At the end of July, Amanda Lobell and Neil Roach took a three-week honeymoon to South Africa. In a series of posts, they’re detailing their epic trip that covered all of the highlights of the country. Here, Amanda reviews their stay in the heart of the Cape Winelands at The Last Word Franschhoek, a luxury boutique hotel.
After three days in Cape Town, Neil and I got into our rental car and took the short drive to the Western Cape’s Winelands. The Winelands are only about 30-minute drive from Cape Town and many people visit as a day trip, but we wanted to spend a few nights there. We thought that staying there would be a more relaxing experience, and would allow us to get a better feel for the area with its beautiful scenery, many vineyards, and a chance to focus on fine dining. We picked the town of Franschhoek as the base from which we would explore the area.
Franschhoek is a popular destination for South Africans and tourists alike, and accordingly has tons of hotels ranging in price from hostels to luxurious five-star resorts. Most of these are in the countryside just outside of town, and focus on bringing out the ambience of the winelands through their locations right on the vineyards. Our hotel, the The Last Word Franschhoek, was located in the center of town. At first we wondered if we’d be missing out not being in the countryside, but we it turned out that we really enjoyed the convenience of being able to walk to the shops and restaurants right in town.
The Last Word is set in an old Cape Dutch home. The historical character of the exterior has been remarkably restored in the Cape Huguenot tradition. The interior, however, has been renovated to a more modern style. While travelers looking for a quaint, old-fashioned hotel may have been disappointed, we were very happy with the modern luxurious updates. For example, the rooms have DVD players and the bathrooms have heated floors and heated towel rails.
In every way, The Last Word Franschhoek focuses on comfort. The room we were given was huge and luxurious, with its own patio and private plunge pool. We visited in the South African winter, which can be on the chilly side. So while were sad not to take advantage of the deck and pool, we imagine they’d be awesome in the summertime.
Our room was well appointed by any hotel standards, and stocked with added amenities including three different products for soaking in the bath and a complimentary mini-bar. In fact, all beverages at the hotel are on the house, and guests are encouraged to help themselves to the selection of local wines.
Like most South African hotels we stayed at, breakfast was complimentary and can be eaten in the dining room area or privately in your room. We loved being able to eat in our room, finding that it added to the feeling of relaxation the hotel aims to establish.
While the food in and around Franschhoek is fantastic and what attracts many to this area, The Last Word makes its own unique culinary contribution as well. At the Last Word they have replaced the typical pillow-top chocolate that accompanies the evening turndown service with a small, delightful crème brulee! We were pretty surprised the first night when we came home from dinner to find two little crème brulee pots on our bed, but it was a very tasty and memorable touch.
The second night we found an even bigger surprise. The hotel knew that we were on our honeymoon so we came back from dinner to find not only crème brulee on the bed, but the whole room was lit by candlelight, a bath drawn and decorated with rose petals, and champagne waiting in an ice bath.
What makes The Last Word such a great place to stay is that their excellent staff makes a genuine effort to make your stay as comfortable and relaxing as possible. They are ready with restaurant and winery recommendations and will sort out any needed bookings. They also provide easy in-room service for food, movies and wine. If you’re looking for a unique place to stay in the heart of Franschhoek with all the comforts of a modern luxury boutique hotel, this is the place for you.
Comped But Never Compromised: On behalf of Travelogged.com, Amanda Lobell and Neil Roach received a complimentary stay at The Last Word Franschhoek but they are free to write whatever they want.