La Residence, Franschoek, South Africa
La Residence Hotel & Villas recently captured the coveted #1 spot in Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 100 Hotels and Resorts, but is it really the Best Hotel in the World?
I’ve stayed in some pretty swanky digs in my day, but swanky doesn’t even begin to describe this place. La Residence Hotel & Villas in South Africa’s Franschoek Valley is perfection personified. And plenty of others agree. It captured First Place in the Top 100 Hotels and Resorts from Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards. And who am I to argue with that.
I couldn’t find any fault with the place. And believe me, I tried. Remember my 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Hotels? I do tend to find flaws where they exist. Purely for sensational journalism purposes of course. 😉
The Wi-Fi? Like the True North, it’s strong and free (any Canadians in the room?)
The food? It’s included. And superb. And you can even go help out in the kitchen if the urge to create (or just observe) strikes you. Since the hotel can be booked as all-inclusive or as a bed and breakfast option, you can stuff your gob at will too.
Well there’s gotta be screaming kids right? Nope. Adults only in the main house. If you’ve got kids in tow, you’re welcome to one of the villas; they’re larger, family-friendly, and have their own pool.
Stuffy butlers treading underfoot? This ain’t Downton Abbey. While you can pretty much get anything you want with a phone call, and the staff are superbly attentive, they also understand that most folks just want to be left alone.
In naming it the Best Hotel in the World, Condé Nast Traveler described La Residence as a place that “appeals to those who wish to be close to the action but out of the limelight.” That’s an apt description. Nestled above Franschoek on a private road less than an hour from Cape Town, La Residence benefits from both its proximity to the city bustle, and its foundation in a quaint, arty village that also just happens to be the food and wine capital of South Africa.
Plus it’s got the nicest bathrooms in the southern hemisphere. The one below was mine — it’s in the Huguenot Suite.
Each of the 11 suites and 5 villas has its own distinct vibe, colour scheme, and high-end furnishings you’d expect to find in the world’s best hotel. But La Residence doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s plenty that’s quirky about this place too. Like this oversized chair.
And plenty of quirky art adorning the walls. Like this piece of gold I like to call “Rockin’ the Hi-Top Fade.”
And this piece of gold, which I think may be actual gold.
La Residence is classy, not snooty, and that’s one of the big things it’s got going for it. Well that and views like this…
And rooms like this…
La Residence embodies what a luxury boutique hotel should be. The only fault I could find was my own — I only stayed for one night.
What are your thoughts? Is La Residence the World’s Best Hotel?
Note: I was a guest of La Residence during my time in South Africa, but the oohs and the aahs are all my own.