It’s informally referred to as the “Elton John Suite”, the hotel’s assistant manager confided as we entered Suite 11 on the second floor of La Residence… That after we were greeted by three people at the main entrance when we arrived minutes earlier, with one greeter even going so far as to say “magandang gabi” with a smile and the ladies were given little bouquets of flowers for their bedside tables. Mr. John was the guest that was there at the opening of the hotel and stayed in the suite, and has returned to stay in this suite again. I wonder if he and Christian Lacroix both requested the suite for the same weekend who would be accommodated… Frankly, Mrs. MM and I had no idea this hotel was so chi-chi. Yes, we knew it was highly rated, and had had a glimpse of its website, but nothing prepared us for the opulence of the interiors until you actually are standing in your room(s). I won’t even attempt to describe the interiors, check out this website with reviews of the rooms to understand that it is somewhere between utterly fabulous and perhaps too much of itself. Let me just say that the owner, Mrs. Biden, must indeed love decorating.
THE MAHARANI SUITE
The official name of Suite 11 is The Maharani Suite, a bit Indian royalty meets oriental furnishings with a pass thru a french fabric factory, with a bed on a marble podium and a bathroom you could get lost in. We had booked a room at this hotel in low season (winter rates) and thought our daughter was getting an extra bed in our room but when we arrived, it seems they had kindly upgraded not only our room, but had decided to give our daughter her own suite. A quick check of their website indicates they charge by person, so if we had booked three suites separately as “singles” we could have had EVEN more room I suppose. But the splendor of the Maharani suite was outdone by the SPECTACULAR views out of three sides of the suite. It was stormy the evening we arrived, but by mid-morning the next day, the vistas were picture perfect.
A panoramic photo of our suite, from entry door to terrace doors. You may have to click on the photo and enlarge it on your computer to get the full effect. I just discovered the “panorama” shot on Mrs. MM’s Lumix and overdid the panoramic shots all over wine country. :)
The ginormous bathroom.
From our main door, there was a short hallway with a cabinet filled with curious along with a coffee machine, teas, chocolates, soft drinks, wine etc. Drink as much as you like of anything that is in stock. The hallway led to this enormous side table with lamps and gilt mirror and wall sconces that reminded me somewhat of my grandmothers antique collection from way back when.
Huge french doors opened up to two balconies…
…one with a view of the dam/pond complete with geese, springbok in the distance and miniature ponies grazing nearby…
…and the other balcony with a view of the olive groves, lavender, vineyards and mountains beyond.
What we referred to as the Maharajah and Maharani thrones. Hahaha. And yes, we posed for a cheesy picture here but the shot will never be published, ever. :) The only glitch in an otherwise perfect stay was the bizarre lack of drapes on this half of the room. Perhaps they had been drenched in a recent storm while the windows were open, but they were removed for whatever reason, leaving the curtain rods bare. It wasn’t an issue with light or privacy, as there were exterior wooden shutters pulled closed at night, but it was a detail that I am surprised the staff did not catch. Having said that, the view from this room was so beautiful I think the location of the room made up for the temporary shortage of drapery…
…that side of the room looked out over the lawn and pool, so visually it was all good.
Chilled sparkling wine or rose was waiting on our arrival, sweet dessert wine was left in a crystal decanter on the table along with a good selection of fruit and a wonderful bouquet of colorful flowers. Chocolate and other munchies at the bar as well should feel a little piqued.
The bathroom was a bit over the top. Something my mother would absolutely enjoy, but I am easier to please. I don’t like tubs, and I most certainly had no intention of lounging in the bath while conversing with Mrs. MM or someone else who was sitting on the chair beside me. Think Cora in Downton Abbey attended to by Ms. O’Brien who intentionally left the soap on the floor so her boss would slip and lose her baby… Seriously, only real Queens, Maharanis or corrupt PDAF Fixers would have underlings still draw their baths of warm water (or milk) and stick around while you scrubbed your privates.
Having said that, the shower was wonderful, with an overhead rainfall of sufficient and hot water. Lots of shampoos and other stuff on offer, no scrimping there.
Our luggage seemed totally out of place in this suite, but I gather this rugged/fabulous dichotomy is not unusual, as other guests often arrive from the bush as well.
At night, candles are lit and left burning in your bathroom, along with mood lighting turned low. My only other beef with the set-up is that it was okay for a brief stay, but you would never have your home bathroom set up this way. With airspace being shared with the main room, no one really wants to hear your partners bowel movements and worse, the eau de caca wafting into the wonderful master bedroom. They provide a spray bottle of fragrance to mask the odor, but everyone knows that’s like spraying Chanel No. 5 on an already ripe armpit. I jest of course, and really did savor the setting for the brief two-day stay.
The amenities were so big and plentiful, you actually wished you would enjoy a bath with bath salts and bubbles.
Enjoying the terrace and the view…
THE NOMETEMBA SUITE
We were pleasantly surprised that our daughter was shown to her own room, and even more so when we saw the suite. Smaller that the Maharani Suite but just down the hall next door, it was a beautifully appointed room with a yellow and green color scheme. Our daughter was wide-eyed with glee, mostly because of the accommodations, but probably partially because she wouldn’t have to put up with my notorious snoring.
A panoramic shot of her suite…
…and another one of her bathroom.
A soft and beautifully dressed bed, rich upholstery on a couch at the foot of the bed, a painted table and side chairs along with a huge flower arrangement of color appropriate flowers grown right on the property of the hotel. She also had another bottle of chilled wine and some dessert wine as well.
A rather striking yellow bookshelf was stocked with leather bound books.
While her bedside table had her little bouquet of flowers (placed in a silver cup), a bottle of water, the next few days weather forecast, and a chocolate to bid her goodnight.
Outside her french doors she also had a large balcony that looked out on the pond and mountains in the distance.
A huge television, local African modern art, and a writing desk were on the wall against the huge bathroom.
While I am less bowled over by fancy furnishings, I was truly impressed by the COLORS of everything in each of the suites. Clearly, the colors of flowers, fruit, fabrics, rugs, accessories are carefully thought out… and you only notice these things when they are done so darned well.
A large bath in the center of the bathroom…
…and a huge shower on one corner. She also had a private dressing area that is every girl’s dream, I would think.
When she returned to her suite after dinner (and given the stormy axe murderer scenarios I have alluded to earlier), she got ready to take a bath and only then did it dawn on her she was in her own luxurious suite, with several possibilities… As she was well trained by her father, who insists that when she approaches a car in a parking lot to circle the car and check the back seat before she gets in, she apparently checked behind the voluminous drapes and large closets before she relaxed and took a long bath in her tub. :)
THE ARMANI SUITE
On our second day at La Residence, we noticed the doors to this Suite (I think it was #9) open and we got to stick our head in to see what it looked like. Now THIS is more my style. And it doesn’t surprise me in the least that their website lists it as the ARMANI suite. Very tastefully done, in browns, grays, etc. It’s view was nowhere near as beautiful as the one in our room, but the interiors were quietly stunning.
The inlaid furniture in this suite was probably Indian in origin, and beautifully done.
The hotel also has a nicely curated shop on the premises, a terrific breakfast buffet, an interesting menu for dinner, as well as a car service where assistant managers personally drive you into town should you wish to stroll on the quaint main street of Franschhoek or grab a meal at one of several highly regarded restaurants.
Overall, I would have to say this hotel was spectacular, and deserving of many of the accolades and 5 star ratings it has gotten in several venues. Wonderful premises, amazing views and great staff which all made for a terrific stay. I would HIGHLY recommend it if you are ever headed to this part of South Africa.