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“Artful Kindness”
Review of La Residence

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La Residence
Ranked #5 of 11 Hotels in Franschhoek
Certificate of Excellence
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
60 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Artful Kindness”
Reviewed October 27, 2013

In any part of the world, if you follow the artists, they will lead you to places of golden light. This is true of the village of Franschhoek, one of the loveliest places on earth. Artists of all kinds have settled here – photographers, painters, musicians, writers, winemakers, food artists, and of course accommodation artists. And one such artist is Liz Biden, creative genius behind La Residence Luxury Hotel and Villas.

Daring and deft, to be recognised as a world class artist, one must have both exceptional skills and be willing to push the boundaries of creativity. Finally it is necessary to reign this verve back in with a 6th sense of restraint. Each room at La Residence shows a dazzling display of colours, materials and influences which pushes luxury accommodation into a whole new level of opulence. Sumptuous fabrics, bold hues and antiques are contrasted and then perfectly balanced in each of the individually decorated suites. It is for this that the South African Tourism Board should create a six star rating, in honour of Liz Biden’s Royal Portfolio.

I stay in the Frangipani Suite, in the downstairs corner of the East Wing. Here a brave fusion of Far Eastern and French Chateaux style is set within a South African setting (don’t try this at home). Fitted throughout in creamy white and grey marble, the calm look is offset by rich red and gold Eastern wall hangings and gold Louis XV chairs. Floating muslin curtains mute the full height curved window and double doors. The raised four-poster bed surrounds one with luxurious marble.

But of course I choose this suite for its resplendent Versaille Hall of Mirrors bathroom. “Yes, Liz does like big bathrooms” says my host drily. Indeed, I estimate the bathroom to be at least 5 X 6 meters in size. Wall to wall mirrors surround one from a deep double slipper bath placed centrally in the room. Glass double doors frame vineyard and mountain views.

What I love about La Residence:
• There are sensory delights throughout the hotel, with delightful paring of colours, textures and styles.
• Each suite faces onto mountain and vineyard views and Franschhoek-blue skies.
• The gardens have been cleverly designed for privacy and interest, with green hedges, roses, wisteria and irises.
• Peacock and Guinea Fowl punctuate the stillness. In the early morning an owl softly hoots from the roof.
• High double doors and enormous windows bring the outdoors into every room.
• Splendid bathrooms each have their own unique features and verve.
• Local Charlotte Rhys bath products create fragrant delights, while French-style monogrammed, silky cotton white linen feels soft against the skin.
• La Residence wins both my bath towel and bathrobe award. The white towels are plentiful, thick and soft, heated by warm towel rails. There is a choice of bath robes – a cream, silk summer kimono and a heavier suede-like pale gown.
• The bed is dressed in the finest monogrammed cotton linen.
• There is temperature-controlled under-floor heating throughout the vast suite.
• Gilded mirrors decorate the entrance to the suite, where there is complementary tea, coffee, mini-bar and snacks.
• Crystal chandeliers abound, as does poignant original wall art.
• There is a separate working area with a desk.
• The upstairs suits have high pitched roofs with exposed roof trusses.
• The accomplished chef serves an array of light yet full-flavoured, sophisticated courses.
• The day ends with a turndown service with gifts of handmade Belgian chocolates filled with plums from the estate.

Accommodation experience:
I am a little ashamed to say I have 3 lengthy bathes within the space of my 20 hours at La Residence. But it feels like the personnel here would only be delighted at the compliment. And what impresses me at the end of the day, aside from the general splendour, sumptuous décor and breath-taking scenery, is the simple kindness of the staff at La Residence. I saw one staff member assist a rather brittle elderly gentleman, desperately clinging to his dignity, with care and grace. At dinner the waitrons and sommelier moved in formation to ensure I did not feel lonely. One waitron confessed “I am so lucky to work here. This becomes like your family.” There was a sense of everyone playing their part in putting up an interesting and fun show for a wide range of guests. Their relaxed and caring attitude broke down the self-imposed barriers between guests and soon we were sharing enthusiastic stories of our week’s South African travels.

There is a tangible difference when a team who work in a place like this enjoy their role and appreciate each other’s company and support. This brings a softness to what could otherwise be an intimidating and ostentatious scene, which, let’s admit, brings out the worst posturing in all of us. I saw a sign while shopping in Franschhoek earlier today which said “Be kinder than necessary, for we are all battling our own demons”. Be it the onset of age, past hurts, current failures or struggles with worthiness, we are all insecure little beings at heart. And to this we should only respond with kindness and grace. It is this that I will take away with me from this creative and nourishing stay in this marvelous place which is everything that is luxurious hospitality.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Berenice M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (91)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed October 20, 2013

To be honest, I was a bit suspicious on why anyone on Tripadvisor could not write anything negative about La Residence, after staying here, I now know why.

This place is heaven on earth; the rooms are beautiful, the garden is kept in pristine condition and the service is excellent. We felt really spoilt and left wishing we had booked a few more nights here.

The General Manager, Edward, was a very warm individual and he made sure that we were well looked after. Even though the hotel was fully booked, he made you feel like you were the only people that mattered at the hotel.

I proposed to my girlfriend here and they did an amazing job at organising a special location to pop the question. The staff, in particular, Evans did a fantastic job of executing everything to perfection.

If there is one place you have to stay in Franschhoek, it has to be La Residence!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank AndrewF100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2013

Staying in La Residence was just outstanding. A relaxing atmosphere, a view that cannot be compared, attentive and caring staff, luxurious rooms with the added attention to every detail. We felt so spoilt, relaxed and thoroughly indulged. The food was excellent, the wine delicious. The gardens manicured beautifully. Plenty of space to be 'alone' should you so desire, but also ample opportunity to interact with other visitors. Highly recommended. Huge wow factor.

Room Tip: We stayed in a villa, but would say any room would be excellent.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank relaxezvouslondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 18, 2013

The atmosphere, service, food, gardens, vistas, staff, accommodations, all exceeded expectations and led to an unforgettable holiday experience. We would highly recommend this resort to any of our friends and/or family who seek only the best!!

Room Tip: Our corner room offered ample light and gorgeous vistas. It would be difficult to imagine there cou...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank TheGordons2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
32 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2013

This is a unique property, in a beautiful valley with views of vines and fruit trees. We were 6 adults and five children and stayed in three of the villas. The decor is quite amazing, with vibrant colours and Asian touches: it shouldn't work, but it does! The villas are at a short distance from the main hotel, with their own "Terrace Room" - a beautiful building with large sitting and dining area, with an open kitchen, where we watched the chef cook our dinner, and a separate bar/TV area. There were log fires burning cheerfully in both areas. The whole set-up was ideal for our family group. Joey took great care of us and the children loved her. Two of the villas had their own pools; however, they were not heated. Before we left, we checked out rooms in the main hotel, which were also beautiful. We intend to return next year.

Room Tip: The villas are lovely if you want to be on your own. However, the corner rooms in the main hotel a...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Judith P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Wow! What a way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! We could not have asked for a better way to celebrate this special occasion. From the moment we arrived, we were pampered and treated like royalty. The staff were simply outstanding! The spa treatments were the best we've ever had, the food and wine experience was world class and the special romantic turn down was just the icing on the cake!

Thank you for creating such a wonderful memory that we will never forget!

Room Tip: Stayed in Chambre Bleu Suite.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rivermanor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2013 via mobile

Thank you to all the staff for an exceptional stay. This establishment is seven star. Want to have your every wim and desire met, warm friendly, accommodating, nothing is too much trouble. This is a definitely to be repeated experience. Opulent, inviting, just faultless. Peter and lee-Anne Hodson

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Skintonic2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Residence

Property: La Residence
Address: Elandskloof Private Road | Elandskloof Farm, Franschhoek 7690, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Franschhoek
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Franschhoek
#2 Family Hotel in Franschhoek
#3 Romantic Hotel in Franschhoek
#4 Business Hotel in Franschhoek
#5 Luxury Hotel in Franschhoek
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — La Residence 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
La Residence is in a class of its own. Located in the beautiful Franschhoek valley, where the exquisite vineyards and mountains form a picture perfect backdrop, La Residence provides a haven of luxurious accommodation, fine dining and an all-round sensory indulgence. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Residence Franschhoek

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