Review of Grande Provence Luxury Wine Estate in Franschhoek

Exterior view from vineyards.
Grande Provence Wine Estate offers refined country living, five star accommodation and a menu that not only compliments their wines, but that will hold you hostage at your table.

Accommodation Review by Jo Kromberg

A Grande Experience

A drive through the breath-taking beauty of Franschhoek en route to Grand Provence must surely rate as one of life's great pleasures. And this is where we find ourselves on a beautiful, bright winter's afternoon in the Cape, on the way to the splendid Grande Provence.Grande Provence is something to behold. Her lush vines spread across 30 hectares with gentle vistas over the valley floor, at odds almost with the rugged mountains beyond. This is heartland South African wine country.

In terms of the design, the honest simplicity of its Cape Dutch architecture, in harmony with the precision and clarity of modern design, brings a new pièce de résistance to the Franschhoek valley.Framing the entry road are rows of vineyards. The centrepiece governing the setting is the 18th Century Manor House, while The Owner's Cottage welcomes guests to boutique accommodation. Five sumptuous rooms provide a quiet and intimate repose and the tranquil lake close by shimmers silvery in the afternoon sun. The Owner's Cottage at Grande Provence is an eclectic mix of old and new; Spartan and luxury; rustic and urban. Comprising the beautifully appointed cottage are four rooms - a deluxe suite, conservatory, lounge, swimming and spa pool area.

"Even though the rooms are homely, they also house discreet technology," says Virginia Fisher, New Zealand-based interior designer.'Lush lawns edged with dark green hedges contrast with creamy travertine tiles and inset pebbles, while white walls delineate the deck chairs and lounging areas, juxtaposing the cool and crisp swimming pool. The spa pool punctuates the landscape with a stunning, elevated view of the surrounds. Harmony permeates every angle.'

While the 18th Century Manor House and The Owner's Cottage reflect their Huguenot heritage, The Restaurant and wine-tasting area of Grande Provence project a chic industrial presence.

Steel joinery, galvanised metals and skylights distinguish this design approach. Interior Designer Virginia Fisher explains, "In essence, Grande Provence is an estate of senses, providing guests with a full working farm experience, with spaces to be used and spaces to be admired, and these expanses of space allow us to do that. The two design styles are harmonised by a complementary palette, but time separates them."High-backed chairs upholstered in white leather draw the eye to the centre of the deep blue-grey Restaurant, while deep, slotted windows frame the picturesque view from the interior. The menus exude culinary excellence, with the signature dishes of The Restaurant hitting all the right notes - honest, fresh and delicious. Prepared from local fare and flavoured with global influences both modern and classical, the cuisine is characterised by a philosophy of innovation through passion and simplicity.Leading off The Restaurant is the welcoming wine-tasting area. The bar dominates the centre of the room - striking in galvanised steel with black strapping.

We had a wonderful time at Grande Provence but the price tag is not for the faint-hearted. Which to me means that this establishment does not cater for the local market. And if you consider that lunch is not included in the rate, well, foreign currency would be seriously advised...Grande Provence is a working wine estate comprising of The Owner's Cottage (5-star), The Restaurant, The Winery, The Gallery and The Jonkershuis. 5-star graded, The Owner's Cottage provides luxurious and exclusive en-suite accommodation for a maximum of ten guests within a setting of historical Cape Dutch buildings. The Conservatory at The Owner's Cottage is ideal for entertaining a private group of friends or for an intimate board meeting.The manicured gardens boast a private swimming pool and secluded Jacuzzi overlooking the vineyards. A beautifully appointed loggia and entertainment area adjacent to the pool is perfect for alfresco dining, with a state-of-the-art stainless steel portable barbeque.

The preferred check-in time is 14h00 with check-out at 11h00.
Children of all ages are welcome at Grande Provence however parental supervision is required at all times and responsibility for their safety and well-being is that of the parents. Children up to 12 years of age are welcome to share a room with their parents at no charge. Children over 12 years of age are charged the normal rate for a room.Breakfast and dinner can be served in The Owner's Cottage by the chef; alternatively guests can dine in The Restaurant or the Angel's Tears Garden. The Owner's Cottage is fully air-conditioned and boasts under floor heating.

The surround-sound stereo system is individually controlled in each room and a comprehensive CD library enables guests to create an atmosphere of their choice. A wide selection of DVDs is on hand for your personal T.V in your room that includes a selection of satellite channels.

Grande Provence boasts a helicopter pad for those guests who prefer to use the fly-in option. Activities can be organised via the manager or an industry expert will tailor make your activity plans in the comfort of The Owner's Cottage.

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