Plantasie Street, Paarl 7646, South Africa
Bar/Lounge, Business Center, Conference Room, Fitness Center, Free Breakfast, Free High-Speed Internet, Free Parking, Restaurant, Room Service, Shuttle Bus Service, Suites, Swimming Pool, Tennis Court, Wheelchair Access, Wifi
With a stunning design, legendary service, gorgeous grounds, and one of South Africa's top restaurants on site (Bosman’s), it is...
With a stunning design, legendary service, gorgeous grounds, and one of South Africa’s top restaurants on site (Bosman’s), it is no wonder this wine country property 40 minutes northeast of Cape Town consistently ranks as one of the world’s best luxury sleeps. Anchored by a meticulously restored 18th-century Cape Dutch manor house, this opulent retreat in the shadow of Paarl Mountain and draped by the Drakenstein Mountains dramatic cliffscapes, is one of the country’s few five-star estate hotels. Everything about this posh estate feels grandiose. The entire property, which dates back to the late 1600s when the Huguenots first settled this region, underwent a meticulous renovation in the 1990s which transformed it into today’s boutique design hotel.
The 29 luxury suites and six executive rooms are spread across the ample grounds, some are even located inside original structures, once housing horses, slaves, and wine. Mixing modern South African designs with those of the original settlers, the interior decorating is as clean and soothing as the white washed exteriors of the buildings they are housed in. Traditional thatch and reed beam ceilings mesh effortlessly with plush red couches and sleek glass coffee tables, while lavish extras like huge showers, Wi-Fi, and flatscreen TVs add a layer of 21st century pampering. Grand Roche is also famous for its legendary service, as many of the staff received training in Europe.
About the only thing I even consider close to negative about booking at the Grand Roche is the slightly less than stellar location. Of the three Cape wine country towns, Paarl is my least favorite. If you’ve just come from vibrant Stellenbosch or gorgeous Franschhoek, you may feel disillusioned with sprawling, industrial Paarl. That said, Grand Roche’s allure lies in its ability to make guests feel like yesteryear’s royalty, on holiday at their family’s private wine country mansion. And isn’t the point of this type of getaway to just relax, get lost wandering through the maze of trimmed hedges and colorful flowers, and not care, because it’s part of soaking up rural ambiance? If you, like me, agree this is a prime objective, then you won’t care too much about Paarl’s looks, because an intriguing town would just serve as a distraction from the main point – experiencing the magic of escaping to an authentic South African country estate where the service, design, dining, and wine are all five-star.
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