Mont Rochelle is the newest estate in the Virgin Limited Edition, chosen by Sir Richard Branson because he considers the Franschhoek Winelands as “truly one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa.”
What’s so special about Franschhoek?
It just happens that Mont Rochelle is situated on the most scenically beautiful valley, surrounded by imposing craggy mountains, positively bursting with wine estates that line the road leading into the village. The village itself has a single main street of charmingly quaint whitewashed buildings and an abundance of excellent restaurants. Reputed as the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, Franschhoek is the place to visit not only to sample its fabulous wines, but for its culinary flair too.
Most of the wine farms have French names because Franschhoek — translated as French Corner — accepted French Huguenots fleeing from religious persecution in the late 17th century. They soon integrated with the local Dutch Afrikaners; hence the reason many French Christian surnames still exist today.
Décor to Bring a Smile to your Face
It’s not surprising why Branson chose this valley for his latest property acquisition. With an idyllic climate (summers pleasantly warm and pollution free) and exquisite landscapes, there couldn’t have been a better backdrop to create a 22-room boutique hotel. In keeping with the local style of architecture, Mont Rochelle has refreshingly whitewashed exteriors and traditional roof thatching that perfectly complement Branson’s fun-loving and playful character.
Mont Rochelle’s ‘Miko’ Restaurant may take its blend of South African and international cuisine seriously, but that’s where the earnestness ends. Armchairs clad in artificial-lawn and fake-grass rugs, grazed by wirework sheep on the restaurant terrace, foster a sense of light-hearted fun. There are frivolous elements and bright colours everywhere around the hotel. Furthermore, the quality of art and design is such that you look around in admiration with a broad smile on your face. Notwithstanding the amazing interiors, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the view. It fills your vision with neat vineyards that flow beyond to the village of Franschhoek, continuing further out to the imposing Klein Dassenberg Mountains.
The Pleasures of Mont Rochelle
One of the simplest pleasures in life while staying at Mont Rochelle is chilling out by a swimming pool. In this case, on loungers beside a beautiful heated outdoor pool with bar service, complimentary sunscreen and an ice-cold face cloth for those sizzling summer days. Another treat is Mont Rochelle’s Africology Spa, with intriguing jars full of fragrant ground spices like cloves, ginger and even red chillies, which you add to a body mud treatment in the steam hammam. Life at Mont Rochelle is all about taking life less seriously, and there’s nowhere better in which to lift your spirits.