Tourists migrate to the picturesque village of Franschhoek for its breathtaking scenery and world class hospitality, but not many know that this region of the Western Cape is also steeped in some fascinating history. Knowing a little bit of background when visiting this town adds a special nuance to the overall experience, and allows your imagination to take you back to what the area would have looked like in the mid-16th Century.
One of Franschhoek’s best-kept secrets is the fact that winter is just as lovely as summer. In fact, better, some might argue. While hot afternoons by the pool and leisurely lunches under the oaks are what most visitors come to enjoy, the Western Cape’s cooler months are cherished by locals for their very special charm. Temperatures can drop and the odd bout of rain might fall, but inclement weather is always followed by a string of the kind of blue-sky, sunshiny days made for walks through scenic vineyards and cosy afternoons tasting wine beside a roaring fire.
Akademie Street Announced as World’s Most Romantic Retreat at the 2018 World Boutique Hotel Awards
We are proud to announce that Akademie Street has been as named World’s Most Romantic Retreat for 2018 by the World Boutique Hotel Association. This comes off the back of last year’s award as World’s Best Boutique Hotel.
The 2018 Boutique Hotel Awards were announced on 8th November 2018 at a glittering awards ceremony held at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, London. The annual ceremony brought together an array of boutique hotel owners, travel and lifestyle press and travel industry influencers from all four corners of the world.
Valentino devotees will recognise our lounge suite, as it provided the backdrop for a famous New York photo shoot of the revered fashion designer before we purchased it. The clean silhouettes and chic lines of the set are the work of Polish designer Jorge Zalszupin, renowned for his sensually modern pieces. Zalszupin, who moved to Brazil after World War II, was to become one of the most prominent furniture designers in his field during the 1950s. Continue reading “Valentino graced Zalszupin lounge suite”
Picturesque and historic Franschhoek is one of the oldest towns in South Africa and Akademie Street is synonymous with the growth of the town from its earliest beginnings. As the town has changed from an early settlement for French Huguenot refugees to an internationally renowned wine, gastronomic and leisure destination, so we have adapted and developed. Continue reading “Oortuiging – a luxurious step back in time”
Indigenous South African plants provide the inspiration for our entire garden scheme. We wanted to create a unique experience for our guests, something true to the Western Cape and designed to thrill and inspire. We have such an intriguing range of natural beauty – from the effervescent, slightly citrus bouquet of pink hibiscus, to the butterfly friendly pincushion, the evergreen sweet pea bush and hardy Cape honeysuckle – that an English rose, or a Canadian maple would have been a disingenuous choice. Continue reading “Patrick Watson weaves his magic in Akademie Street’s Gardens”
When you visit award winning Akademie Street Hotel in Franschhoek make sure you wander inside our Orangerie and linger a while to appreciate our specially commissioned, 3 metre wide painting by a locally celebrated artist. It takes pride of place against the back wall of the Orangerie. One can easily appreciate the shere beauty of the painting, but if you don’t linger long enough you might just miss the most interesting aspect of all. It’s the way the painting is lit! For on the right hand side of the painting sits the very same operating theatre lamp used by Dr Christiaan Barnard in the world’s first ever heart transplant, exactly 50 years ago! Continue reading “Christiaan Barnard’s light still burns brightly …. but at Akademie Street!”
We are immensely proud and humbled to announce that on 9th November 2017 Akademie Street was awarded World’s Best Boutique Hotel at a glittering Awards Ceremony, held at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London. Continue reading “From one heavy weight to another …. Akademie Street voted World’s Best Boutique Hotel!”
Exploring the great outdoors is fun, and eating out – especially in the Franschhoek valley – can be an adventure all of its own. But sometimes, all any ardent traveller truly seeks is that ever-elusive downtime, devoid of disturbances and the world’s worries. Continue reading “Your Summer Reading List”
Widely regarded as the most beautiful city in South Africa, Cape Town is famous for its iconic mountain and foodie culture, offering up a smorgasbord of aesthetic and cultural treats for tourists and locals alike. A mere hour’s drive from Franschhoek, this multicultural destination isn’t one to be overlooked when next you’re in the valley. Continue reading “A Day in Table Bay”
Outdoor season is slowly hitting its stride, and with toasty temperatures come plenty of opportunities to spend your time trawling through the natural splendour on offer in the Western Cape. Continue reading “Hit the great outdoors this spring”
Spring has finally arrived in the Franschhoek Valley and as winter’s chill makes way for warmer weather, there’s no better time to get out and explore our town’s plentiful charms. Continue reading “Step into spring”
The Cape Winelands are well known for their elegant wine farms, award-winning restaurants and jaw-dropping landscapes. But for the traveller looking to sample a little of everything the winelands have to offer in a single morning, there’s no better destination than one of the region’s ever-popular markets. Continue reading “Off to Market”
Just 20 minutes to the north of Cape Town lies a wine valley unfamiliar to many, yet replete with its own set of rolling hills, dramatic valleys and terraced vineyards, many of which produce some of the country’s most accoladed wines. Continue reading “Head for the Hills: A day out in Durbanville”
Winter’s here, and Franschhoek’s soaring peaks are now sporting that tell-tale dusting of snow so typical of the colder months. And whilst the region is perhaps best known for its summer offerings, there’s an undeniable charm about winter’s chillier climes, when the valley takes on a magical, almost ethereal air. Continue reading “Winter Fun in Franschhoek”
Surrounded by imposing mountain ranges and tucked away in the heart of the winelands, Tulbagh is perhaps the region’s best-kept secret, quietly relishing its status as an undiscovered gem. Continue reading “Tantalising Tulbagh: Exploring Franschhoek’s historic counterpart”
A not-so-sleepy university town surrounded by lush vineyards, mountainous nature reserves and oak-shaded streets, Stellenbosch is best known for its viticulture, culinary clout and thriving student life. Continue reading “Stellar Stellenbosch: Exploring Franschhoek’s sister valley”
It’s hard to define exactly what makes a space special. Is it the building itself? Perhaps it’s the memories you’ve made within its walls? Or perhaps, it’s the knowledge – be it conscious or subconscious – that every inch of a room is bursting with stories. Continue reading “Every seat has a story | Part Two”
Whilst Franschhoek gets most of the acclaim when it comes to South African wine country, it’s far from being a town in isolation. In fact, just a short drive in each direction reveals a variety of other charming villages and towns, each of which boasts its own distinct character. Continue reading “Picture perfect Paarl – Exploring Franschhoek’s Northerly Neighbour”
As the days become shorter, the nights longer, and we wave goodbye to long, lazy, lunches on sun drenched terraces, it can be very tempting to hibernate indoors until summer comes knocking again. Continue reading “Warding off the winter blues: Three of Franschhoek’s Finest Winter Eateries”