The facilities, amenities, delicious meals and friendly staff countered the disappointing weather, allowing us to have a rewarding stay and long to return at the first opportunity to further discover the lovely village and the outdoor facilities of La Residence in the sunshine.

Overall Impression This larger than life family owned small luxury hotel within a farm property in the gourmet village of Franschoek in South Africa’s Winelands was a delight. Someone once told me, “The devil is in the details.” And the details were superbly looked after at La Residence. There were many fine touches like fresh flowers, crisp linen bedsheets, silver silverware, English bone china, original art and antiques, rosé bubbly on check-in, and made-to-order dishes at every meal to name a few.

We got the impression that the owners are passionate about the property and do everything they can to promote excellence. Creating and running La Residence required more than the desire to run a hotel or make money. Rather, it appeared to be an on going labor of love that inspired staff to exceed expectations and won us over as guests.

We enjoyed the hotel’s over-the-top décor, quiet and elegant yet relaxed ambiance, gourmet plated meals, fun and tasty cooking demonstration, WiFi connectivity, service oriented staff, and beautiful rooms with a view. Due to the mostly rainy and cold weather in the area during our early spring visit we spent more time on site than we might have otherwise. The facilities, amenities, delicious meals and friendly staff countered the disappointing weather, allowing us to have a rewarding stay and long to return at the first opportunity to further discover the lovely village and the outdoor facilities of La Residence in the sunshine.

Children The hotel welcomed children 12 years and older. Children of all ages were welcome for private parties who booked the entire property.

Class Of Accommodation Luxury small hotel

Connectivity To use the phone in the rooms it was necessary to request that the line be unblocked. WiFi connectivity was excellent in Room 7. The connections in Room 4 and in the Library weren’t working on my arrival. The staff lent me a computer to quickly check urgent messages. By the early evening, one of the staff members had sorted the WiFi connection in my room and it worked seamlessly until our departure.

General Manager Edward Morton

Handicapped Access No

Length Of Stay Two nights

Location Within Elandskloof Farm, a 30-acre working farm estate in the village of Franschoek, about 45 minutes by car from Cape Town.

Managed The Royal Portfolio

Owned Liz and Phil Biden

Pets Allowed No

Size There were 11 rooms in the two-story, three building hotel.

Year Opened-Renovated A new villa was built on a larger scale from the original structure that was on the site and in the same style as its predecessor. Highlights of the new property include floor to ceiling, hand carved doors over three meters high. It opened October 2007.

Lobby And Common Areas From a distance the most distinctive feature of the La Residence was the bright burnt siena color of its walls. Inside the buildings were full of contrasts such as luxurious oversize chandeliers set against native African style wood beams and a barn ceiling in the main building. There were unpolished marble Indian floors and Persians rugs, high ceilings and comfortable yet stylish furnishings designed to establish an Africa meets the Mediterranean ambiance. Ralf Krall and Liz Biden collaborated in the interior décor.

There was original artwork scattered throughout the property including work by Sasha Hartslief (Sitting Room and Sunken Lounge), Ken Howard (Sitting Room), Claude Jammet (Sunken Lounge), Beezy Bailey (Sitting Room), Kevin Roberts (Sitting Room), and Dylan Lewis (porte cochere); and 18th Century French mirrors, gilded 18th Century salon chairs, Russian desks, and hand cut Indian chandeliers. The reception was located, unconventionally, beyond the main building. Tucked away in a corner the single room combined reception and gift shop.

The dining hall and living room with checkered marble flooring, walk-in fireplaces and a four-meter chandelier, leading onto terraces with roses and a fountain for alfresco summer evenings were designed to resemble a manor hall. Vineyards, plum orchards, a small lake and manicured gardens surrounded the hotel.

Bathrooms While each room and bathroom were distinctive they shared common elements such as Molton Brown toiletries, separate showers and claw-foot bathtubs and a phone. Room 7: The large bathroom invited indulgence. It had ample storage space in a built-in floor-to-ceiling white closet that was set against the rear wall to the right of the entrance. The center of the pretty in pink room was taken up by a bathtub flanked by a gold pattern cloth armchair. Distinctive twin round pink sinks, set on mirrored bases, were across from the entrance. Large rectangular mirrors were set on the wall above the sinks.

Room 4: A partial wall and double wood doors divided the bedroom and bathroom areas. The center of the bathroom was occupied by a bathtub and Persian rug. A toilet with a partial view of the vineyards was to the left against the wall. To the right of the entrance there was a green walk in-closet with ample shelf and hanging space and an electronic safe. In the center of the closet there was an armless chair facing a make up table and large framed mirror. On the other side of the room, against the wall, there were twin sinks set on mirror covered bases. Above the sinks there were long wood framed rectangular mirrors. A small table with toiletries sat in the far corner and an oversize glass door open shower occupied the other corner.

Rooms We stayed in two rooms, Room 7 (Hibiscus Suite) and Room 4 (Disa Suite), one in each of the two buildings with rooms in the hotel (the middle building housed common areas); one on the ground floor and one on the first floor. Each one was decorated in a different whimsical and individual style as were the other rooms in the hotel. Both beds had wonderful monogramed linen bedsheets. Room 7, a Luxury Room 88.5 square meters in size, was located on the ground floor of the two story building to the left of the entrance of the hotel, one of two halves of the 11-room property. It was my favorite of the two. The first room in an open hallway it faced a small pond which was home to several water fowl including two regal black swans. Two wood doors with a traditional key lock led to a cozy interior filled with whimsical decorative touches in varied hues of pink. A king bed, framed by matching wood night tables, occupied the back wall of the room facing the pond. The room was furnished with a pink divan, credenza with porcelain and crystal inside, wall facing glass covered table, round table in the center, corner double love seat in deep red and a red divider at the entrance to the bathroom. From the bathroom and bedroom, ample French glass and wood doors led to a terrace.

The room was toasty warm in spite of the chilly outdoor temperatures thanks to underfloor heating (there was a wall air conditioner for warmer seasons). Favorite features of this room were the marble with pale pink veins and Indian chandeliers as well as the charming pond view best enjoyed from the covered terrace the width of the room furnished with a lounge chair and table. Although it was too cold to sit outside for long during our late winter stay, I imagined how lovely it would be to spend time there during a slightly balmier season.

Room 4, a Luxury Room 93.5 square meters large, was on the second floor of the two story building on the right side of the property. It was the first guest room at the top of the stairs. A left side entrance through double wood doors led to a small foyer that was home to a minibar, sink and loveseat. The main area of the room was two steps up facing the property’s adjacent vineyards. The first noticeable feature was the lime green and psychedelic pink decorative accents such as the green four poster bed (slightly creaky at night) in the center of the room and the pink divan on one side. There were two night tables with pink ostrich leather covers (there was a similar table with lime green ostrich leather next to the bathtub). There were also two green silk armchairs (an armless matching chair occupied the space between the matching bathroom sinks) and a green glass topped wood table to the left of the room near an oversize window that filled the room with light.

Beige marble floors were covered by Persian rugs throughout the entire room. High beam ceilings with gran chandeliers added a sense of spaciousness to the bedroom and bathroom. Wood and glass French doors led to a covered 10-foot wide terrace the width of the room furnished with a lounge chair, a table with two wood chairs and a love seat. Lime colored thick curtains filled the room with color, provided privacy and blocked the sunlight in the early morning.

Framed prints with African flora and fauna motifs and oriental themed colorful art hung on the walls. A flat screen television hung on the wall (with a nearby and DVD player) above a wood dresser. A wood inlay desk and armchair occupied one corner of the room facing the bed. On it there was a lamp and a vase filled with fresh pink and lavender flowers. Behind it there was a rectangular mirror with elaborate gold framing.

Food And Restaurants One of the characteristics of the hotel we enjoyed the most during our visit was its gourmet oriented dining with cooked to order dishes from a menu featuring two options per course and three courses per meal. Although there were many fine dining restaurants in the village we decided to stay indoors, partly due to the weather, and sample the in-house dining options. One afternoon we enjoyed a Chef’s Table hands on cooking demonstration led by Executive Chef Charles Hayward at a modern kitchen set up in a corner of the dining hall. It was great fun to participate in and taste the treats he whipped up during the demonstration. Following the preparation of the meal we sat down to an a la carte dinner. A native of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Chef Hayward espoused a European style of cooking. Prior to working at La Residence, he worked as a private chef in Hermanus and as a fine dining chef at several Red Carnation Hotels in the United Kingdom.

These items were on offer at lunch one day during our stay: For starters the options were Tomato and Red Pepper Soup or Homemade Pickled Fish (we tried the soup). For mains we could select Chevin and Tomato Quiche with Green Salad or Chicken Cordon Blue, creamed Spinach, Potato wedges and a cheese sauce (we had one of each); and for dessert there was Sliced Fruit and Mint Sorbet or Vanilla Panna Cotta (we had one of each).

One dinner for starters there were Tiger Prawns, Papaya Salsa, Dhania and Almonds or Spiced Pears, Young Salad Leaves and Blue Rock Dressing; Sweet Potato and Leek Soup was served before mains; for mains there was Salmon Trout, Cauliflower, Brown Mushroom, Snow Peas and Lemon Butter Sauce or Rack of Karoo Lamb, Barley, Pea Shoots, Chives, Butternut Squash and Lamb Jus; there was Chocolate Mousse Cake and Strawberries or Preserved Plums with Passion Fruit Ice Cream for dessert. The wine options were for white La Chataigne Kastanje and for red Grande Provence Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, a winner of the 2009 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Brussels Gold Medal Award.

Amenities There were bathrobes, Molton Brown toiletries, an electronic safe, bottled water, and a bowl of fruit in our suites. There was also complimentary WiFi, complimentary minibar, and complimentary laundry. There were lit candles at turn down. On arrival, our luggage was unloaded and delivered to our rooms and our car was parked by the valet service. They were equally diligent storing the luggage back in our car on our departure.

Facilities There was an outdoor pool, massage room, library and indoor dining room.

Pool The outdoor infinity pool had the following dimensions: Length of 18.1 meter, width of 5.7 meters and depth of 1.5 meters. There were 24 lounge chairs scattered along the lawn and in front of the infinity pool.

Other The hotel, including the rooms and common areas, was a non smoking environment. We noticed a loud dissonant mechanical noise emanating in the direction of the kitchen.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Review September 2009 2012

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photos by Gary Cox

Service There was twice daily room service. Staff were service oriented. The chef and dining room staff were especially personable and attentive.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Elandskloof Private Road
    • Elandskloof Farm
    • Franschhoek
  • Phone:
    • +27 21 876 4100
  • Fax:
    • +27 21 876 2030
  • Website:
  • Email: