“Intimate, stylish and supremely comfortable guesthouse an easy stroll away from the restaurants and shops of historic Franschhoek”
Akademie has 3 guest cottages, each with its own private plunge pool surrounded by the garden's rambling hedges and trees; the feel is as intimate outside as it is within the houses themselves. There are also 3 suites: 2 in the Cape-Dutch style main house and 1 in a freestanding building adjacent to this. All have been decorated with an appealing mix of antique and contemporary furnishings.
Our favourite cottage is Gelatenheid (meaning 'equanimity'), a large 2-storey house flanked by a long sweep of veranda on each level. Inside it's based on traditional Cape Colonial style: you'd be forgiven for thinking that the buildings were much older. The downstairs kitchen-diner has comfortable sofas and leather armchairs; cut flowers, floral-printed cushions and lots of paintings add warmth and colour to its white walls, planked floors and traditional olive green sash window frames. French doors overlook its pool and private garden. The whole of the top floor is an enormous bedroom-sitting area with a sofa, a kingsize bed, a freestanding bathtub and, out on the veranda, is a second bathtub for alfresco ablutions.
The other 2 cottages receive slightly less natural light due to the thickness of the surrounding foliage but are just as charming. The smallest Vreugde ('joy'), sleeps 2 in a cosy bedroom with a kitchenette at one end and a wide veranda leading out to its small paved garden and plunge pool. Oortuiging ('conviction'), a restored cottage dating back to the 1860s, sleeps 3 and has the largest garden with a sunny lawned area and a plunge pool. It has 2 ensuite bedrooms (1 large double room and a small single room), as well as a separate kitchen, a dining area and a living room with a fireplace.
The self-contained Twyfeling Suites are at either end of the Cape Dutch-style main house. One suite has a private conservatory area with views over the water fountain towards the mountains. The other has a conservatory-style bathroom and leads out to the garden and the large pool, which these suites share with Uitsig.
Uitsig (View) is a free-standing suite. More contemporary than the cottages, it can be either a kingsize double or a twin. It has leather armchairs, a swish modern bathroom and French doors that open onto a bright balcony with mountain views.
Bathrooms throughout have beautiful fittings, piles of snow-white towels, Charlotte Rhys toiletries, hairdryers and chunky bathrobes. The rooms have WiFi, flat screen TVs, CD and DVD players (there's a collection of music and films to choose from) and phones pre-programmed with restaurant numbers.
If you're staying in a cottage or a Twyfeling Suite, you'll need to wind your way through Akademie's beautiful gardens to get to breakfast which is served in the conservatory. Katherine is nearly always around, as well as a smiling assistant, and this is your chance to quiz her about your day's activities. Breakfast is a cold buffet followed by any variant you like of cooked breakfast, including the option of traditional boerewors sausages. The fresh fruit salad was so exquisitely presented that we felt almost loathe to disturb something so picture-perfect. Freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade muesli with local honey, and the best freshly-ground coffee really got our Franschhoek day off to a flyer.
When it comes to eating out you could wish for no better situation; the town has been known as the gastronomic capital of South Africa for a number of years. This was, in no small measure, thanks to Arthur’s own pioneering spirit: he opened the internationally acclaimed Quartier Français which became a point of reference for other aspiring restauranteers. Arthur's current top 10 includes Reuben's (top contemporary cuisine which we liked so much that we returned 2 nights in a row), Grande Provence (a particularly beautiful setting with one of the country's top young chefs) and Bread and Wine (a great place to have lunch, attached to the Moreson wine farm).
And if you prefer something simpler, or the idea of a deli takeaway, heed Arthur's recommendations which you'll find in a booklet in your cottage: nobody knows the local food scene quite as well as he does. Each of the cottages has a kitchenette with a microwave (2 also have an oven), a toaster, tea- and coffee-making equipment and a fridge stocked with complimentary drinks.
This is really a grown-up foodie place. Teenage kids in search of some action might find the town to be a tad too quiet.
Children are accepted in Oortuiging Cottage, which has a master double room and an extra single bedroom, and is the only option for older children sharing with their parents. Cots are free and are available on request, but they can only be accommodated in Gelatenheid and Oortuiging. Both of these cottages have kitchens (with microwaves and ovens) and would be fine for immobile babies, but not for toddlers due to the unfenced pools.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking