From the gatehouse to Mont Rochelle Hotel, a winding road takes you through the vineyards and fields for horses. As you climb the mountain you can feel the troubles of the "real world" slowly slip away, as if tugged on by the relaxation forces of gravity.
How's that for a view?
By the time you reach the top, it just takes a glass of bubbles and the view - that wide-open vista that is the Franschhoek valley beneath - to produce total relaxation. This is what you pay for at Mont Rochelle.
A growing love
Each time we are fortunate enough to be welcomed back to Mont Rochelle, I love the hotel more. If your primary goal for visiting is to unwind that stiff coil of stress, in a luxurious yet natural setting, this is the hotel for you.
But... But where's the bidet? Having asked that, this just oozes glamour from floor to ceiling.
There are 16 rooms and six suites as well as a residents-only library and lounge. Even standard rooms are large. Furnishing is in a comfortable, classic if a little staid, style. We stayed in suite 28, their cap classic premium corner suite - which aside from the comfort of a king size bed and very large separate lounge and dining area, has a private terrace and plunge pool that makes it special.
It has a Hollywood-style bathroom that oozes glamour with its floor to ceiling ceramic tiles, corner spa bath for two (or possibly even three) and double vanities with marble surfaces and splash backs. Although there is a separate loo, I am always surprised when luxury rooms are built without installing bidets in the toilets, especially considering the owner's European pedigree. There is a guest loo too at the entrance of the suite. I looked forward to the Bulgari Green Tea products that they had in the bathroom previously but they now use Molton Brown products.
A cosy hideaway on one of those crisp winter days - and nights.
The downside of the suite's position is having to walk up or down two flights of stairs to reach it but for those who are fitter than I am, the seclusion is a boon.
There are two quality restaurants on the estate, the fine-dining Mange Touts in the main hotel that serves up contemporary dishes with a focus on local, organic where possible and using hand crafted or reared produce and The Country Kitchen that is based in the winery and serves warming and welcoming country fare.
We used the hotel's supply of bicycles to explore Franschhoek, which was marvellous going down hill but for me, anyway, an impossible slog back up.
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