In another of our articles, we share news of Franschhoek’s repositioning to the ‘Valley of Dreams’, alongside news of the town now having made Time Magazine’s prestigious list of ‘World’s Greatest Places’ for 2022, sharing fine company with 50 destinations from around the world that Time’s correspondents and contributors nominated for exploring on the strength of the destination’s offer of “new and exciting experiences.” The question is, of course, in order to explore such magnificence, where is the best place to capture the surroundings, and feel connected to the energy that defines the experience on offer?
Deep experiential value is how I could best explain La Cotte Farm in Franschhoek. To access such a magnificent farm in one of the most beautiful villages in South Africa is a treat on its own. When you add the sublime quality of architecture and decor, the varied selection of accommodation from rooms to cottages, to villas, and land in a price range of less than R4000 (approximately $200) per couple for bed and breakfast (winter rates), you have unearthed a jewel.
Capetonians know it, and like to keep it somewhat to themselves. That’s not all, La Cotte is within walking distance from anywhere in the village, and that’s important given the diversity of bars, restaurants, stores, galleries and coffee shops that line the high street.
Embraced by the captivating Franschhoek Valley, where history and nature coalesce in well-kept and manicured roads and gardens, lies a private bubble that epitomises the very essence of the Cape Winelands’ allure. La Cotte Farm, a sophisticated queen, is a tribute to the intricate history of Franschhoek, enhanced by the visionary prowess of interior designer Michael Chandler and architect Dominic Touwen.
The Subtlety of Michael Chandler’s Vision: With a touch of alchemy reminiscent of Franschhoek’s enchantment, architect Dominic Touwen collaborated with visionary Michael Chandler to breathe new life into a neglected courtyard, transforming it into a poolside paradise. Chandler’s artistic brilliance unveiled itself through splendid murals, capturing the rich history and natural splendour of the Cape through a tapestry of flowers. Three panels, each depicting flora from different continents, weave a captivating narrative of the region’s past, expertly blending history and art.
Dominic Touwen’s Architectural Poetry: La Cotte Farm’s renaissance saw Dominic Touwen artfully curating spaces that tell tales of elegance and history. The main house, adorned with Cape Dutch and Victorian influences, becomes an embodiment of past and present. Interiors come alive with vibrant hues and sumptuous fabrics, a nod to the Far East’s historical influence on Cape Dutch cuisine. Each corner whispers tales of the farm’s journey, inviting guests to bask in the ambiance of whitewashed walls adorned with coral accents and inviting wicker chairs.
Sumptuous Sanctuaries: The Art of Accommodation One of the eleven original farms granted to the Huguenots, La Cotte Farm is steeped in history and heritage. The Manor house is at its heart and is a lovingly restored Cape Dutch homestead resting under ancient oak trees and surrounded by acres of spectacular gardens. Book into one of the elegantly proportioned guest bedrooms with their high ceilings, French doors and private terraces, or take the two-bedroom Pool House with its own kitchen, living room and private veranda.
The classic bathrooms have black and white marble floors, free-standing baths and generous walk-in showers. Orchard Cottages, cocooned on the outskirts of the farm, offer solace and serenity. Private pools and verandas embrace the valley’s sweeping views, creating havens of respite. Forest Cottages, nestled at the forest’s edge, frame vistas of vineyards and valleys, providing a private hideaway for peaceful reading or family get togethers and braais.
The Grace of the Manor House Hotel The Manor House Hotel at La Cotte Farm, a treasure steeped in history, marries yesteryear’s elegance with modern comfort. Guest bedrooms, a blend of classic design and modern convenience, feature French doors and private terraces. Bathrooms adorned with marble and free-standing baths beckon reach out their hand for relaxation. Aside the rooms, which steals the lion’s share of La Cotte’s word of mouth, the unforgettable moments of the Manor House experience are the morning breakfast, and an afternoon glass of wine on the lawn. Be sure you take your time for both of these.
A Rhapsody of Luxury and Heritage As the sun’s last rays paint the horizon in hues of gold and amethyst, La Cotte Farm reveals itself as more than a destination. It is a symphony of history and luxury, where each corner echoes the whispers of Franschhoek’s past and modern opulence dances with nature’s bounty. Sitting on one of the cottages patios, you can hear it. The artistic tango between Chandler and Touwen allowed the scenery to assume centre stage, and the rest to fall quietly and beautifully into place around it. La Cotte Farm is not just a getaway; it’s an invitation to experience Franschhoek’s essence in a tapestry woven with grace, elegance, and understatement.