Claire stayed at La Petite Dauphine and had an amazing weekend at this luxurious and picturesque working farm in Franschhoek. Make sure to book a weekend away at La Petite Dauphine.
As glorious as Franschhoek is on a hot summer's day, sipping wine beneath a cloudless blue sky, after our recent trip to Franschhoek I think the crisp fresh air and warm colours of autumn are my new favourite.
We were lucky enough to be staying at La Petite Dauphine, a beautiful 5-star guest farm surrounded by orchards and vineyards and with all-round spectacular views. We knew we were in for a memorable stay from the moment we arrived and were warmly greeted by manager Stephan, who quickly checked us in, advised us on a couple of choices for dining out, and pointed us in the direction of our cottage for the weekend - 7 on Plum.
Luxury accommodation and a stunning location are a real treat, but we've found that it is the little personal touches and attention to detail that make for a truly special stay. And at La Petite Dauphine they have managed to strike the perfect balance. Our beautifully furnished and super-spacious cottage was completely private with views from every window, a wood-burning fireplace in the lounge area, an enormous bathroom with under floor heating and a King size bed made up with beautiful linen - all-in-all wonderfully luxurious. But, the small touches are what really made our stay - the umbrella's waiting at the front door, the Nespresso machine and choice of fine teas, a wonderful selection of local and foreign interior and décor magazines (which kept me busy all afternoon), the decanter of port on the coffee table, gorgeous L'Occitane bath products and an impressive woodpile to keep us warm all weekend. Everything we needed for a totally relaxing winter weekend away.
We spent a few hours unwinding and soaking up the views before getting ready for our dinner at Pierneef at La Motte wine estate. It was a celebratory meal for my husband's birthday and we ate far too much wonderfully rich food accompanied by a bottle of the crisp and fruity La Motte Sauvignon Blanc. The beautiful selection of handmade truffles at the end of the meal were (almost) too much to manage... Needless to say, we arrived back at our warm and welcoming cottage ready for a really good night's sleep.
With two young children at home, it's an absolute treat to enjoy a leisurely morning wake-up and we made the most of it. A storm had built up overnight and we listened to the thunder and watched the black rain clouds roll overhead while we enjoyed a cup of coffee - and for myself an hour of reading my book - in bed. Pure bliss.
Once the rain had let up we took a stroll to Café Bon Bon, the estate's restaurant, which serves breakfast, as well as lunch daily and dinner on the weekends. We had stopped here on a previous visit to Franschhoek and enjoyed a lovely breakfast on the patio beneath the branches of an enormous old Oak tree with the resident cockerel patrolling his territory in search of crumbs. Café Bon Bon is housed in a restored 200-year old wine cellar and inside the cosy interior was the perfect place to linger on this cold and blustery Saturday morning. A continental buffet selection, as well as a choice of a la carte hot breakfasts are on offer to guests, as well as the public. We both chose the English breakfast, which was not only beautifully presented, but also expertly prepared and served with a genuine smile by the excellent Café Bon Bon staff. The eggs were just as requested, the bacon perfectly crisp and the toast, wrapped in a linen napkin to keep it warm, was accompanied by some lovely preserves. Once again, the personal touches.
After breakfast we headed into town for a stroll and a browse around the local art galleries and boutiques, but as it looked like rain again we headed back to our cottage where we happily spent the rest of the morning relaxing - stopping to admire the view in between reading (me) and catching some rugby highlights (hubby).
I'd booked us a late lunch at La Petite Ferme - another favourite with some of the best views in Franschhoek to go along with their renowned lunches. It was difficult to drag ourselves away from our fireside, but the thought of a delicious meal and a glass of red wine were enough to get us up and going, and a few minutes later we were sitting alongside another fire, savouring our wine and overlooking the stunning autumn colours of the valley below.
Lunch was superb - my husbands slow roasted lamb wrapped in aubergine served on creamy polenta literally melted in your mouth, and my Moroccan inspired chicken dish infused with flavours of dates and orange and served with cous-cous was wonderfully aromatic and absolutely delicious. An excellent crème brulee finished off our meal and, once again with perfect timing, we had just made it back to our cottage when the heavens opened. This time we really couldn't drag ourselves away from our fireside and its views and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening simply savouring the peace and quiet.
Another great nights sleep and another superb breakfast on Sunday morning and it was sadly time to pack up and head home to 'reality'. La Petite Dauphine is a true gem, and we'll definitely be back. It's wonderful to find somewhere that is as appealing in winter as in summer - but that being said, I'd simply love to try out that plunge pool!
More about Franschhoek...
Although we used this particular weekend as one for quiet and relaxation, there is plenty to see and do in Franschhoek and we have enjoyed busy weekends of being out and about in the past.
Some of the highlights include a trip to the Motor Museum at L'Ormarins estate - a real hit with the guys, and in fact any motor enthusiast as well as a trip on the Franschhoek Wine Tram which ferries guest between a number of wine estates to enjoy wine tasting, lunch and stunning views. The tram first departs from the ticket office on the main street in town and offers a hop-on-hop-off service throughout the day. For more info on what to do in the town, visit our Franschhoek travel guide page on RoomsForAfrica.
To find out more about La Petite Dauphine and to book a weekend away, click here.