Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Le Quartier Francais, the Common Room & More!

What a day touring the winelands (with Keith, an excellent local guide) and am now staying here, at Le Quartier Francais! Absolutely lovely setting, central location, beautiful rooms (soaking tubs, luxurious textiles, Africology amenities, complimentary bar in room, private plunge pools at some) and Franschhoek village is so charming! Enjoyed a full day of site inspections and a bit of wine tasting...the South African winelands are as amazing as I remembered.

While staying at Le Quartier Francais, I enjoyed dinner at The Common Room (sister restaurant to The Tasting Room). Eating tapas alone should be outlawed, especially at The Common Room! I ate far too much in an attempt to try as many things as I could...Karoo lamb kabobs, fish "pops" with curry ketchup, duck confit terrine, sticky toffee bun ice cream. Each was equally amazing. Can't wait to go back!

I popped in a La Residence, and while they were full and didn't have a room to show me, I saw the grounds, library and public areas. La Residence is in a league of its own and no for everyone, but those travelers looking for the most unique and opulent experience will love it. The Franschhoek Country House & Villas was a great spot with lots of excellent room options (suites for families, luxurious rooms for couples and honeymooners), beautiful grounds with gardens and fountains and really stunning views overlooking the wine estates and towering mountains.

I enjoyed a nice lunch (which was in a lovely setting overlooking the vineyards), wine and saw the rooms at Mont Rochelle - ideal for people who want wine, food and a lovely room all in one stop. It is up on the hillside so you'd need to drive into the village, but if you are staying for a few nights it would work out well. The Last Word Franschhoek is right off the main road in the village and with just a few rooms it would be a perfect spot for young couples or honeymooners looking to be right in the action, close to the shops and restaurants and enjoy the vibe of the village.

Franschhoek was really a highlight - more beautiful than Napa and top-notch wines at such great prices. Be sure to send your travelers into the winelands for a night or two!

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