Views, opulence and service.
Those are the three words I’m gonna use to describe our recent stay at La Residence in Franschhoek. Oh wait and ‘wine’. So possibly 4 words! Being the winelands, one can expect a fair amount of corks to be twisted.
We were lucky enough to be invited by The Royal Portfolio to experience one of their multi award winning hotels, La Residence – I’m not over exaggerating ‘multi award winning’ either it’s won everything from Travel + Leisure Magazine World’s Best Award to Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice. It’s a pretty big deal, but you’ll soon see why.
Every suite in this all suite hotels is completely different, we were booked into the Chambre Bleu Suite on the far corner of the hotel. With double terraces, the views of the mountains and vineyards from our room were endless. Well, that was until the sun went down of course, but after a show like that, you don’t really want to see anything else.
The opulence in the rooms was incredible, no detail is spared no corner is left untouched and everything is a little over the top (in a good way of course) including the height of the bed which requires a footstool to get on to. I loved that! The detail and opulence doesn’t stop at the decoration either, it runs right through to the generously stocked mini bar (which is included in your stay), and if you find it lacks anything just let the front desk know and they’ll stock it just the way you like it! Personally I had a hankering for a Negroni but with only gin at my disposal I decided to put the service to the test by ordering some Campari, sweet vermouth and some Amarula (Elzaan’s favourite holiday treat) for the room. Moments later the door knocked and ‘voila’ our personalized mini bar. Now this may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes the joy of staying at a hotel is deciding you’re not leaving the comfort of your big fluffy bed or that you’re not hungry enough for dinner, but just a snack, and then one snack turns into all the snacks and maybe a bottle of Amarula all while you watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding II – hypothetically speaking of course – when this happens it’s nice to know you wont have double regret in the morning!
Anyway, enough about that magical mini bar.
The hotel is set on a 30-acre working vineyard, that produces it’s very own Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rosé wines, they even offer a wine tasting which unfortunately we didn’t have the time to try during our stay. We did however find time to enjoy a couple glasses of the Rosé, which as 2 dedicated rosé snobs, were quite easily converted to the pink side by it’s deliciousness (What? That’s a proper wine tasting term). There is no bad time or place to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine at La Residence, the staff are happy to serve you wherever you may decide your perfect spot is! And to be honest, there are no bad spots, but the outside lounge with views of the lake does seem to be the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. If you’re lucky enough, the estate peacocks may just grace you with their presence while you’re there.
The rest of the hotel is perhaps even more opulent and detailed than your room. From the time you enter the Great Hall with it’s marbled checkered flooring and Indian chandeliers you feel as though you have been transported to a French chateau in the middle of…well, France I guess. Everything is ornately carved with filigree. There are candles, mirrors and flowers every where you look and you can’t help but feel like you’re in a different world.
The great hall spills into the dining area where again, every table is beautifully laid out and surrounded by plush red velvet buttoned chairs. Have I used the word ‘opulence’ yet? All the meals are served in the dining hall and it’s where we took our breakfast and lunch. There is also an option to take your meals outside on Persian Alley – a large terrace covered in Persian rugs overlooking the gardens, pool and mountain backdrop. We opted for one breakfast inside by the fireplace and one outside in the sun, both were magnificent.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, hotel breakfasts are the best! There’s something about the abundance of choice you never quite get at home that just makes the entire experience indulgent! After all that’s been said regarding detail and opulence, you can imagine breakfast at La Residence is no different!
You’re greeted by a table of newspapers, both local and international news, hot of the press and neatly printed from the internet – There is even a selection of reading glasses in case you happened to forget yours at home. Coffee and tea as standard on arrival, though the tea choices are endless and served in fine bone china as one would expect. : ) Breakfast is ordered a la carte, giving you enough time to indulge a little in the continental offerings on display, there’s a little bit of everything, and ‘everything’ being the keyword. We indulged a little in a lot!
Our breakfast felt like fine dining, fillet mignon and perfectly poached eggs, everything was beautifully presented (obviously) and super delicious. We’re currently on a paleo diet and the chef had no problem in accommodating us with substitutions, even our coffee’s were whipped up with almond milk, no problem!
In the end we drove off trying to decide what the highlight of our stay was? What was it that really stood out for us and what would we come back for. The answer was simple and it’s something I haven’t quite touched on enough yet, the service.
In the end service is what sets all hotels apart, no matter how fancy or how expensive, your stay is made memorable by the service you receive. I’m not sure if it was arriving at the valet parking to a team of smiling staff and a glass of cold rosé or getting a grand send off by the manager and his team in a freshly washed car but nothing ever seemed too much. As with everything else, the service is in the details.
You walk into your room with a fresh bottle of MCC on ice to greet you. Room service, is outstanding, from in room dining to something as small as fresh ice seems to be treated with the utmost urgency. Your room is made up while you’re at breakfast so your stay is never disrupted. There are too many to mention and the list really does go on. The most important however is that every time you pass a member of staff, they greet you with a smile and check to ensure you’re enjoying your stay. With that kind of attitude, how can you not!
If you plan on visiting the wine lands anytime soon and felt like treating yourself to one of the worlds best hotels, I’m gonna highly recommend La Residence.
Okay. Stay Fancy.