I was lucky enough to be able to visit for a few days on a recent holiday to South Africa, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My suite, like the other 10, was individually decorated, with elaborate interiors which are rich and eye-catching.
Persian rugs, velvet and silk fabrics, antique furnishings and lavish finishes encapsulated La Residence’s French flavour, not to mention the 151 works of art throughout the hotel.
Once I was settled in I headed to the dining room. With a reputation for superb cuisine and excellent service, dining is part of the property’s appeal. Enhanced by candle-light or the mesmerizing glow of the chandeliers, leisurely meals are paired with the regions finest vintages.
With its chequered marble black and white flooring, huge fireplaces and a wonderful four-metre chandelier, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a country manor hall when I first walked into the dining room.
This all opens onto wide terraces looking out onto the beautiful gardens full of roses, a perfect place for summer evening meals.
The Executive Chef Lennard Marais oversees the dining experience at La Residence and his cuisine emphasises fresh and local ingredients, many of which are grown on the estate. La Residence guests will often sit down with the chef to discuss their dietary requirements and their likes and dislikes, with menus being very much tailored accordingly to suit their requirements.
The next day, I was shown around around the more secluded option on the same estate - five exquisite vineyard suites. They are individually styled with a blend of bold colours and La Residence’s opulent French flavour and I thought they would be perfect for families or groups of friends.
Each suite boasts open-plan living, private terraces and gardens. One of the one-bedroom suites has a loft room and the two-bedroom suites and three-bedroom suite have private pools.
A dip in the magnificent infinity pool followed, where I relaxed and took in the marvellous views of the surrounding area.
I briefly considered the adventurous activities on offer in the area, of which there are plenty. They include trout fishing, playing a round of golf, private wine and cheese tasting, hiking or cycling to art galleries and motor museums, quad biking, helicopter wine tours, paragliding, hot air ballooning or even wine tasting by horseback!
However I quickly decided that I should investigate the wonderful spa instead! They offer a range of pampering treatments that guests can spoil themselves with, either in the treatment room or in the privacy of their own suites.
Franschhoek is known as the culinary capital of South Africa with many of the country's top rated restaurants in close proximity and I find its beautiful setting and café lined streets charming. To journey through the Cape Winelands is to go on a culinary journey through some of Africa’s most outstanding landscapes.
You can potter from estate to estate sampling fine wines and delicious local, artisanal produce. You could try your hand at an interactive cooking lesson at the nearby Leopard’s Leap wine estate.
I had the opportunity to enjoy wine tastings in the La Residence vineyards and also went on a farm tour through the orchards and herb gardens of the estate. Later, I took a stroll into the village and enjoyed a tour of Huguenot Fine Chocolates, (which are utterly delicious!), before returning to La Residence for a chocolate and wine paring.
On average 11,220 bottles of wine are produced from La Residence's 11.86 acres under vine, where they grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grapes.
If guests would like to venture off the estate for their meals, there are several top restaurants located in either the quaint town centre or on the surrounding wine estates and some of my favourite restaurants include:
I highly recommend booking these restaurants well in advance!
Franschhoek has something to offer all year round, but peak season is during the summer months from November until April when temperatures soar above 30 degrees Celsius.
During the winter months, the temperature can drop to an average of about 18 degrees while one can enjoy sitting by the fire sipping delicious wines.
There’s also the fabulous Magic of Bubbles festival, one of the many festivals hosted in the valley. This is a great excuse to dress to impress and enjoy Franschhoek’s celebration of Méthode Cap Classiques and Champagnes!
So if you’re interested in fantastic wine, wonderful food and a beautiful setting on your holiday to South Africa’s winelands, why not spend time at La Residence’s amazing hotel?