a cream-colored bedroom in a hotel suite
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La Residence

Originally designed as the private home of South African power couple Phil and Liz Biden, La Residence feels exquisitely personal.

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Entrance (in Evening) at Babylonstoren, Winelands, South Africa


On the foothills of the Drakenstein, this destination hotel–cum–rural utopia put the South African Winelands in the spotlight when it opened in 2010. The massive property, with a working farm and acres of gardens, embodies an innovative new generation of eco-travel.

Guests stay in minimalist one- or two-bedroom suites in white-washed, 17th-century Cape Dutch–style farm buildings. There, visitors are completely immersed in the sublime natural setting: days include fishing and canoeing in the property’s water reserve; exploring the resort’s numerous hiking and biking trails; or touring the gorgeous gardens with Babylonstoren’s expert horticulturists. The hotel puts a premium on its sustainability and commitment to green technology. For instance, the garden forbids pesticides but rather makes use of insects and small animals to reduce its environmental footprint.

Another draw is the superb Garden Spa, which offers numerous enriching treatments, plus a steam and sauna room and two pools. Don’t miss the indulgent Hammam Water Ritual, which includes a full body exfoliation and body butter massage. Many therapies include oils and scrubs made from freshly picked herbs.

However, the magnum opus of Babylonstoren is its prized farm-to-table cuisine. The resort’s fine-dining restaurant, Babel, is one of Cape Town’s most sought-after eateries and serves elevated seasonal fare using incredibly fresh produce. Guests have the option to pick ingredients from the on-site garden and cook themselves in one of the six state-of-the-art cottage kitchens (or, solicit the help of one of Babel’s chefs, who are eager to lend a hand). There is also a more casual eatery, which serves equally delicious food.

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Aerial View - Delaire Graff Estate, Winelands, South Africa

Delaire Graff Estate

Few properties in the Cape Winelands have opened with as much hoopla as the Delaire Graff Estate, unveiled in 2009 by diamond magnate Laurence Graff. Graff bought the estate in 2003 and spent years—and millions—transforming it into a luxury property worthy of its spectacular high-altitude setting atop the Helshoogte Mountain Pass, which separates the towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The result is a gorgeous resort with world-class everything, from the prodigious wine cellar (ask for a tasting) and the spacious guest rooms with plunge pools to the serious art collection. There are two restaurants, a spa, an infinity pool, a charming boutique called 100% Capri that sells home decor and, bien sur, the flagship Graff diamond salon.

Guest rooms are spread among ten cottages (called “lodges”), all of them spacious (the smallest is 800 square feet), with chic, urban furniture in a cool gray palette. Private plunge pools and decks make the most of the sweeping views. One of the loveliest things to do is to stroll along the paved pathway that runs through the vineyard. On your right side are row upon row of impeccably planted grapevines (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc), the varietals changing with the elevation; on your left side is a cavernous valley with breathtaking views over the countryside.

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Grande Provence

In the heart of the majestic Franschhoek Valley, Grande Provence is ideal for those interested in having an entire wine estate to themselves.
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Le Quartier Français

Franschhoek's Le Quartier Français offers a charming, guesthouse-like option for travelers visiting the South African winelands.
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Leeu Estates

Located between the mountains and the river, just a few minutes’ drive from Franschoek town, Leeu Estate is a boutique hotel with the feel of an exclusive private estate. The original 19th century Manor House was designed in the typical Cape Dutch style and was carefully refurbished before opening in June of 2016.

The Manor House is the core of the estate and home to the reception, the Dining Room, the Reading Room, the Living Room, six of the estate’s 17 rooms and suites and a very diverse art collection. The Reading Room and Living Room are large, beautifully appointed rooms with high ceilings and doors that open onto a terrace overlooking the vineyard and gardens. Two rooms are located adjacent to The Manor House, and the remainder of the property’s rooms are situated in cottages throughout the property. The rooms are contemporary classic in décor and have been individually styled in warm, calming colors.

At the property’s restaurant, The Dining Room, guests can enjoy executive chef Oliver Cattermole’s creative fusion dishes that feature locally sourced organic and ethically farmed produce. Diner can sit either in the art-filled dining room or al fresco on the outdoor terrace, which overlooks Mr. Singh’s Bokkie garden, decorated with small buck sculptures.

Also on property, is the tranquil Leeu spa with three treatment rooms and an infinity-edge outdoor pool as well as a fitness center.

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Leeu House

Leeu House is a luxurious and tranquil retreat just an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Set in the wine and food heartland of South Africa, this twelve-room property is a charming country escape located steps from central Franschhoek, the historic village home to superb wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, excellent art galleries and boutiques.

The whitewashed, thatched-roof manor features light and airy accommodations, all with oak furnishings and impressive local art. Rooms offer goose-down duvets, flat-screen TVs, Nespresso machines and mini-bars, and several boast outdoor terraces and private gardens. The attractive en-suite bathrooms, clad in marble, all have freestanding baths, spacious showers and heated floors.

Adding to the serenity and seclusion of Leeu House are the 50-foot pool and manicured gardens blooming with oak trees, evergreen hedges, azaleas and fragrant jasmine (bicycles are available for exploration). Just minutes away is the Leeu Estate, and guests may take advantage of the hotel's spa, gym, infinity swimming pool and several restaurants. Also at Leeu Estate is the celebrated Mullineux & Leeu Winery, where all guests can arrange tastings.

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Mont Rochelle

Rebranded by Richard Branson in 2014, Mont Rochelle is a comfortable, boutique wine estate about a five-minute drive from Franschhoek.

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