Review: Le Quartier Français, Franschhoek, South Africa

No visit to Cape Town is complete without an experience visiting South Africa’s premium wine country. The wine areas are split between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Basing ourselves at Le Quarter Français was a great way of starting the trip.

This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, a Safari in the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Mauritius. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Le Quartier Français, A Relais and Chateaux Property, Franschhoek, South Africa

“A Terrific Luxury Option for those looking to stay in the Heart of Franschhoek with easy driving access to local wineries, and walking distance to several in town Franschhoek restaurants”

A visit to Cape Town isn’t complete without a visit to the fabulous wineries that start less than an hour from the City Center. On my last visit, I lightly sampled the wine tourism industry by making day trips from Cape Town. Unfortunately, this led to a less than enjoyable experience thanks to the driving needed and I committed to myself that when I returned, I would have a longer, more immersed experience. 

Le Quartier Français was the answer. It’s advertised as an “exclusive boutique hotel situated in the heart of the Franschhoek” that is affiliated with Relais and Chateaux and Virtuoso / American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts. The term “exclusive boutique hotel” can have many interpretations but we were really satisfied with our stay here.

How we Booked:

We picked this hotel because it was in the heart of wine country in the wonderful small town of Franschhoek. This allowed us easy access to and from the heart of wine country, without having to commute back and forth to and from Cape Town.

Our booking was made direct on the website of the property. If you can find availability, the property is also available for American Express Platinum and higher credit card holders through the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program, which would offer a noon check in (where available), a complimentary upgrade (when available), free wifi, complimentary breakfast (although our rate already included breakfast) and an on property amenity valued at $100 USD.

Getting to Le Quartier Français, Franschhoek:

We left Cape Town in our Chevrolet Aveo rental (driving on the left) and made the two hour drive to Franschhoek. Taking the drive through Stellenbosch, and not the faster M1 drive, we passed by the large “informal settlement” south of the airport across the M2 motorway on the Cape Flats. The poverty in near proximity of some of the financial wealth of the Cape Town made a stark statement of the poverty conditions of some of the poorest South Africans.  

Checking into to the Le Quarter Français:

Arriving to the property in Franschhoek, the location was a bit hard to find. Marked with only a small pink sign on the main street, we drove around back and were buzzed into the main reception and gated parking area using the intercom. A porter immediately arrived to us parking the car. Receiving a bit of a cool reception, we were immediately led to the room. Our passports were not reviewed or scanned on check in.

Arrival Area: Le Quarter Français
A Great First Impression Rose

The Room: A Comfortable Twin Auberge Room

We had booked a “Comfortable Twin Auberge Room”. Unfortunately, there were no king / queen beds today as they had completely sold out. The twins were pushed together to make a king size with individual bedding. There are limited rooms on the property. 

The Auberge offers nine en-suite Auberge Rooms, three Grande Rooms, three Petite Garden Suites and two deluxe Auberge Suites (with splash pools). There are also “four state-of-the-art suites”, overlooking a private pool and sun-splashed deck.

The Comfortable Twin Auberge Room offered a colorful décor a small living space with an attached patio space and a stocked wood burning fireplace. I didn’t mind it at all considering it was a small inn in a small town in wine country but MrsWT73 found it a bit dated and not contemporary enough for her liking.

A Comfortable Auberge Twin
A Spacious “Comfortable” Room
A Separate Seating Area

There was a wood burning fireplace in the room stocked with firewood, a flat screen TV and a DVD player. I’ll take a wood burning fireplace anyway given the right conditions.

Entertainment Amenities – a wood burning fireplace

There was also a small desk in the event you needed a a surface to write on.

Small Desk Area
Welcome Thank You Notes

The bathroom offered a heated floor and heated towel rack. It was comfortably spacious and roomy for two.

In the room, there was coffee available with Le Creuset cups. A mini bar was also offered with alcoholic apple cider and a bottle of South African wine. All mini bar items were complimentary, re-stocked on a daily basis.

At this price point, I was surprised to find a few maintenance issues in a country where security was of an elevated concern. Our front door, with a lock falling off its hinges.

Lock Separating from the Frame

Around the Le Quarter Français Property:

A fabulous feature of Le Quartier Français is the wonderful outdoor landscaping. Of course, the gorgeous scenery of being in the foot hills of Franschhoek certainly helped. It was very easy waking up to these views every day.

Mountain Views from Almost Every Angle
A Well Landscaped Charming Property
Peaceful Pathways

The property is also located on the Main Street in Franschhoek, making it a central location for window shopping or visiting local restaurants for dinner.

We also visited “The Tasting Room” during our visit, which was a luxury tasting experience restaurant.

Recreation at the Property: An outdoor pool

The pool area was hardly used by any guests during our visit. I couldn’t resist myself, taking a dip after a day of wine tasting. The pool was not heated.

An Outdoor Pool
Full Sun Loungers
Lounging with Views of Mountains

Food and Beverage at the Hotel:

Breakfast was included in our rate in easily the nicest breakfast room I’ve ever experienced in a commercial hotel. During our visit, an entire wall of windows were opened, allowing fresh air into the room. A water feature fountain offered a peaceful soundtrack. I can’t think of many hotel breakfast rooms that are as attractive to enjoy breakfast in as this one.

An Open Air Breakfast Room
A Breakfast View

There were a mix of cold and hot features for breakfast. The service was much more attentive in the dining room than it was in the main part of the hotel. Hot items were also available at no charge off a menu, in addition to the fresh continental items on the buffet.

In addition to wonderful muffins, I enjoyed delicious coffees in Le Creuset Coffee Cups, an an Eggs Benedict with Watercress.

Delicious Morning Coffee
Eggs Benedict Served with Watercress

The Bottom Line on Le Quartier Français:

Overall, Le Quartier Français was a comfortable place to stay while visiting the Western Cape wineries. I enjoyed the property much more than MrsWT73 who found the property a bit expensive for the value received (nights started at approximately $400 USD per day). The breakfast room and the overall xeclusion of the property was a major draw for us, in addition to it’s convenient location. The property offered more hands off than hands on service, and we spent our down time lounging around the pool and enjoying the sights of this lovely corner of the world.

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