Monday, January 21, 2013

HOTEL CHECK SOUTH AFRICA, Mont Rochelle

Mont Rochelle is a quiet boutique property that is partly new, rebuilt after a fire. It offers a peaceful country air and lovely views down onto the Franschhoek valley, reached by the first turn to the right as you enter the Franschhoek  village from Stellenbosch. It takes a few minutes by car into the village, and its own winery a walk away.

View down into the valley and vines
The resort's special attraction is the Mange Tout restaurant, which is excellent and rated among the top 10 in Franschhoek. Apart from reasonable and delicious food, it is a round room affording an almost circular view. Very romantic to watch the night fall over the jagged blue Franschhoek mountains as you wait to start a 5 course degustation  menu at 350 zar (excluding the paired wines). There is a second Mediterranean lunch restaurant  close by at the Mont Rochelle winery / wine tasting establishment. (Walk, some 5-10 minutes.)

Breakfasts with a view and imaginative hot items
Breakfasts in Mange Tout are very South African in the best sense. Enough food for an entire day of jogging, cycling, surfing or mountain climbing. The buffet, silhouetted on tiered plates against the stunning view, includes the usual things like lots of yoghurt types, fresh baked loaves inviting eating, and blueberry muffins.

Franschhoek scrambled egg with smoked trout
and chives, farm bread

But it’s the hot menu which bubbles over with imagination including the above "Franshhoek scrambled egg" with trout; rosti breakfast with potato pancake, egg and “stricky” bacon; beef sausage; South African omelette with biltong (traditional South African dried meat with salt and herbs); and poached egg Florentine. We are actually not so far removed from Florence here, in the sense of the Mediterranean climate and vineyards, but we are closer to France of course, as it is the Huguenots (French Protestants who fled Catholic persecution) that founded Franshhoek and gave a rocket launch to the wine industry.

Back again at dinner....

Delicious tomato soup presented with funky touch in a jam jar


Kingklip dressed up


Passion fruit souffle

When it comes to service, the smiles of staff were sunny and genuine. There is a spa which is small, pretty and cute, and a swimming pool with a view.

Rooms

View from a Cap Classique suite

Mont Rochelle does have some very  large suites – like our Cap Classique (rack 9900 zar at peak).

View from the suite lounge - plunge pool and walls of glass

This Cap Classique suite opened out through both lounge and bedroom onto a grassy terrace overlooking a rural scene and mountains. A tractor trundled by to emphasize the charmingly rural atmosphere. The lounge could have seated 8, comfortably. There were two sunbeds and a small plunge pool, a Jacuzzi bath in the bathroom, two WCs, and two desks (or perhaps that extra "desk" by the walkin cupboard was actually a make-up/dressing table, in addition to the long double vanities in the bathroom which had plenty place for making up). Yes - this suite is very well equipped, but only takes two guests despite all the room..


Plunge pool of our suite

One of the sofas in the large lounge of the suite

Dining area in the extensive lounge

The leadin room types are compact in the old building Shiraz, Merlot rooms and Cabernet rooms, some with balcony.

Sitting area of Cabernet room
Balcony and view of the village

We saw a neat Pinotage room (a Junior Suite)  in the new wing, not large but atmospheric with thatched ceiling and beams, small balcony,  lounge,  nice view and feel. Some bathrooms quite large.

Bedroom Pinotage junior suite

Lounge Pinotage junior suite
Bathroom Pinotage junior

Who to stay

Couples who appreciate rural setting, haunting views and great food – and a more old fashioned air. Children also welcome (only in Pinotage suites).

In a nutshell

Mont Rochelle: 16 rooms and 6 suites, spa, excellent Mange Tout fine dining restaurant, Country Kitchen lunch restaurant, bar, winery. You get stunning views, old fashioned air and quality hardwood furniture. 5 minutes taxi to Franschhoek. Friendly staff. Wine tasting. Picnics, riding.

How to get to Mont Rochelle

45 minutes by car from Cape Town International Airport

Select added values

Hand-made chocolates and fruit in the room. Complimentary upgrade, early checkin and late checkout if space is available.

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