Mont Rochelle, boutique luxury among South African vineyards
In the western part of South Africa, along the foothills of the Cederberg and the Hawequa Mountains, the soil is perfect for growing grapes. Seeing this, the earliest European settlers of the land, the Dutch folk and the French Huguenots of Cape Town, began planting vines and creating their own wines. It only took a few centuries for the rest of the world to discover the excellence of South African viticulture, and today the region is a popular stop for travellers seeking out a glass of red or white perfection. The centre of wine production in South Africa is now the town of Franschhoek, meaning the “French Corner,” and this is where you can find the resplendent boutique resort of Mont Rochelle Hotel and Vineyard, at the foot of the mountain of the same name. With its three-stories clad in white beneath a slate grey roof, featuring the unique arch gables of the Dutch period, Mont Rochelle looks every bit the country estate, and the winery remains fully active, featuring daily wine tastings and tours of the 150-year-old wine cellar – once used to store fruits from the local orchards.
The estate occupies 39 hectares, or about 100 acres, of rolling countryside in the valley of Franschhoek, and bespoke tours of the region can be an excellent way to enjoy the views of the vineyards and mountains scenery. A temperature-controlled 12-metre outdoor pool stands along Mont Rochelle’s main building, and the hotel is completely child-friendly, offering babysitting services.
Lavish Relaxation among Vineyards and Mountain Peaks
The Mont Rochelle estate, operated by Richard Branson’s Virgin Unlimited consortium of hotels, features a total of 26 guestrooms, capable of hosting a total of 52 guests. In the central building, shaped in a U, 44 guests can enjoy 22 suites and rooms, divided into five classifications; in order of smallest to largest they are the four Shiraz rooms, the six Merlot, the six Cabernet with terraces, the four Pinotage with lounges, and finally the two penthouse options, the Cap Classique Suites. The grounds are also home to the recently opened Manor House, a grand and spacious villa that features a plunge pool, a dedicated chef, as well as a loft suite and lounge room. Mont Rochelle also provides its guests with extensive spa services, including two spa treatment rooms, and all guests are welcome to use the Turkish Hammam when it is not booked for spa clientele. A fitness centre is also available on the grounds, along with tennis, golf, and personalised picnic tours of the estate.
An Old Huguenot Town Comes Alive
While you relax at Mont Rochelle, your concierge will be pleased to organize any activities that suit your interests and energies. Horseback explorations of the nearby nature reserves are easy to schedule, and a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails are close at hand. The small town of Franschhoek is a nationally renowned touring site, with a museum depicting the struggles of the early French Huguenot settlers, and its small avenues are filled with excellent boutique stores and shops. The wineries of the valley all provide extensive wine tasting tours, as well. Following your travels in the region, you can enjoy fine dining at Mont Rochelle’s own establishments, Miko Restaurant and the Country Kitchen. Miko can offer breakfast and luncheon menus, along with several glorious cocktails from the Mont Rochelle Bar, and the Country Kitchen offers lighter fare, with a children’s menu and al fresco dining available. As the sun sets in the western mountains, enjoy your rest on Mont Rochelle luxurious beds, at the heart of South Africa’s grand vineyard region.