REVIEW: Explore the Franschhoek wine region from Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard

REVIEW: Explore the Franschhoek wine region from Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard

Franschhoek means French Corner in Afrikaans, and in this peaceful corner roughly one and a half hours drive from Cape Town, you will find Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard. 

In 2014, Sir Richard Branson bought the hotel, adding it to the Virgin Limited Edition collection of hotels. Mont Rochelle has 26 bedrooms on offer and sits alongside its vineyard on 39 hectares of land. It’s also a stop on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, which is popular in the area and a convenient mode of transport for the day should you be in the area to taste the fruits of the local winemaker’s labour. 

Look & Feel 

Upon arrival, guests are able to experience the beauty of Franschhoek as they drive through groves of grapevines that sprawl across most of the property. 

You’ll then be greeted by staff who will transform you from a bag carrying tourist, to a relaxed visitor at the fireplace with a drink in hand.

Sip a cocktail on arrival at the bar. (Supplied)

The entire hotel has a certain aura, almost tranquil-like. Staff see Mont Rochelle as a place to come and take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, or rejuvenate from the intensity of travelling. 

There are common areas spread throughout the hotel, be it by the pool, sitting in a quaint outdoor garden, or perched by the bar, they all have a warm, ‘come as you wish’ feel to them and provide the perfect spot to unwind with a book or enjoy a pre dinner beverage.  

ROOMS 

There are five room types, fittingly, named after wines; shiraz room, merlot room, cabernet room, pinotage suite and a cap classique suite. There is also a sixth option, ‘The Manor House’ that tailors towards larger groups.

A Mont Rochelle merlot room. (Supplied)

The merlot was a spacious room, with a desk and two armchairs, a television and well equipped mini bar as well as a coffee machine. High ceilings are filled out with wooden beams adding character and complimenting the thatch roofing. In the bathroom – that’s very spacious – you’ll find a walk-in rainfall shower as well as a large bath and two basins at the sink. 

The manor house is its own beast, a four bedroom villa that can sleep up to eight adults and six children in its 740 square metres. There’s also open plan communal area with a kitchen and large dining and lounge area as well as a games room, outdoor entertaining area (with kitchen), swimming and plunge pools and a private gym!

The Manor House at Mont Rochelle. (Supplied)

FOOD

Dining at Mont Rochelle is an impeccable experience with two restaurants to choose from.

Miko, the flagship restaurant, boasts a prime location and 180 degree views of the Franschhoek valley and its surrounding mountains. It is best described as a taste of South Africa, offering seasonal dishes made from fresh, local ingredients. Obviously, the staff know exactly what wine to pair with your meal and by all reports, the wines to come in the next few years are shaping up to be pretty special! Enjoy an a la carte menu with delectables including seared beef carpaccio or a summer vegetable tart with gorgonzola. 

Dine with a view at MIKO. (Supplied)

The Country Kitchen, which is connected to the wine cellar, is the perfect place for a light lunch or wine tasting and take in the picturesque vineyards of the Mont Rochelle estate. Hearty and fresh meals are on offer here along with a gourmet picnic for two which showcases the award winning, in house wines. 

Daily breakfast is available from the dining room at MIKO with both a continental buffet and hot breakfast. 

FACILITIES AT THE HOTEL  

Mont Rochelle has a range of facilities for one to enjoy during their stay. A favourite is the outdoor, heated swimming pool complete with bar service, also to be enjoyed is the AstroTurf tennis court, fully equipped cardio and free weight gym and a range of lawn games to pass the time between meals and take in the stunning views over the Franschhoek mountains. 

Jump in for a swim or take in the sun by the pool. (Supplied)

There are also two dedicated spas at the hotel, stocked with popular eco-friendly Africology beauty products that are made from 100 per cent essential oils and natural plant extracts. 

FINAL VERDICT 

9/10

A stunning hotel with a unique, personable atmosphere throughout the entire property. It is, however, quite peaceful, so it might not be the place to bring a hire car full of kids straight off the 14 hour flight from Australia.

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