm of a cosy country manor (with all the modern creature comforts, of course), this sensational spot is all you need for an extended-family getaway.
The rooms The stylish lodge has five bedrooms, and is decked out in a stylish mix of contemporary and traditional decor, with beautiful high ceilings throughout. The home is available to book on a per-room basis or for exclusive use, and contains two king-size Garden Rooms, two king-size Petite Rooms and one king-size Courtyard Room (all en-suite), which can be made into twins on request.
Lie of the land The Cape Dutch home is on La Clé des Montagnes’ second vineyard, and has been beautifully decorated by Jacques Erasmus (from Hemelhuijs). Spellbinding views, a tennis court, swimming pool, duck ponds, water features, lush lawns as far as the eye can see, spacious living and entertaining areas, and a traditional farmhouse kitchen complete the picture. Hell, there’s even a Helipad!
Above and beyond The passionate team of experienced chefs are on hand to tend to all your dining desires, while you’ll have full access to the beautiful grounds and sumptuous living spaces. Did we mention you can also book it as your own private villa? Bliss.
Special offer From now until 20 December 2018, you can experience the magic of this valley retreat for 15% off the normal rates.
Room rate Garden Rooms: From R6 000 per room per night (depending on season)
Petite Rooms: From R3 550 per room per night (depending on season)
Courtyard Room: From R5 750 per night (depending on season)
Exclusive use (minimum 2 nights): From R36 100 (depending on season)
Location 32 Cabriere Street, Franschhoek, Western Cape
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…
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)
Location Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek
Researched by Nikki Benatar, Kent Cloete, Michelle de Bruin, Riekie Human, Julia Freemantle, and Adam Lange
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