Mont Rochelle has the wow factor. Turning off an unassuming road, you’re led up a large private drive to a grand entrance and the sense of arrival is palpable. Once you reach the top of the estate, the panoramic views of the valley are incredible; you can see Franschhoek’s stretch of shops and restaurants sitting prettily below, the deep green of grapevines in the forefront, and the dramatic mountains rising beyond. The space is seemingly endless and within moments, you feel peaceful.
Whether it’s the passionate staff, or the fun details like the giant chess set on the lawn, it’s easy to see why Mont Rochelle feels so special. There are just 26 bedrooms within the estate’s 100 acres, creating a romantic setting surrounded by vineyards and the sweeping valley. It’s one of Sir Richard Branson’s exclusive range of properties and it shows; the service is so warm it hardly feels like service at all. Many guests leave feeling like they’ve been welcomed into the family. The estate is around a mile from Franschhoek, with twice daily transfers into the town a day, so it’s easy to see the local sights and return to your grand, 100-acre estate. Wine tastings are available in the 150-year-old wine cellar as well as MIKO Restaurant, the clean-lined and quirky international venue, and Country Kitchen, the bright and airy informal restaurant. Sip on a few glasses of Mont Rochelle’s finest and drink in the classic Wineland views.
The 26 rooms are found in and around the main hotel building with four in the separate Manor House a short walk or drive away. Rooms and suites complement the sublime surroundings with an elegant palette of taupe and white accented with colourful headboards and statement chairs. All have king-size or twin beds and differ in size and view, starting with Shiraz Rooms which look out to the courtyard or valley, while upgrading to a Merlot Room gives you more space and lovely valley views. Pinotage Suites feature a separate lounge and excellent views. Cabernet Rooms and Cap Classique Suites are cleverly hidden in the hillside in the Vineyard Wing, and the latter has its own plunge pool. Manor House has four rooms and a bunk room, as well as common areas, a kitchen, heated outdoor pool and a gym, and can be booked for exclusive use – a popular choice for groups and families.