Valley of Plenty

The unassuming facade of this Cape Provencal country house gives little hint if the magnificently opulent interiors. From its chequered marble floors to its vaulted ceilings, La Residence is filled with luxurious fabrics, period antiques and crystal chandeliers; a romantic and indulgent paradise.

Guests are invited to enjoy leisurely and memorable culinary experiences in the royally appointed dining room. Here, the freshest produce from the estate’s bountiful gardens are paired with the finest local wines. A selection of the very best locally produced hand-crafted, Chevin, Boerens Kaas, superb local Gruyere, drunken Pecorino and the creamiest Blue Cheeses are served with home-made preserves and home-baked breads straight from the oven.

In a tribute to yesteryear, Persian Alley invites you to unwind in a typically French salon environment, wiling away time in the comfort of white wicker chairs laid out on exquisite Persian rugs. The lounge is the perfect retreat after dinner and features a large and inviting fireplace. Whole-body therapies are available and guests can enjoy treatments in their rooms or on their private balconies.

Guests have a choice of eleven opulent suites with magnificent en-suites bathrooms. Each of the suites is individually decorated with ornate antiques, plush Persian carpets and an eclectic mix of artworks. All enjoy generous balconies and verandas, perfect for lazy days and soaking up the sun.

Not just for couples, La Residence is also ideal for families and groups looking to escape to the Winelands. Just a short walk from the main hotel you’ll find five La Residence Villas, which offer spacious accommodation in a variety of configurations that can sleep up to 20 guests. Each Villa is stylish appointed and enjoys separate dining and lounge areas. All feature private terraces and gardens and four have their owns pools. Guest will delight in the complimentary drinks and snacks, while the wide screen televisions and DVD players create a homely feel. While still furnished with beautiful antiques there is definitely more of a contemporary feel to the villas.

La Residence is situated in Franschhoek, a town that is steeped in more than 300 years of history. It was established by the French Huguenots who left France because of political upheavel and persecution. Travelling by sea, they landed in the Cape of Good Hope and moved inland, settling in an area that took their name, Franschhoek – (French Corner). Many of the farms in the valley still bear their original French names and the area has flourished as a wine mecca.

Each year Franschhoek plays homage to its French heritage by staging a gastronomic extravaganza called,’The Bastille Festival’.

The first Bastille Festival took place in 1994 and since then each July, local residents don blue berets and red scarves and festoon the town with colours of the Tricolour in anticipation of the indulgent celebration of decadent food and wine. The town has more to offer though and La Residence offers complimentary transfers to the surrounding Winelands, but if you are looking for something to take the attention off wine while you are visiting the valley, try the Franshhoek Motor Museum. No endless stream of exhibits, forlornly sitting behind dusty glass, this magnificent museum, set just outside of town, is housed in four long, Cape Dutch-style warehouses on the grounds of L’Ormarins wine farm. Visitors can marvel at more than 100 years of motoring history preserved in the museum’s unique collection of cars, motorcycles, bicycles and automobile memorabilia.

The museum’s collection includes over 220 vehicles – ranging from an 1898 Beeston motor tricycle to a 2003 Ferrari Enzo supercar – with more than 80 exhibition show at any one time, Favourites include the 1940 Packard 120 convertible, the Wolseley year 1960, a 1956 Austin-Healey, an Alfa Romeo Spider, a 1976 Chev, and several old Studebakers. Mercs, Porsches, Jaguars and MGs. To keep them in mint condition, the cars are all regularly started up and driven. Indeed, these vehicles, some worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, regularly take to the tarmac. When back at the museum, these classic cars and bikes sit, gleaming, beneath the high ceilings of four dehumidified halls, a total floor area of 2,700 square metres. Vehicles currently on display include a Chevrolet Camaro RS 327, Bugatti Type 35B, Austro-Daimler Bergmeister, Mercedes-Benz Roadster, Shelby Cobra GT350, Maserati 6CM, and McLaren F1.

At the end of the day spent exploring, return to La Residence, where meals are served beneath shimmering chandeliers in the baronial dining room, or in the airy Persian Alley. The chef presents a seasonal menu, made from the best local ingredients and home picked produce, or for something a little different, try a personalised cookery demonstration at the Chef’s Table. Here the chef will prepare your dinner before you, course by course. Ask questions, taste as you go and learn secrets from the master himself.

The Franschhoek valley is a treasure for both travellers and connoisseur. There is so much to see, to do, to taste, to enjoy – whether you come for a weekend or stay for a month, you’ll find your expectations, and your hopes, more than met.


Shanaaz Solomons

Tel: +27 21 426 0991

Fax: +27 21 422 0337

Skype: tcorp_andrew