Franschhoek – La Clé des Montagnes

Franschhoek – the beautiful, quaint, “must see” village in the heart of the Winelands.  I have been here before on a couple of occasions, though never with enough time to wander the main street.  This time I would have the time, though the weather really wasn’t playing ball.  We had been lucky up until now, but the heavens opened and the rain was hammering down!

Peering through the windscreen wipers, Serena, the GPS, was cheerfully calling out directions to our next stop – La Clé des Montagnes.  I had been given the heads up on how to find it as this is one property that due to its exclusivity, prefers not have signs pointing the way.  Only those “in the know” need know!   It was however remarkably easy as it is literally just off of the main street running through Franschhoek.

We were met by Peggy, the General Manager and Frank and John, our butlers, who took us through to our villa.  All I want to say now is “wow, wow and wow again”! The minute you open your villa door you can’t take the smile off of your face.  A roaring fire and a glass of bubbles greeted us.  Who cared anymore about the storm when you could curl up in front of the fire in pure unadulterated luxury.  You need to sit and soak up your surrounds to really appreciate the talents of this interior designer.  She was given three months and a brief to come up with 4 completely unique themed villas.  The results are breath-taking and in my opinion should be award winning.  Chinese barrel chairs acting as small side tables of differing styles and colours seemed to me the only feature the four villas had in common – along with her signature textured wallpapers.  Note to self – I must get one of those barrels!

Dragging ourselves away from our fire, we ventured, with our enormous La Clé umbrellas, the 3 minute walk into the heart of Franschhoek.    We ambled up and down the Main Street taking in the eclectic mix of gift shops, boutiques and galleries.  As we ambled along, we stopped and got chatting to the chef from Foliage, where we would be dining that evening.  He was very enthusiastic, which was a good omen for what we hoped would be yet another amazing meal in the heart of the best food and wine region of South Africa – The Winelands.

Back in front of the fire, cup of tea in hand and wrapped in the softest bath robe, we did briefly chat to Frank about the possibility of a take away, which of course he could organise.  Just checking really……..  We did change and head back to Foliage, touted as one of the restaurants to watch as it is very much “up and coming”.  Our waiter Chris, “but call me Bob” was a scream and the food did not disappoint.  Would we ever have a disappointing meal on this trip?

The following morning, after dragging myself out of a deep slumber, we wandered into our lounge to find Frank and John in the kitchen preparing us perfect poached eggs, which we had ordered the night before.  The table was set, the fire was lit, the sun was shining and I could now see the stunning view over the vineyards and to the mountains in the distance.

As that famous line goes – location – location – location – and this one is hard to beat.

After breakfast we bid farewell to our host, Peggy, and our two wonderful butlers, Frank and John, and headed off into the sunshine in the direction of the Mother City – Cape Town.

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