It was my 40th birthday on Friday and my partner G was getting home from Angola where he works off-shore late on Thursday, in time to whisk me away for a romantic weekend somewhere. The destination was a surprise, I only knew it would be within driving distance and therefore somewhere in the greater Cape Town region. At that stage I didn’t even know G had booked the weekend via Portfolio – something that Marylou and Candice in our reservations department had kept very quiet about!
Leaving our son with my parents we set off in the grey drizzle, heading out along the Strandfontein Road and were soon in the Cape Winelands. Once we’d left Stellenbosch behind I began to suspect that our ultimate destination would be Franschhoek – somewhere we’d only ever stopped for lunch but never stayed. And I was right. Just outside of the town we pulled into the gates of Franschhoek Country House and Villas - what a beautiful and luxurious place it is!
No sooner had we been welcomed by the friendly staff than we discovered we’d been upgraded to a Villa Suite. Wow – I’ve never stayed in such luxurious accommodation! The suite comprised a large lounge with a fireplace, beautifully furnished in a classic French style with impressionist paintings on the walls, and leading out to a large veranda overlooking the gardens and many fountains.
The bedroom was also spacious and overlooked vineyards, with the mountains in the distance creating the perfect backdrop.
The bathroom featured a deep freestanding bath and extra-large shower and twin basins. All the décor was elegant and not overtly fussy, which I liked.
One of the best things at this time of year was the underfloor heating throughout the suite, which meant that the marble tiled floor was pleasantly warm underfoot despite the chilly winter weather.
We enjoyed delicious cuisine both nights at the award winning in-house Monneaux Restaurant where the staff were really friendly and the ambiance was wonderful. Sitting in the lounge area of the restaurant in front of a log fire, sipping lemongrass daiquiris was a great start to a lovely birthday evening which ended on a VERY high note when G, en route back to the villa, stopped beside one of the softly lit fountains to present me with a beautiful engagement ring!
The rest of the weekend was relaxing and romantic as it should be! I had a 1.5 hour full body massage at the on-site salon on Saturday morning and then we explored Franschhoek and had a picnic in the grounds of the Huguenot Museum, before heading for The Station – a popular and vibey local pub recommended to us by the staff at Franschhoek Country House, to watch the Springboks beat the All Blacks (even that went well!)
The staff at Franschhoek Country House had no idea I was a member of Portfolio as neither G nor I mentioned that (not wanting to mix work and pleasure) and so all that we enjoyed – the accommodation, food and service - at this very special place is something any guest looking for a really luxurious and romantic getaway in Franschhoek can expect to experience.
For myself I would like to thank all at Franschhoek Country House for a wonderful stay, and I hope we return again one day to re-live the memories we made this weekend!