Last week felt like it would never end, I was exhausted, worn out, and in desperate need of a break; by the time Thursday came knocking and the weekend was almost in sight I had already started planning my escape (some ideas were a bit extreme I’ll admit, particularly the one about hijacking a boat and sailing to Madagascar). I opted, instead, for a much safer and less complicated plan B – armed with 2 good books, 1 laptop, 1 iPod (complete with newly downloaded playlists) and 2 haphazardly thrown together outfits (1 smart-casual, 1 casual) all stuffed into a small overnight bag along with minimal toiletries, I headed for Franschhoek – a small and exceptionally beautiful town in the Cape wine region, about 75km outside Cape Town. The streets of Franschooek (French Corner) are lined with French restaurants, patisseries, small European clothing boutiques, wine shops and organic farm stores; perfect for a weekend getaway.
Perhaps I should have titled this post, ‘in search of perfection.’ I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I booked myself into La Residence, since this was my first time staying in the area and my first experience of any of the Royal Portfolio hotels. The hotel itself is situated on a private 30-acre estate in the heart of the Franschhoek valley and enjoys breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains as well as the private vineyards of the estate; once you get past the surrounding beauty you will notice that it boasts the most uniquely exquisite rooms, decadently decorated entrance way, phenomenal food cooked by their in house chef, and service on par with that of any true Royal residence (or at least what I would imagine Royal service might be like).
Despite the torrential rain and bitter cold outside, I felt as though I had just found my very own slice of heaven. Quietly tucked away in my palatial room with it’s underfloor heating and super king sized bed (the bed even has stairs, and even those have underfloor heating), I was as comfortable as I could possibly be and as warm as toast; with little to do except drink the complimentary bottle of bubbly, disappear into the pool sized tub and dive into a good book, I decided to do exactly that.
Everything about this unique property screams luxury – although perhaps luxury isn’t the most fitting description, it’s more than luxurious, it is a personal oasis; the entire place creates a feeling of euphoria and a sense of complete serenity, as if there isn’t really a world beyond it’s walls.
La Residence is part of a portfolio of three boutique establishments in South Africa, The Royal Portfolio, which was established and is wholly owned by Liz and Phil Biden; Liz Biden is considered a South African icon as well as a global hotelier of note. Before these properties were hotels however, they were once the family’s holiday homes, and each one has been entirely designed and decorated by Liz.
Liz has an exceptional eye for detail; from the moment you step into the entrance hall at La Residence you begin to notice the exquisite decoration, and the breathtaking interior design extends far beyond the main building as each of the 11 rooms is individually colour coordinated and decorated to specific design. The finishing touches are added on a daily basis by the hotels tireless staff who are on hand at all hours of the day to tend to your every need, and the hotel’s dining room is already famous in South Africa as one of the Wineland’s most accomplished.
From the very second you arrive, to the heartbreaking moment when you leave, this haven of luxury will put all of your worries at ease; from the mind-altering food and endless flow of drinks, to the warmth and hospitality of the staff at La Residence – it really is in a class all of it’s own.
I think this may possibly be the most exceptionally relaxing, purely indulgent, completely luxurious weekend I have ever had – a big thank you to the incredible staff who made my stay so unforgettable, you are one of a kind.
La Residence | Elandskloof Private Road, Elandskloof Farm, Franschhoek | +27 (0) 21 876 4100 | firstname.lastname@example.org