| Everyday Luxury Luxury Travel Africa South Africa

Total Opulence at La Residence, Franschhoek


Described as a ‘modern Versailles in miniature’ and awarded a near perfect score by Conde Nast Traveller, it’s clear to see why La Residence in Franschhoek has been voted one on the best hotels in world.


This is a hotel, so luxe that it actually includes a suite specifically designed for Elton John! The owner is a good friend of Sir Elton, and he stays there whenever he is it town, he’s even been known to hire the whole place out.

Lush gardens, a gorgeous lake and five vineyards surround the hotel itself.


And there’s plenty of pretty places to sit and enjoy a glass of wine.

The beautiful sienna walls have a natural yet luxe feeling to them…

And are perfect for striking a fashion blogger pose… That’s my white Theory dress, ideal for swanning around in Vineyards on a hot day.

Conde Nast wasn’t the only publication to give La Residence high accolades; the Telegraph has also voted it one of the 50 best and it made the Tatler top 101.

Our room, the Tang Suite, was every bit as palatial as the exterior. The bed had a soft, sage green velvet headboard and it was draped in red silk.

The room was strongly accented in red with an Asian theme and plush velvet chairs, a large sofa, Oriental rugs and Chinese scrolls on the wall. A huge glittering chandelier hung from the ceiling…completing a totally luxurious picture.



Fresh flowers, fruit and a chilled bottle of sparkling wine awaited us. There was also a bottle of rose from the hotel’s own vineyard waiting for us by the bed.

I also loved the beautiful antique Chinese wardrobe… which doubled up as….

Literally the best all-inclusive mini bar ever!! I don’t think I’ve ever arrived at a hotel and had five bottles of wine that I’m free to consume… plus crisps (rosemary and rock salt I might add), chocolate and biscuits…I have to say it took real restraint not to pack a bag of stuff as sustenance for our upcoming road trip. I modestly took a few packets of crisps with me.

I loved the fact that the bar also included full coffee and tea making facilities as well as limes and cocktail tools. At La Residence you can pay a bed and breakfast rate that includes local beverages or go full throttle and enjoy full board. We decided not to do the latter as there were so many incredible restaurants in the surrounding area to enjoy.

And best of all was the bathroom…

Here we were greeted by more Chinese rugs, a huge free-standing bath tub, a elegant glass hanging light and gilt trimmed mirrors.


Not to mention more gold carvings on the wall, a regal red velvet sofa, huge full length mirrors and loads of soft fluffy towels.


Leading out from the bathroom was our veranda and garden looking out on to the vineyards and mountains beyond.
Definitely time to crack open the rose. The pictures look a little cloudy but the weather was actually absolutely perfect.
A few friends even came to join us.
There are eleven room and five larger suites at La Residence and everyone of them is completely different, decorated in a unique style. For example, The Maharani Suite where Elton John stays has sumptuous Indian-style decor with marble stairs leading up to the bed and lashing of gold accents.
When deciding where we’d stay in The Winelands I’d been torn between La Residence and the Delaire Graff estate and in the end the glowing reviews of La Residence had swayed me. Now my lovely readers, I’ll be honest with you as gorgeous and luxurious as this hotel was, I couldn’t help but find all these lavish furnishings a little OTT and preferred the more modern, minimalist style of the Delaire Graff estate. I only mention this as I want you to be fully informed but it is totally a matter of taste.
Having said that, what really stood out about La Residence was the service. Like Ellerman House,¬†guests are encouraged to treat the place like home….and if home is decked out with chandeliers, original artwork and statues then so be it! Seriously though, nothing was too much trouble at this hotel; they organised our wine tasting, booked us dinner at the most exclusive restaurant in Franschhoek and provided me with a special cream to sooth my insect bites.
There is only one main hall at La Residence, and its opulence exceeds the bedroom, decorated with large gilt mirrors, gold statues, Indian chandeliers, antiques, original artwork and large displays of fresh flowers.
It really was like stepping back in time to the banqueting hall of a grand palace. Having said that it was very relaxed and informal, we had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant one night and we had extremely lovely and personal service.

The restaurant is reserved for guests of the hotel only and the white tables clothes and soft lighting coupled with the lavish surrounding felt incredibly cosy and romantic. Before we made our selection from the menu, the chef came out to ask if we were happy with everything and if we’d like any changes, which I thought was a lovely and personal touch.

The simple food fit in with the relaxed feel of the place and was all very tasty. We chose starters of grilled prawns served with figs and salad, along with sweet melon and prosciutto. Main courses were sole with a potato gratin and malay spiced cauliflower for me; beef medallions with rosemary potato fondant and mixed veg for Mr S. The ingredients are beautiful and fresh, many of which are plucked from the estate’s own garden and then prepared by Chef Lennard Marais who previously worked at The Table Bay Hotel and Ellerman House.


Flourless dark chocolate cake with fresh berries and vanilla ice-cream.


Rose infused panna cotta, salted caramel and spice shortbread.


After dinner in the balmy night, we sat out on the terrace finishing our wine and taking in the gorgeous views.

Breakfast is really special at La Residence and we sat in the gorgeous courtyard admiring the gardens and the infinity pool while we munched on hot buttered toast and piled our plates from the beautiful and small but perfectly formed buffet. There’s an a la carte menu too for hot breakfasts but in the glorious hot sun I was content with salmon and fruit from the buffet.

Though you may find it a little extravagant, a stay at La Residence not only feels like a night at a palace, but you’ll be treated like royalty too.

La Residence
Elandskloof Private Road
Elandskloof Farm
South Africa

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