Grandeur Amidst the Vineyards: A Stay at the Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl

Words: Julie Velosa

There is so much beauty to be found in the Winelands at this time of year – the vibrant autumn hues of the vineyards paint a mesmerising tapestry across the rolling hills. Nature has gracefully shed its summer green, replacing it with a stunning array of golden yellows, fiery oranges, and deep crimson reds. At the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl, this change of season is abundantly clear in the beautiful views over the vineyards and valleys; a chilly wind whispers across the landscape but the crisp air also carries the comforting scent of wood smoke, emanating from crackling fires. It’s the ideal time to indulge in the warmth of both nature’s palette and the inviting ambience of the hotel and surrounding wineries. I’d go as far as to say this is one of the best times to visit the area…

The Grande Roche Hotel

The hotel itself is unique in its positioning – a farm within a town, giving guests the best of both worlds. If you’ve left the city for a country escape, you’ll be happily ensconced in nature with lush flora and the backdrop of Paarl Rock. If you’re planning to explore the area, you’re close enough to everything to do just that.

The original land title was granted in 1717 and the land was farmed for many years, with vineyards being added by its original owner, Hermanus Bosman. The property became a hotel in 1992 but has retained some of the vineyards – these form part of the grounds around which several of the rooms are situated.

The Rooms

The hotel has 31 rooms dotted across the property, each with a unique position or story – some are restored coach and carriage houses, some worker’s quarters and one was even the original farm stable, now a luxury stand-alone room with a private sun terrace and enclosed patio.

Our room overlooked the vineyards awash in magnificent autumnal colours; out the front window, we watched the mist rolling in and consuming the valley below like a great, billowing beast. Fortunately, we were happily tucked up in our suite, enjoying a glass of wine and a book.

Terrace-Suite-Grand-Roche-Hotel

Our room overlooked the vineyards awash in magnificent autumnal colours…

There is something wonderfully nostalgic about the smell of thatch for me, especially on a day when the air is frosty and the air is scented with woodsmoke. Our pitched thatched roof added a layer of country charm to our suite, which was brightened with vibrant protea wallpaper.

Grand-Roche-Hotel-bathroom

The spacious bathroom with a large walk-in shower contrasted with slick, dark slate tiles and a mosaic feature in black and white. Fabulous shower pressure, underfloor heating and a gorgeously curved modern tub made this space both functional and fabulous.

The Hotel Grounds

The hotel boasts large grounds that are well worth a walk around. Gorgeously manicured gardens and hedges with rose bushes and, even as the seasons are changing, a riot of colour. The property also has a sweet little chapel that is 300 years old and has been the venue for many a wedding, christening and other celebrations.

Grand Roche also has a modern event venue – L’Atrium, that will speak to any plant-lovers soul, as it did to mine. A stunning space that is bursting with lush greenery, complemented by contemporary finishings – an amazing space for a special celebration, conference or party.

We also have to mention the lounge, which is a beautifully decorated and chic little nook complete with fabulous jungle wallpaper, velvet seating in bright jewel colours and a black and white chequered floor. This is an ideal spot for a morning coffee, an afternoon cocktail or just a natter with a friend. This room is opposite one of two pools on-site, the second one being located further up the property, alongside the spa.

Dining in Grand Style

The restaurant and bar are housed in the main manor house building; the gorgeous gold and black interior was designed by Francois du Plessis and is a glittering space just begging for a celebration. In fact, during our stay, the restaurant was host to an awards lunch and a 60th birthday wine-and-canapé-pairing party. The convivial atmosphere of a group of people chatting over tasty bites and clinking glasses is exactly what a space like this is designed for.Grande-Roche-interior

Gorgeous velvet seating in rich gold, statement chandeliers, and sharp-looking black cabinetry make this space stylish and thoroughly modern.

The food is taken care of by chef Kevin Grobler, a well-known name in the Winelands. The menu changes according to the season, so is a constant evolution that is tailored to what is available. We were booked in for the Pearl of Paarl package, which includes an overnight stay with breakfast,  signature cocktail, 4-course dinner at the restaurant including a bottle of wine, as well as a selection of canapés. We enjoyed the canapés while sipping on the ‘Pearl of Paarl’, a brandy-based cocktail that was created to mark the hotel’s 30th anniversary.

The restaurant and bar are housed in the main manor house building; the gorgeous gold and black interior was designed by Francois du Plessis and is a glittering space just begging for a celebration.

Chef-Kevin-Grobler-Grand-Roche-Hotel

Small Plates, Big Flavours

Small plate menus excite me and befuddle me in equal measure – I love all the choices but I am terrible at choosing. It is just as well then that we were doing 4 courses each, as this gave us the opportunity to sample 8 across the menu.

There were many highlights – we loved the pork pot stickers, dunked in sesame and chilli dipping oil with crispy bits. Also, the perfectly cooked fire-roasted fish course was a real stand-out, with a delicious cauliflower cream, crispy chorizo and wafer-thin slices of pickled pear for acidity. The pork belly dish was also expertly cooked; meltingly tender with a sweet, jammy nori glaze and caramelized onion mousse.

Positively popping by this point we opted to take our dessert to our room to give ourselves some breathing room. The gorgeous miso crème caramel that we enjoyed later was an absolute delight.

It was absolute bliss to sink into the comfy king bed and have a peaceful night’s sleep in the quiet of the Paarl countryside.

Visit Paarl

Grande Roche has been an important part of the Paarl landscape for many years – its legacy of fine hospitality and chic opulence is firmly rooted and continues to grow. As the seasons change, one thing remains constant, and that is that guests visiting the hotel can expect excellent service at all levels in gorgeous, ever-changing Wineland’s surroundings.


Book Your Pearl of Paarl Experience

Package #1

  • One night’s accommodation for two guests sharing and accommodated in a Terrace Suite (Full English Breakfast included)
  • Sunset canapés and signature cocktail of the day
  • A four-course sharing plate dinner experience at The Grande Roche Restaurant
  • A bottle of Under Oaks estate wine to be enjoyed with dinner

Priced at R5 450.00, based on 2 persons sharing*

Package #2

  • One night’s accommodation for two guests sharing and accommodated in a Terrace Suite (Full English Breakfast included)
  • Sunset canapés and signature cocktail of the day
  • A 4-course sharing plate dinner experience at The Grande Roche Restaurant
  • A bottle of selected Under Oaks estate wine to be enjoyed with dinner
  • A 60-minute couples’ massage

Priced at R6 950.00, based on two persons sharing*

Both packages may be extended upon request, with additional dates priced at R3 500 per room per night. This includes the accommodation for two persons sharing and daily Full English Breakfast. Both packages are available from 15 March 2023 until 30 September 2023 and are subject to availability.

To book the sharing plate experience or the Pearl of Paarl Accommodation Package contact the Grande Roche on 021 863 5100 or email.

The Grande Roche Hotel & Restaurant,  1 Plantasie St, Paarl 

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*Prices subject to change.

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