Mont Rochelle

Fran­schhoek, Cape Town South Africa

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - | BY HELÉNE RAMACKERS Pho­tographs cour­tesy of Vir­gin Lim­ited Edi­tion and by Heléne Ramackers

Sur­rounded by the most breath­tak­ing moun­tains in Cape Town’s Fran­schhoek val­ley, Mont Rochelle sits firmly perched amongst the vine­yards, mak­ing it the ul­ti­mate get­away for wine drinkers and food­ies alike.

It goes with­out say­ing that when Sir Richard Bran­son pur­chases a prop­erty any­where in the world to add to the very ex­clu­sive Vir­gin Lim­ited Edi­tion col­lec­tion, you can be as­sured of the very best of ev­ery­thing – lo­ca­tion, set­ting, ac­com­mo­da­tion, food, wine, you name it.

Mont Rochelle is no ex­cep­tion. Af­ter be­com­ing part of the VLE col­lec­tion in 2014 and a re­cent re­fur­bish­ment, guests come from near, far and wide to sa­vor the best that this pris­tine prop­erty has to of­fer.

We ar­rive on a Fri­day af­ter­noon to a warm wel­come at Mont Rochelle by El­izma Stone, Deputy Gen­eral Man­ager. She takes us through the re­cep­tion area, past Miko restau­rant and down the newly in­stalled wooden stairs, past the gym, down to the Vine­yard Wing, where we are stay­ing in the Cap Clas­sique Suite.

Be­ing the largest rooms at Mont Rochelle and with only two Cap Clas­sique Suites, it is the ideal ac­com­mo­da­tion for our fam­ily of three. Our daugh­ter is stay­ing in the lounge area, where an ex­tra bed has been brought in for her, while my hus­band and I are stay­ing in the Mas­ter suite. The two Cap Clas­sique Suites dif­fer slightly in con­fig­u­ra­tion and color ac­cents – we are stay­ing in the room with smidgens of green.

Stay­ing in Fran­schhoek, hailed as the food and wine cap­i­tal of South Africa, it would be re­miss not to ven­ture into town to dine at one of the award-win­ning res­tau­rants, just a stone’s throw away. El­izma es­tab­lishes our meal pref­er­ences, makes sug­ges­tions, se­cures a reser­va­tion, and at din­ner time, we are trans­ferred to our restau­rant of choice in the Mont Rochelle cour­tesy ve­hi­cle. This is per­fect for din­ers who en­joy a glass or two of wine and would rather not drink and drive.

Back at Mont Rochelle, our room has been turned down for the night and the com­pli­men­tary mini-bar snacks have been re­plen­ished. Our daugh­ter in­dulges in a bit of tele­vi­sion be­fore bed and af­ter a re­lax­ing shower with the won­der­fully fra­grant Afri­col­ogy prod­ucts, she is off to dream­land. I fol­low suit shortly and it doesn’t take me long to fall asleep. Af­ter a good night’s sleep, we head up the stairs to Miko, where we en­joy a de­li­cious break­fast. A buf­fet, con­sist­ing of baked good­ies, as­sorted home­made jams, yo­ghurts, ce­re­als, fruit, juices and a selec­tion of hot break­fast to or­der – af­ter our daugh­ter has her fair share of crois­sants, she opts for the Amer­i­can style pan­cakes with blue­ber­ries, toasted al­mond and maple syrup. My hus­band and I choose our pre­ferred English break­fast; but ex­clude the op­tional black pud­ding choice.

We packed in such a hurry that we ne­glected to bring our swimwear and can kick our­selves as we have our own pool, which is heated in win­ter. In­stead, we move the lounger from the ve­randa onto the lawn and from ev­ery sin­gle van­tage point, it’s like a paint­ing un­fold­ing in front of you. I could sit here all day.

We are hav­ing lunch at the Coun­try Kitchen, which is a short walk or a quick drive from the main build­ing. The Coun­try Kitchen is ad­ja­cent to the Mont Rochelle wine cel­lar, mak­ing it a fa­vorite wine tast­ing des­ti­na­tion for wine con­nois­seurs.

The at­mos­phere at the Coun­try Kitchen is happy and re­laxed, with many pa­trons pre­fer­ring to sit out­side in the bril­liant sun­shine. Pic­nics, weather per­mit­ting, also prove to be very pop­u­lar, judg­ing by the num­ber of guests re­turn­ing with blan­kets and pic­nic bas­kets. The menu at the Coun­try Kitchen is var­ied; our daugh­ter and I share the El­gin buf­falo wings while my hus­band tucks into the de­li­cious veg­etable soup for starters.

For main course, our daugh­ter or­ders the per­fectly pre­pared CK burger with fries, while my hus­band and I thor­oughly en­joy the grilled rump steak, mine with mush­room sauce and his with Mada­gas­can green pep­per sauce. For dessert, my hus­band has the malva pud­ding with Amarula ice cream and my daugh­ter and I end our meal with the smoothest vanilla ice cream. The food is per­fectly pre­pared by Mont Rochelle’s Head Chef, Shane Louw.

A walk back to the main build­ing has us tak­ing in the won­der­ful scenery of the vine­yards, the moun­tains and the ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer. We pause by the two horses graz­ing on the green­ery and my daugh­ter chal­lenges my hus­band to a game of chess. With many lawn games, in­clud­ing cro­quet, gi­ant domi­nos, build­ing blocks, bowl­ing and as­tro­turf ten­nis courts, you will never get bored.

Din­ner is a gas­tro­nom­i­cal feast at Miko and my hus­band and I or­der the crispy smoked pa­prika squid for starters and for main course, we all en­joy the sim­ply grilled beef fil­let with a side or­der of fries and my hus­band’s fil­let comes with mash, ba­con and gravy. An­other out­stand­ing meal in an ex­quis­ite set­ting.

A visit to Mont Rochelle isn’t com­plete with­out meet­ing the res­i­dent cat, Blom (Afrikaans for flower). She is ei­ther brows­ing around the gar­dens or hav­ing a siesta some­where nice and warm. Which is ex­actly what she is do­ing to­day, sit­ting pretty in the pot that houses a plant. She me­ows her dis­dain when our daugh­ter touches her shoul­der, so re­mem­ber to avoid rub­bing her shoul­der should you be lucky enough to en­counter her dur­ing your stay at Mont Rochelle.

http://www.vir­gin­lim­it­ededi­tion. com/en/mont-rochelle

** Views ex­pressed are the au­thor’s own.

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