Indulging the Senses at Franschhoek Country House

Words: Julie Velosa

Travellers to the gorgeous Franschhoek Valley are spoilt for choice; whether it be luxury accommodation, award-winning wine or epic culinary pursuits, the options are endless. With so much to choose from, it can be challenging to find just the right spot to spend your precious vacation time. Our recent sojourn to Franschhoek Country House was “tout à fait charmant” (utterly charming) and not only met but exceeded our expectations entirely – a sensory experience that left us blissfully relaxed and thoroughly revitalised.Franschhoek-Country-House

Provençal Bliss

The boutique country property stands as a beacon of tranquillity; set just on the outskirts of the village, it is one of the larger properties in the area, with 25 inviting spaces that range from standard rooms and garden cottages to spacious luxury villas.

The main manor house, which interestingly was an old perfumery, has been transformed into a central point around which the rest of the village-style accommodation is situated. The Provençal-inspired look features buildings in a rustic gold colour, trimmed with soft teal.

Exposed face-brick, curlicued iron trims and columns create a feeling that you have stepped into the French countryside. Wrought-iron urns with aged patina are dotted around the gardens and are filled with fresh lemons, water flows gently from various fountains and archways covered with rambling roses and other flora create a tranquil haven. Garden enthusiasts will admire the beds overflowing with Crocosmia, Agapanthus, Lavender, and more.

The stylish country feel is carried through in the interior, which is both sophisticated and warm. Arched doorways, vaulted wood-trussed ceilings, and 4-poster beds with soft white linens make each room a sanctuary of comfort. Our villa was elegantly designed with French country-style furnishings and a panoramic view of the surrounding vineyards and mountains.

Exposed face-brick, curlicued iron trims and columns create a feeling that you have stepped into the French countryside.

The accommodation seamlessly blends modern amenities with Old-World charm, creating an ambience that is both inviting and refined. We loved the gorgeous bath, complete with bubbles and candles, as well as a built-in sound system with relaxing music that can be played throughout the suite. Whether you choose a cottage or a luxe villa, you’ll find yourself immersed in luxury, with thoughtful touches at every turn.

Franschhoek-country-house-Villa-Suite

A Feast at Monneaux Restaurant

Nestled within the estate is Monneaux Restaurant, offering a menu of exciting dishes that blend locally sourced produce with French and South African epicurean influences; dishes are extremely generous and beautifully presented.

If the weather permits, there is a gorgeous outdoor area, complete with soft candlelight, hedged garden and wall fountains, which creates an intimate setting that feels quite otherworldly – Bridgerton-esque, as someone commented.

We were invited to a unique pre-dinner experience – a gin tasting featuring three local gems paired with oysters. The intimate tasting featured gins from Distell (Cruxland), as well as Inveroche Amber and Six Dogs, each paired with an oyster with a topping that complemented the gin’s tasting notes. What we loved about the selection is that each gin was completely different from the next – each offering unique subtle complexity.

Although we loved them all, our favourite was a toss-up between the Zoo-biscuit-reminiscent Six Dogs and the warmth of the Inverroche Amber. Given its warm spicy notes, which reminded us a bit of the festive season, Inverroche ultimately won the day, with its accompanying oyster dressed with a nuanced truffle oil and citrus dressing.

Our meal featured lots of delicious bites but the stand-out dishes included the beef sirloin tartare with pickled shimeji mushrooms, Parmesan shavings and pan-fried shallots – we scraped up every last morsel. The lemongrass-glazed pork belly was also a winner, with charry red cabbage, miso crème and ginger and lemongrass foam. Rich, yet balanced and utterly yummy.

If the weather permits, there is a gorgeous outdoor area, complete with soft candlelight, hedged garden and wall fountains, which creates an intimate setting that feels quite otherworldly – ‘Bridgerton-esque’, as someone who I showed pictures to commented.

Although Franschhoek is awash with amazing dining experiences, it is great to be able to have an excellent meal onsite, especially after a day of being out and about exploring. If you’re not staying at the hotel you can also book in for lunch or dinner and enjoy the team’s hospitality and delicious food. (Bookings are currently open for Christmas Lunch).

Breakfast at Franschhoek Country House is also a veritable feast. A beautifully displayed spread is prepared, including everything you could wish for from local cheeses and charcuterie to freshly cut seasonal fruit. Cereals, pastries yoghurts and juices are all on offer, and that’s before you get to the cooked options!

I adored the hummus toast topped with fried aubergine, halloumi, avocado and almonds. This, along with a great cup of coffee, was the best way to wake up, so much so that I had it both mornings of our stay!

Pools of Bliss

One of the things we loved most about this property is the grassed swimming and relaxation area, featuring two pools, one cold and one heated. The pool area is surrounded by ample comfy loungers and umbrellas, and a dedicated server is there to take drinks and food orders throughout the day.Franschhoek-Country-House Pool Area

Freshly made lemonade and water are also provided, along with towels. All you need to do is arrive from your room with your book, your sunscreen and a plan to do nothing but settle in and relax. Possibly the only disturbance of the day is the Franschhoek Wine Tram, which passes by the hotel on one of its routes to and from various wine farms. The entertaining part is listening to how the voices and the revelry onboard comically increase as the day wears on and more farms are visited!

Why You Should Visit Franschhoek Country House

Beyond the walls of Franschhoek Country House lies a haven of serenity – a sensory indulgence in the best possible way. Whether breathing in the scent of fresh lemons and elderflower, basking in the warmth of sunshine at the pool or on your suite’s balcony loungers, or indulging in delicious food from Monneaux, you are spellbound by its magical touch.

The team’s dedication to creating an oasis where guests can escape the ordinary and embrace ultimate comfort is evident; the mood is serene without feeling standoffish and every staff member we encountered was friendly, and accommodating. A stay at Franschhoek Country House is not merely a getaway; from the moment you step onto the estate until the time you bid farewell, each moment is a celebration of the finer things in life, leaving you with memories that linger long after your journey comes to an end.

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