Our longest journey as a household but started in Boston at 4 a.m. on a Wednesday and ended a day and a half later, about an hour east of Cape City, within the Cape Winelands. Often known as the culinary and winemaking capital of South Africa, we had chosen to begin our 10-day April journey to South Africa wandering by means of vineyards, chasing guinea hens, and gorging on native delicacies. And the area wouldn’t disappoint.

In 2014, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Restricted Version opened Mont Rochelle, a 96-acre, 26-room, one-villa property in Franschhoek. The property is break up into two distinct parcels. On the far aspect, the place the vineyard is situated — we stopped in for a go to after a refreshing sleep on our second day — visitors will discover The Nation Kitchen. With every keep, visitors obtain a complimentary wine tasting of the vineyard’s star performers, just like the steely Mont Rochelle Sauvignon Blanc or the strong and reserved Miko Syrah.

We stayed on the secondary parcel, close to reception. In that cozy nook, a hearth was usually burning within the cool fall mornings and evenings. Our Pinotage Suite room class included an ample lounge with house each for a sectional couch and two twin beds and a separate bed room with a king-sized mattress, in addition to a big open toilet with a double-headed walk-in bathe and freestanding tub.

All room classes, of which there are 5 (starting with the entry-level Shiraz room and ending with the Cap Classique Suite, which has its personal plunge pool), include complimentary use of the mini-bar and gifted bottles of white and crimson wine.

One sunny afternoon, once I retreated to the spa for a therapeutic massage, my husband and boys headed first to the heated pool and subsequent to the extensive garden for a recreation of cornhole. We spent two nights at Mont Rochelle, eating, on our first evening, at Miko, the on-premises high quality eating venue. Whereas my husband and I loved a multi-course tasting menu of venison, beef, and lamb, our youngsters ordered from a curated youngsters menu — after which promptly went to snuggle on the restaurant’s fireplace-facing sofa.

Within the golden-hued remaining hours of our keep, as we surveyed the rosy gentle washing over the property, it was unattainable to not really feel fairly fortunate. Mont Rochelle is imbued with not solely luck but in addition good cheer. It’s a scrumptious little getaway for those who can spare the time.

Right here, my evaluate of Mont Rochelle — and what it is best to know earlier than reserving your keep.

Mont Rochelle

  • The property’s spacious, snug rooms made for a heat and welcoming respite on the finish of the night — and our room opened immediately into the backyard.
  • Mont Rochelle is virtually inside strolling distance to the city of Franschhoek, the place you may catch the Franschhoek Wine Tram to different neighboring properties for tastings. However you don’t should stroll into city as a result of the concierge can prepare a shuttle without cost.
  • Each room price consists of two bottles of wine, a complimentary mini-bar, and a tasting at The Nation Kitchen, the on-premises informal restaurant.
  • Miko, the high quality eating restaurant, serves impeccable delicacies and leans right into a small backyard outdoors the principle constructing.

The Rooms

Jack Brockway/Courtesy of Mont Rochelle

Our 893-square-foot Pinotage suite had one giant bed room and a separate lounge, a bar, a big toilet with a walk-in bathe and freestanding tub, and entry to the backyard. The lodge embraces a impartial palette, with flashes of shade all through, like a vibrant pop-art rendering of Nelson Mandela within the foyer bar. It’s a subdued house with gentle earth tones. Mont Rochelle takes a cue from the atmosphere, which is principally agricultural, preferring a extra delicate decor and sensibility.

Jack Brockway/Courtesy of Mont Rochelle

Mont Rochelle’s 5 complete room classes are named for grape varieties and kinds of South African wine: Shiraz, the entry-level lodging, Merlot, and Cabernet are all conventional rooms, whereas the Pinotage and Cap Classique are suites. The latter additionally comes with its personal plunge pool. Friends also can guide the Manor Home, a four-bedroom villa close to the winery and tasting room at Nation Kitchen. It might probably accommodate as much as eight adults and 6 kids within the bunk room and affords its personal personal pool.

Meals and Drink

Wil Punt/Peartree Images/Courtesy of Mont Rochelle

There are two eating places at Mont Rochelle. The resort hosts breakfast every morning at Miko, situated close to reception. Contemporary fruit, tiny pots of verrine — primarily clotted cream with sugar draped in strawberry jam — cheeses, charcuterie, cereals, and yogurts are provided in a chilly buffet, and visitors are additionally invited to order from a sizzling menu.

For lunch and dinner, the restaurant is a extra formal affair. On our first evening, we dined at Miko and accepted the choice for a tasting menu, a parade of good dishes: ash-cured venison loin with a leek purée, grass-fed beef filet with carrots, and a tackle millionaire’s shortbread that was nothing of the kind.

adam slama/Courtesy of Mont Rochelle

Lunch at The Nation Kitchen, although casual, was no much less scrumptious. Hen wings have been licked with smoke, and corn ribs have been so delectable that they didn’t stand an opportunity towards my kids’s appetites. Shaded by hibiscus and citrus timber, it’s snug and wonderful, precisely the place one would possibly whereas away a day over a glass (or two) of wine.

Actions and Facilities

Hannah Selinger/Journey + Leisure

Anybody can stroll the grounds and expertise the wine life at Mont Rochelle, which I did my first morning alongside Gustav Coetzee, the property’s farm and upkeep supervisor (the winemaker is Michael Langenhoven). Coetzee talked me by means of the winery’s advanced historical past, the plots, and the rising practices. “We don’t allow them to bear fruit in two years, like most guys do,” he informed me. “I push them for 3, so that you lose a yr.” The end result, he mentioned, is extra concentrated and flavorful juice.

Jack Brockway/Courtesy of Mont Rochelle

Past the winery and attendant vineyard, visitors can take a look at the good-sized pool with an out of doors bar and different outside amusements, like croquet and cornhole for youths and adults alike. A complimentary shuttle is accessible for rides out and in of the village — and likewise to wineries which are inside an inexpensive distance, ought to visitors select to go to, as we did neighboring Klein Goederust, the place there’s spit-fired lamb on weekends or Maison Property, which serves deep-grooved oysters with their flights of wines (at an additional value).

If visitors want to carry again a memento, a small present store at reception sells bespoke reminders of the realm. The property additionally boasts a petite fitness center and an astroturf-covered, floodlit tennis courtroom. Reservations should not required.

The Spa

The Mont Rochelle Spa options two therapy rooms and a hammam, obtainable for scheduled therapies and visitors’ use if obtainable. Africology, an eco-friendly model that makes use of important oils and plant extracts, works with the property on its signature spa merchandise. Friends who select the Spagista pedicure or the {couples}’ Devotion Journey therapeutic massage may even be serving to to help the property’s Kusasa Challenge; 15 % of the therapy value of those therapies is donated to help this challenge, which is a totally accredited impartial main college.

Accessibility and Sustainability

Mont Rochelle has restricted all plastic bottles and now serves filtered water in branded, reusable glass bottles. The Vineyard and Vineyards are licensed members of IPW Scheme, which ensures that South African producers give attention to sustainable winemaking practices. The Vineyard and Winery are one in every of solely 10 EnviroWines-accredited members, which means that the cellar and vineyards have acquired distinctions for IPW audits since 2017. Mont Rochelle has put in Raptor Poles in and across the property, permitting raptors — environmentally useful birds of prey — to roost in these synthetic perches.

“A professor at Stellenbosch College believes that they want at the least seven meters to do their swoop, catch what they should catch as a result of they do sit on these poles, however they don’t decide up sufficient velocity to catch the rodents,” Gustav Coetzee, who helped arrange this system, informed me on our winery stroll. “I believed we might go a little bit larger. They do appeal to my feathered mates.”

The property affords accessible parking, well-lit entry to the lodge, elevator entry, ground-floor bedrooms, and curbless bathe entry in devoted rooms. Accessible rooms are outfitted with a bathe seat and a hand-held, in addition to a waterfall bathe. There may be additionally stage entry to the restaurant and bar and accessible seating inside Miko, the first restaurant.


Positioned simply over an hour from Cape City Worldwide Airport, visitors require a automotive or employed driver to achieve this property.

Find out how to Get the Most Worth Out of Your Keep

The property’s lowest charges may be discovered between Could 1 and Sept. 30 of every yr.

Greater than Simply One Journey

adam slama/Courtesy of Ulusaba Safari Lodge

Mont Rochelle wasn’t the one Branson property we loved spending time at, both. From Franschhoek, we have been escorted — with assist from the luxurious tour operator Ker & Downey — to Cape City Worldwide Airport, the place we caught a flight to Johannesburg and one other, smaller flight to Skukuza, inside Kruger Nationwide Park.

From there, a tour information and driver named Pony drove us to Ulusaba Safari Lodge, a personal recreation reserve in Sabi Sand, which lies adjoining to Kruger Nationwide Park. Branson’s 20-room-and-suite lodge is unfold throughout two properties: Safari Lodge and Rock Lodge. There, we have been met at reception by our subject information, Henry Woest, and our tracker, George Mnisi, who would spend three days exhibiting us the unbelievable wildlife of the Sabi Sand reserve. (It didn’t harm that our keep included the top-tier lodging at Cliff Lodge 1, the three,552-square-foot, two-bedroom villa that juts out over the rocks and overlooks the watering gap under.)

I treasured the stark distinction between the manicured fields of the Winelands and the gruff boundaries of the bush. Luxurious has totally different meanings in journey. In Franschhoek, it’s decidedly rooted in meals and wine, and at a spot like Ulusaba, it’s within the deep-seated information and hospitality of the employees. If it had not been for our subject information and tracker, maybe we’d have missed the chameleon on the aspect of the street at the hours of darkness or the jackal nested down in a subject.

It was a surprising coda to a Branson journey, with new surprises at each flip: leopards stalking prey in tall grasses, lions roaring toes from us within the ink-black evening, venomous puff adders scooting throughout the street.

However there’s no strategy to adequately quantify a Branson expertise in only a few phrases. It’s not both/or. Safari or Winelands. Backyard or bush. In our visits, we discovered a powerful sense of hospitality that emanated from the Virgin portfolio and that we might take dwelling with us, as positive as a memento, as positive as a reminiscence of a sundowner from the roof of a Land Rover Defender overlooking the river. Is {that a} hippo over there? You by no means can inform. 

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