Set among the Saint Rochelle mountains, Grande Provence is a rare vintage well worth discovering. Not only does the hotel offer boutique accommodation in chic modern villas, but it also has its own winery, art gallery and restaurant, so its activities are as well-cultivated as its vineyards. By day, linger over local artwork, visit nearby nature reserves, or gaze out over the mountains. In the evening, sip on the fruits of Grande Provence’s labours, while enjoying romantic dinners among the grapevines or in the award-winning restaurant.
Get this when you book through us:
A tasting of four house-bottled wines with canapés, plus one bottle of Grande Provence wine each
Double rooms from £306.31 (ZAR5,980), including tax at 15 per cent.
Rates include Continental breakfast (cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruits, juices, seed-loaf bread and pastries). Full-English breakfast is included in the room rate for some suites; for guests staying in La Provençale Villa it’s an additional cost of R70.
The hotel also has its own winery, art gallery, sculpture garden and boutique selling African artefacts, photography and a range of jewellery by Ilse Malan.
At the hotel
Acres of grounds, gallery and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, underfloor heating, air-conditioning, kitchenette with tea- and coffee-making facilities.
Our favourite rooms
For added space and extra privacy, stay in La Provençale Villa in the Vineyards. Located on the opposite side of the main building to the Owner’s Cottage, La Provençale Villa’s secluded spot overlooks the grapevines and mountains beyond, offering the extra privacy you seek when soaking in your private pool or dining à deux on your terrace. Like the other buildings at the hotel, the villa looks like a traditional Cape Dutch house with whitewashed walls and a thatched roof; inside, this standalone, two-bedroom villa is filled to its wooden rafters with mod-cons and sophisticated furnishings.
At the Owner's Cottage, recline on a sunlounger by day, and come evening, enjoy the warmth of a wood fire on the lantern-lit loggia overlooking the water. There's also a plunge pool for guests staying in La Provençale Villa in the Vineyards.
Book a facial by the pool or a massage in the peace and quiet of your own room; there isn’t a designated spa here, but therapists are on hand to perform pampering services all day long. Blend in with the surrounding greenery while striking a tree pose in a private yoga or Pilates class in the peaceful gardens of the Owner's Cottage.
Light linens and flowing dresses. Pack light as the hotel is full of goodies to take home; in one day here you can restock your wine cellar, redecorate your house with new artworks and update your wardrobe with designer jewellery.
The gallery and sculpture garden exhibit works by South African artists: historic painters like Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef or portraits by Irma Stern, contemporary portraiture by Lionel Smit, and Theo and Toby Megaw’s sculptures.
Children of all ages are welcome, but it’s best suited to older kids and teenagers. The hotel offers babysitting (R120 an hour; a minimum of two hours must be booked). Children under 10 can stay in their parents’ room for free.
Wine and dine your dearest with an alfresco private dinner amid ancient oak trees, crackling fire pits and bubbling water features; alternatively, take the party inside to the Jonkershuis private dining room or Wine Cellars for a candlelit feast.
Easygoing elegance with flowing summer dresses and chinos with open-collared shirts.
The restaurant is 15-minute walk from the main hotel. In the summer, make the most of the South African sunshine and take a table on the terrace or by the French doors; and in winter, choose a cosy chair by the roaring fire to keep warm while chef Marvin Robyn prepares your seasonal spread. Using locally sourced ingredients, Robyn prepares South African heritage classics with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Enjoy dishes like peri-peri tuna, Springbok rump and ribeye with biltong, paired with wines that are aged to perfection and specially selected to match your meal. For a meal worth remembering, book the six-course Gourmand Dégustation menu (advance-booking required).
Leading off from the Restaurant is a welcoming wine-tasting area. Below exposed metal beams, a striking galvanised-steel bar with black panels takes centre stage, surrounded by low-hanging brass lighting, charcoal-coloured walls and tractor-seat bar stools which reference the hotel’s early heritage as a working-farm. Pull up a chair by the fire and choose one of Grande Provence’s own vintages, or let the sommelier do the hard part for you and simply select the wine of the month. The tasting room bar is open from 10am to 7pm in summer and 10am to 6pm in winter.
Breakfast is either served at The Owner’s Cottage, La Provencale from 8am to 10.30am or in the Bistro from 10am to 11am. Lunch is from noon to 2.30pm and dinner is from 6pm to 8.30pm.
Grande Provence is in the heart of Franschhoek wine country, nestled in a lush valley between the Mont Rochelle and Hottentots Holland mountain ranges. The nearest large town is Stellenbosch; about a 30-minute drive east through Banhoek valley.
Cape Town International Airport (www.capetown-airport.com) is an hour’s drive from the hotel. Our Smith24 team can organise your flights; airlines fly direct from London to Cape Town. They can also organise one-way transfers to and from the airport; these cost ZAR950 for the first person, then ZAR85 for each additional passenger.
The closest train station is in Paarl, about 35 minutes north of the hotel. Direct trains arrive here from Cape Town and take around an hour and 20 minutes. Transfers between the hotel and station cost ZAR625 a vehicle.
You won’t need a car to discover the local area, but if you like to have your own vehicle for total freedom to explore the nearby wineries, nature reserves and towns and cities, our Smith24 team are on hand to help organise hire.
Avoid the traffic and descend into the hotel grounds by helicopter.
Worth getting out of bed for
Get to know the local area on a themed-guided tour with one of Grande Provence’s professional guides, or do it yourself, hopping on and off the Franschhoek wine tram. Drink in the stunning scenery while learning the history of 300-year-old Franschhoek, before jumping off at one of the many prestigious vineyards en route for lunch or a tasting. Of course, there are more active ways to explore the local area; hire mountain or quad bikes and follow paths through valleys, up mountains and alongside lakes. Alternatively you can view the nearby nature reserves from above, either abseiling down Table Mountain – the world’s highest natural, commercial abseil – on a helicopter tour, or sky-diving from 9,000ft. The local sea life is also worth a visit; paddle with penguins while sea-kayaking; scuba dive amongst shipwrecks, kelp forests, coral reefs and playful seals; or get up close and personal with Great Whites.
About a 20-minute drive away is Babylonstoren, a hotel and winery with its own fruit, veg and herb gardens, and several restaurants to choose from. Pick, clean and serve is the philosophy at Babel; housed in an old cow shed, their menus change constantly depending on what’s available from Babylonstoren gardens. In summer dishes include pineapples, gooseberries, granadillas, yellow tomatoes and apricots, and in winter, slow-cooked leg of lamb in red wine. Dine among your dinner at Greenhouse, a custom-built vintage conservatory at the rear of the gardens. Soak in the fragrant smells of ginger, cardamom and vanilla, while tucking into artisanal breads with handmade cheeses and meats and home-made herb oils, chutneys, preserves and relishes, plus fresh garden salads. Dinner at Bakery is served family-style; help yourself to antipasti, salad and wood-fired pizzas straight from the oven, served on large wooden boards in the centre of the table.
Staying in the heart of Cape wineland, you’re never far from fine vintages. Down the road in one direction are Leopard’s Leap vineyards and a modern tasting room, and in the other is Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines studio. For grain instead of grape, head to Tuk Tuk microbrewery in Franschhoek. A collaboration between Leeu Estates, the same people that run Marigold restaurant round the corner in Heritage Square, and the Cape Brewing Company, the bar has an industrial feel with a barrel-vaulted ceiling, exposed brick, dark-metal bar stools and exposed copper and stainless-steel service pipes running along the walls. Sit inside to watch the beer brew or outside on the bustling main street.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this sophisticated stay in Franschhoek and hung their new artworks and restocked their wine cellars, a full account of their week on the winery will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Grande Provence in South Africa...
More than 300 years ago, a French Protestant named Pierre Joubert fled France for the Huguenot hideout of Franschhoek in South Africa; here he founded a farm and vineyard which over the years grew and grew, until it finally became the luxury hotel Grande Provence. Follow his lead and escape your everyday life for a taste of the finer things in South Africa; dine on award-winning cuisine, take wine flights through the Cape, or peruse local art at the hotel’s on-site gallery: each square foot brings a new cultural experience. Rooms are named after a few of our favourite things: Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet and Chardonnay (all of which can be drunk in abundance here) and all you’re required to do is relax and unwind in the South African sun, lounge by the pool or chat with your fellow Smith around an open wood fire.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Grande Provence’s Guestbook below.
The property is beautifully decorated, artful touches throughout its spaces, a pool begging for you to come in, lovely morning breakfast spreads, and gorgeous almost-no-light-pollution night skies with the starry skies that affords.
Staff can be difficult to locate. Be sure to inquire if the minibar contents are all included. Or, for that matter, if anything they offer to do for you (e.g. we will have a shuttle drive you to the nearest vineyard) is also included. Given the size of the property, we were surprised to find they did not have a 'house' car to ferry guests between the main property and their restaurant/wine tasting area. Also, for the complimentary Mr and Mrs Smith wine tasting, be sure to request your 'voucher' as this caused a bit of a kerfuffle with our tasting (they would not proceed without this voucher that no one told us to obtain).