Cape Town, Franschhoek
The Abridged: A total pleasure palace, Mary Antoinette herself would feel right at home here. Each room is painstakingly decorated with curios from around the world, though, ensconced by the Franschhoek Valley, it is nature that takes centre stage.
La Residence’s terracotta exterior looks as though it has sat amongst the rolling Franschhoek hills for centuries, though it is in fact a purpose-built property by the Biden family. There grandest, and most lavish project at the time (that was until the pioneering Silo took the top spot in 2016) it raised the already very high bar amongst Franschhoek’s already sparkling hotel circuit. The property was opened and is still managed by the long serving Edward Morton whose charm and charisma permeate every corner of this jewel of a hotel. There’s little wonder La Residence frequently finds itself on the list of some of the world’s top hotels.
Each of the property’s 11 suites and five Vineyard suites has had every fixture and furnishing handpicked by Liz Biden herself (The Royal Portfolio’s “chief shopper” as her husband, Rob Biden fondly refers to her). Not one to play it safe expect plush Persian rugs, glittering Indian chandeliers, textured fabrics, ornate vases, gilded mirrors, hand-painted dressers, all packed into one suite, tied together with an overarching colour palette. Even the bathroom toiletries match the colour combinations. Oh and each one comes with a pair of silk dressing gowns, naturally.
Occupying 300-acres of working farmland, as much as possible of La Residence’s produce comes from their own land, and what doesn’t is sourced locally. And you can taste the difference. Seasonal menus of Springbok, … … and … are paired with wines aged round the corner. Though international bottles are available - when in Rome? Unlike some other hotels in Franschhoek, La Residence is not open to outside guests (unless by prior appointment) so you’ll have the place call to yourself for lunch and dinner.
The main hotel is also a strictly “adults only” area, which maintains a sense of decorum in keeping with the property’s refined atmosphere. The main suites are reserved for adults, whilst the Villa Suites are for those with children, and by no means less luxurious.This includes a separate pool, dining, and living areas. Adults: rejoice! There are excellent baby sitting facilities, so you can sneak off and dine with the grown ups. That said, it’s really one to leave the little ones at home.
The perfect guest: Honeymooners; Old Romantics
Best time to visit: November to April, officially, but we love the autumnal feel of May-October.
Spa: Yes Gym: Yes
Best Room: The Tibetan or Huguenot Suites
Wi-Fi: Yes. Pet Friendly: Not. Room Service: Absolutely.
Rates: From £846 per room per night. Inc. Breakfast & Taxes.
For bookings click here.
Words and photography by Megan Lambert.