Mont Rochelle in Franschhoek ticks all the hotel boxes


DEAR Lord Branson – or may I call you Sir Richard? We’ve never met but I sense you’ll probably be okay with Richard. I spent the night at your Mont Rochelle last week and I must say I’m very impressed.

I have occasion to overnight in a wide variety of hospitality establishments (surely nowhere near as many as you do, I’m sure) and it’s been my experience that even the best ones slip up somewhere along the line, usually in small ways. It’s a bit like relationships; none of them is perfect, ain’t that the sad truth? But Mont Rochelle did splendidly in the ratings.

Autumn perfection in one picture

First of all, that view. Well done! I got there close to sunset and was able to take a few pretty pictures of the golden hue on the mountains. Quite spectacular. When I got to my room in the Vineyard Wing (see top of this letter), I was delighted to find the best, most squishiest feet pillows. You probably know these better as slippers, but when they are this comfy, they are just like pillows for my happy feet. I enjoyed the last of the dusk view with a glass of bubbly on my private stoep. Suggestions of a spa treatment in the morning were made, and briefly entertained, but my stay was brief and when I saw the swing, I knew exactly where I’d be spending my last few precious hours.

Feet pillows!

I love the thoughtful little touches in a hotel. It makes zero difference to their functionality but I do fancy the padded satin clothes hangers with ribbons tied into little bows. I know we’re supposed to be all in favour of gender equality these days but I think we can all feel a tiny bit feminine sometimes. Oh and the magnifying mirrors! Not one, but two! Thank you so much for that. I can’t see a bloody thing without my glasses and they are the only way I can put on my makeup properly.

The little rubber duck is the cutest thing. I was told I could take it with me (full disclosure: I probably would have done so anyway but it’s good to have permission instead of awkward explanations afterwards). I believe you have different ones at all your properties. Maybe one day I will collect them all. While we’re in the bathroom, good choice on the Africology toiletries and goodies: luxurious, natural and eco-friendly. And the fragrance is divine!

The room itself, with the open-plan bathroom, was most comfortable, and I marvelled at the almost-silent air conditioning, and its recessed position which prevented the room from being a fridge yet kept it at an acceptable temperature for me. You have no idea how often I fight with my plus one about this. Your decor people were very clever to have identified the Protea as a motif, some years ago, I believe? So on trend right now.

It’s jolly decent of you to include the mini bar fridge…well, its contents anyway. Slightly disturbing that this distinction needs to be pointed out. What kind of guests have you had in the past that necessitates this? More questions than answers.

Last but not least, the food was outstanding. We were there for one of your winemaker’s dinners, so we got the full experience of some gorgeous wines. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was well worth staying up past my bedtime for, but that’s (literally) another story. A log fire at breakfast during winter is one reason to get up in the morning, as are the hot meals which extend beyond Full English and Eggs Benedict.

Something different for breakfast – Moroccan-style frittata

Thank you again for a lovely stay.

Warm regards


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