Welcome Travelingpanties: Review of La Residence South Africa: The Ultimate Luxury & Honeymoon Hotel, Ranked #1 Best Hotel in the World!
La Residence is an amazing gem in the Cape Winelands. Countless celebrities have visited this property including of course Elton John who visited several times. And hey, if you can impress the biggest diva of all times, you’re doing something right! While there have no doubt been dozens of other celebrities the staff of course stays mum to help to protect their privacy. However, after doing a bit of my own research I know that Ivanka Trump honeymooned here and I did hear a rumor that Robert Redford was coming a few weeks after I was there. After having the privilege to come here–it’s easy to see why! I’m not surprised after all, it is sister hotel to the Royal Malewane–infamously known in my family as the hotel that I considered moving to the South African Bush to work for! They are both so magical and remain two of my favorite hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Here’s why!
When you arrive, the entire staff waits for you in the entry way.
Welcome Amenity? Any cocktails? Warm towel?
When you walk into the lobby you’ll be blown away. I swear, it was so gorgeous I teared up. I wish that wasn’t true. It’s an exquisite colonial style dining hall with checkered marble floors, oversized chandeliers, cozy couches, vast fireplaces. Behind the lobby is a long terrace, which overlooks the hotel’s infinity pool, which opens onto the most perfect view of vineyards and mountains. Ohh and there are random peacocks wandering around the property.
La Residence is located on a 30-acre working farm, complete with spectacular vineyards, plum orchards, and gorgeously manicured gardens. Trust me, you will never want to leave the property–and with fabulous dining and stunning views, there really is no reason to! I really just wanted to stay forever and soak up the amazing scenery.
The hotel is located in the heart of Franschhoek, which I found to be the most charming area of the Cape Winelands. You’re just a few minutes drive from town and from some of the best wineries in the country! I highly recommend La Petite Ferme for lunch and wine as well as The Tasting Room for an amazing meal that you’ll never forget!
And guests can walk through the vineyards–so romantic.
There’s an outdoor infinity pool where sunbathers can unwind and admire the views.
There are eleven individually and impeccably decorated suites and five villas. They’re flamboyantly decorated but still somehow retain sophistication and colonial charm. Rooms open on to generous balconies or verandas, which offer the perfect place to relax and take in the sweeping views of mountains and vineyards. All of the rooms are eclectically decorated with four-poster beds, antique furniture that the owner handpicks, Persian carpets and unique and original artwork. The result is palatial pizzazz and a celebration of eclectic luxury!
We were given the honeymoon suite and it’s a room that I will remember forever. It’s styled in white and gold. A King-Size bed sits between four marble pillars atop a heated marble plinth. It looks out into a garden and of course the gorgeous gardens and mountains.
Closet/Dresser Details? So much space and they will even put everything away for you if you want.
Charging Situation? Chargers next to beds and on desks. In the villas you don’t even need converters since they have tons of different outlets no matter where you’re from.
Turn-Down Service: Yes! Maid service twice-daily.
Bottled Water? Yes. Complimentary. Still and Sparkling.
Coffee maker? Yes, there is an entire area including fresh accoutrements for your tea or coffee like milk and lemon.
White Glove Inspection: One of the poshest and stunning properties I’ve ever been to. Everything was clean as can be.
Here are some of the other rooms I just thought were gorgeous.
The little touches and artwork was just amazing! The owners collect pieces from all over the world and you can tell it’s truly a labor of love.
The hotel also offers 5 villas. They are even more lavish than you can imagine. Here’s the view in one of the backyards.
The hotel has probably the most palatial bathrooms I have ever seen. A picture is worth a thousand words, no? Can you imagine going back home to my tiny NYC bathroom after this? The marble bathroom is covered in mirrors and is referred to at the hotel as the Versailles Bathroom.
There were his and hers sinks, a giant deep-soaking tub and separate shower.
Makeup Mirror? Yes
Hairdryer? Yes. Very high quality.
Designer Toiletries? Molton Brown and Charlotte Rhys toiletries
Towel quality? The plushest, thickest towels ever.
Robes? Yes. and slippers.
Amenities? Heated floors and towel racks.
The Food & Drink
The restaurant is located in the lobby. Diners can have a table outside and dine al-fresco, sit opposite one of the many fireplaces or snuggle up in oversized chairs in a romantic corner.
Breakfasts offered a massive buffet along with anything your heart could desire that would be specially made upon request. Lunch and Dinner were not included in the room rate, however. Dinner started at about R650 ($60 USD) per person. The food was beyond fantastic–bring stretch pants as I can promise that you’ll over-indulge!
The menu always features fresh, seasonal local produce and naturally, excellent South African wines. The hotel’s sommelier will help you pick the perfect wine from La Residence’s cellar to go with your meal.
The hotel bar offers a nice selection of any drink you can imagine. You’re free to help yourself but a staff member is always happyto help. And then you can take your drink anywhere on the sprawling property–I recommend overlooking the lake around sunset on the comfy couches.
While there isn’t a full-service spa just yet, guests can indulge in a range of spa treatments in the privacy of their own room, balcony or in the hotel’s treatment room.
The Little Things
Did I feel truly welcome by the staff? This doesn’t begin to cover it. The staff here was amazing, helpful and magnificent! I ran out of space on my SD card for my camera and within seconds they had run to town and picked up a new one for me.
Wi-Fi? Yes. And it’s included in the room rate.
Mini-Bar? Yes. Full mini bar and it’s all inclusive.
Cocktail Quality? I actually only drank wine here but it was superb. Their sommelier knew everything and had an incredible knowledge of South African wine.
Any other quirky things? They put enormous and amazing arrangements of fresh flowers in the room.
Other amenities: Laundry service is included. They’ll wash and clean anything and everything! I LOVED this! You just give it to them in the morning and it’s back 24 hours later!
Good For Families: This can be good for families, singles or couples. It’s very small but everyone was very quiet relaxed. However, the hotel does not accept kids under 12 years of age unless the hotel is booked exclusively.
Where do Most Guests Hail From? This property attracts guests from around the world–including many celebrities!
Room for Improvement
I cannot think of one thing here that wasn’t absolutely beyond perfect. And that’s rare. They have thought of everything.
The Wow Factor(s):
I was blown away by everything at this hotel. I think that the unique decor in every room is gorgeous. The views are insane. The lobby is breathtaking. And the attention to detail and attentive level of service is most memorable. They even iron the Ralph Lauren linens before bringing them to your room and then they iron them once they’re on the bed again to make sure that they’re properly pressed.
The Bottom Line: Would I recommend it?
This hotel exemplifies opulence and luxury. I would come back here in a New York Minute! In fact, I would come back to South Africa JUST to come back here. It is very clear why this is considered the #1 hotel in the entire world.
This is an amazing escape for luxe-loving couples (and even families who can rent villas). I loved it! Travelingpanties approved!
I thought that the hotel was so gorgeous that I actually had a photo shoot here with a fabulous service called Flytographer. Our photographer couldn’t get over how stunning the property was either!
Our Fab Photos
A special thank you to our Flytographer, Ronel for taking such fabulous photos. You can read about their fabulous vacation photography services here. Our photographer was Ronel Kruger. Her personal website is here and to book an appointment with Flytographer, the best vacation photographers to do vacation photos click here!
La Residence South Africa Information
Phone: 00 27 21 876 4100
Cost: Rooms start at R3700/person ($332 USD) per night during the low season (May-July) and at R5500/person ($494 USD) per night during high season (Nov-February). Rates are inclusive of: Accommodation, Breakfast, Snacks, Wireless Internet, Laundry Service, Full mini bar, local beverages adn house wines, all teas and specialty coffees, return transfers into the town of Franschhoek.
*Disclaimer* As is common in the travel industry, writers are provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Although my hotel was complimentary, all opinions herein are my own. You can’t buy the love here, people! Just ask my husband!
All images credit: Katie Lara for Travelingpanties except where noted.
This looks like truly a unique place to visit. The grounds of the hotel… the rooms… and your description of the staff- totally makes me want to go there. My husband and I would absolutely love it!- October 22, 2014
It really was! I loved it so much! Dying to get back there!- October 24, 2014
What an extraordinary experience. And I love the idea of a vacation photographer, what a really fun concept!- October 23, 2014
Wow, this is incredible! What a gorgeous place – so much character – and an equally beautiful setting. Fabulous photos, thanks for sharing!- October 24, 2014
Your pictures are fantastic! What a beautiful location. So unique and lively!- October 26, 2014
Thank you so much!! And it barely even captures its true beauty!- October 29, 2014
WOW! Amazing! Everything is so beautiful and luxurious. I can’t even imagine having a vacation photographer – so great. I’m dying to go now!- October 27, 2014
OMG that bathroom, amazing! The photos are fabulous, love the scenery 🙂- October 27, 2014
I have to say, I will dream of this bathroom forever!- October 27, 2014
We checked this hotel out too when we visited South Africa on safari last year and thought we could add in some wine touring – it looks gorgeous! No jockeying for mirror space in that lovely large bathroom :-). Unfortunately we ended up not having time to add in Cape Town and environs. Next time, for sure – and we’ve bookmarked this hotel :-).- October 30, 2014