Sleep-in Review: Le Franschhoek Hotel, Cape Winelands

May 7, 2007

For our last day of holidays in Cape Town, we decided to head off to one of my favourite wineland areas – Franschhoek. I never get tired of revisiting this picturesque valley and there’s always something new to see.

This time, our first point of call was a new-ish hotel (it’s about a year old) that has opened in the area. At the Hugenout Monument junction, swing a right and drive for 3 km. You’ll reach the glorious Le Franschhoek Hotel, a three cities hotel property, which must certainly be their flagship.

Apparently there was already an old hotel on the site but this has been completely refurbished and modernised into 5 star decadence. Of course, it’s always the natural scenery that makes this hotel worth taking out a loan to stay at (I never actually found out the rates but I reckon they are probably in the R2000 per room range). The mountains, the lush greenery, the picturesque forest walk, made me feel as if I was miles away from bustling city life.

Pool at Le FranschhoekThere are different kinds of rooms – some are housed in the main hotel, which others are suites scattered throughout the property. There is a large welcoming pool and a terrace that oozes elegant colonialism. It’s the perfect place to savour a G&T while watching the sunset.

There are two main restaurants – the Rainforest one which is housed in an open-air (with some cover) greenhouse complete with a mist that sweeps over the dining areas to cool things down. It’s buffet style here with an area where you can choose your own ingredients for Asian stirfry and it gets whipped up before your eyes.

Everything looked mouthwatering but we weren’t after a huge meal and in addition, the only tables that were available were in the direct sun and boy, was it hot. The restaurant is heavily dependent on the weather so it closes during winter.

Fruit PlatterThere is a more formal restaurant which I hope to try one day. But we opted for a light lunch on the terrace where mom, Tamara and I enjoyed a variety of delicious salads. We knew the greens were fresh as they were slightly gritty from sand (fresh from the earth?) Thank goodness the ubiquitous earthworm didn’t find its way onto our plates.

After checking out the spa and going for a stroll through the beauty, we headed back to Franschhoek. And so began out quest to find Tamara a gigantic Ndebele beaded doll. We went into every shop along the busy main street. The shops hold some treasures and mom bought Tam and I some gorgeous colourful placemats with images of Cape Town and its rainbow people.

I stopped into the new yummy ice-cream shop and also couldn’t leave without a praline from my favourite Belgium choccy shoppe (a real foody heaven this is).

Tam finally found a magnificent doll and I bought a mini-version. Pleased with our purchases and full-up with yummy farmland food, we headed back to Cape Town.