Visit Mont Rochelle National Park in the winelands of South Africa and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t stay in Sir Richard Branson’s estate of the same name.
Unlike many boutique hotels with traditional architecture and aspirations, Mont Rochelle excels by achieving a showcase resort whilst retaining a magical ambiance that embraces the guest – almost enticing them to become part of the family.
Sir Richard Branson designed this retreat to be, first and foremost apparently, a place where he can spend quality time with his own family. It shows. There’s a personality, a discrete and unassuming air about Mont Rochelle that doesn’t intimidate or demand anything other than you have a good time.
Although the hotel has 26 bedrooms, they’ve been integrated in and around the old thatched architecture in a way that is remarkable in its elegance. There are no huge atria or uninterrupted acres of glass and marble to overpower. Each glimpse has its own parameters of privacy and visual limit, so the true scale of Mont Rochelle is never quite apparent.
As we walk out onto the lawn in front of the main building to drink in the views of the National park, we are unwittingly standing on the roof of a number of bedrooms.
They’re concealed beneath our feet, landscaped into the garden – each with its own panoramic vista stretching out in front of it.
Whilst there are two distinct areas – the old and the new – forming the main hotel arrangement, the elegant décor harmonises the two with its muted tones, interesting artworks and clean, crisp lines with sumptuous furnishings.
We feel as though we’d like to move in here!
We’re particularly taken by the Manor House; a separate building with its own set of four suites (including an enchanting ‘loft suite’), lounge, billiards room, and expansive double kitchen that bridges inside and outside between dining area and terrace.
Not that we’d want to spend much time cooking for ourselves but, as apparently happens with Sir Richard, the family occasionally decide to gather around the huge table for a get-together where cooking is done in situ.
Having said we’d love to move in, we’re under no illusion that Mont Rochelle isn’t an exclusive residence, with the Manor House (if you take it over exclusively) setting you back in the region of £12,000 for two nights if 8 people stop over – but we easily get carried away with the notion of our family spending some real quality time together here.
This, without doubt, is a beautiful area. The ubiquitous vineyards, wine processing stills and restaurants are all here, as with the whole of Franschhoek and the Winelands but they’re not the reason we feel at home.
Miko, the fine dining restaurant and The Country Kitchen, a more laisser faire informal experience, both provide all you would expect of a quality hotel and to wax lyrical about them is simply to repeat the fact that they won’t disappoint.
Go to Mont Rochelle for a very special, relaxing stay to restore your equilibrium or to provide a brilliant venue for a party – either will be carried off with a flair that we know the staff will enhance, if not enjoy as much.
Our short visit to Mont Rochelle has simply got our minds whirring as to how we’re going to transport our family here for a very special party that we know will be simply memorable.
If you’d simply like more information about Mont Rochelle then click here but why not ask us to arrange your own tailor-made travel – to immerse yourself in the wonders of history, culture, cuisine and safari throughout South Africa?
Why not download the TLC World guide brochure or give us a call today on 01202 030443, or simply click ‘enquire’ to submit your own personal itinerary request