Set on a hill overlooking the picturesque valley and village of Franschhoek, Mont Rochelle is a understatedly luxurious hotel and winery with breathtaking views of the neighboring vineyards and Klein Dassenberg mountains. Fruit and wine have been cultivated in Franschhoek, just one hour outside of Cape Town, since the 18th century when French Huguenots fled to the Cape to escape religious persecution in France.
The thatch-roofed property was taken over by Virgin Limited Edition, wholly owned by Sir Richard Branson, in 2014, and given a complete makeover. My family and I decided that Mont Rochelle would be the perfect first stop on our South African adventure, a place to unwind and adjust after a 24+ hour journey to South Africa from Los Angeles.
With 100 acres of grounds, 22 well-appointed rooms with views galore, 2 restaurants, a spa with a hammam and a heated pool, Mont Rochelle has everything you’d want while on a idyllic getaway. You can relax by the pool or underneath a charming portico, drink the region’s wine and dine at world-class restaurants, enjoy a picnic in the vineyards, and for those who are more active like myself, the Winelands offers wine tours, horseback riding, hiking, biking, fishing and golf. I chose to spend most of my time on property (can you blame me?) but when I did venture out, my favorite destinations were Babylonstoren, a historic Cape Dutch farm dating back to 1692 that boasts one of the best preserved farmyards in the Cape, and La Petite Ferme, which is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the region.
The Winelands are a wonderful year-round destination and boast a mild Mediterranean climate, somewhat like the South of France or the Napa Valley, which is what makes the area perfect for grape-growing. Summer is the reverse of the Northern hemisphere, so my end of March timing was still considered summer season. The best season to visit is considered September to March when it is hot, sunny and dry. From April to August is when it cools down with some rain in the region.
I spent 3 nights and 4 days at Mont Rochelle
, and savored every last minute. From the welcoming staff, to the peaceful guest room balconies overlooking the vineyards, to the hard-to-beat food and wine, we were in heaven.
My favorite part of every day there was the morning time. My family and I would meet on the outdoor patio of the Miko restaurant for coffee and breakfast, enjoying the serene quiet and peacefulness of Franschhoek. I will definitely be returning there soon.