La Residence, Franschhoek
Part of the Royal Portfolio, owned and cleverly created by Liz Biden, my first experience of La Residence was a mild gasp on approaching the entrance drive-way. ‘I didn’t even know this type of establishment existed in Franschhoek‘ was my immediate thought. Having meandered about on the odd occasion throughout the back streets of the ultra chocolate box pretty village of Franschhoek, I never imagined anything so grand and opulent as this luxurious property, La Residence.
Liz Biden clearly loves beautiful things, and makes it her mission in life to track them down, hunt them out, and find a new home for them in one of her boutique accommodations. Furniture, art, chandeliers, old prints, obscure relics from the past, you name it, if it has the hallmark of quality, you will find an example in her portfolio. Her portfolio? yes, she owns two other properties to make sure that your luxury holiday in South Africa is complete: The Birkenhead House, in the whale watching coastal town of Hermanus, and of course, a safari in South Africa wouldn’t be complete without a sojourn at The Royal Malewane, situated on a private game reserve that adjoins the Kruger National Park.
So, what’s so special about La Residence? Well, for starters, its sits poised over a beautiful piece of land just below the mountains of Franschhoek, in an air grace, overlooking a park of springbok on the one side, and a rim flow pool on the other. As you step out of your vehicle under the rather grand porch of the main entrance you will be instantly welcomed by the GM, Edward, and his team, who literally relish in making you stay as homely and comforting as possible, answering to your every whim and usually proposing something to tickle your fancy before you could even think of it yourself.. Discretion, professionalism, and charm, are all the order of the day in this elegant and fanciful space. Yes, you heard me, fanciful.. why? because its decked out with such theatrical charm and precision that most people, even if they fancied creating something of similar splendour for themselves, probably wouldn’t unearth the same creative juices that Liz has plied throughout.. A few steps into the main building and your role is cast as your wander through a renaissance style cathedral of grandiose upholstery and fittings, with dining area to the right, and ample sit-gigantically-soft on the left.
Each side of this main building casts out a wing of suites – each with their own magical them and personal touches. All are very spacious, very warm and vibrant, and extremely comfortable. Once you’ve finished in the marbled bathroom you will simply wilt away over the covers and feel transported to fairly land as you purrrrr and zizzzzz gently to sleep.
For those discerning travellers that feel they would prefer more than just a vast suite, why not opt for one of half a dozen villas located around the property and linked to the main hearth by various pathways. Ideal for the ultimate privacy (although all serviced with personal butlers) or a family retreat.
Now when it comes to dining (as if they weren’t enough fine restaurants in the village itself), the in-house chef is a real artist, not only as a full seasonal menu is on offer, but also because should you have a craving something else, as if by magic, its conjured up. Now that’s what I call service!