Akademie Street Guesthouses

Franschhoek, Cape Winelands & West Coast, South Africa Book from Book from £359 per night

Intimate, stylish and supremely comfortable guesthouse an easy stroll away from the restaurants and shops of historic Franschhoek
No visit to the winelands would be complete without an excursion to the sleepy little town of Franschhoek, which is home to some excellent examples of Cape Dutch architecture. Surrounded by some of South Africa’s oldest and most renowned wine estates, the town also contains 8 out of the country’s top 100 restaurants so it really can justify pitching itself as the gourmet capital of South Africa.

On a leafy road just a short stroll from the historical village centre, Akademie Street is right at the top of our 'must stay' list. Each of the suites feels deliciously private thanks to high hedges which wrap around their gardens and pools. And the plethora of treasured antiques, paintings and prints adds to the home-from-home feel. This is a quiet, uplifting and wholly exceptional place to stay, imbued with the generous and gentle natures of its owners, Katherine and Arthur.

Highs

  • Private, luxurious suites set in a collection of charming houses
  • An enchanting garden with an ancient oak, fruit trees, fragrant flowers and reflecting pools
  • Abundant antiques and paintings - many of them by Katherine's father - make Akademie's rooms feel much more home than hotel
  • You're within easy walking distance of several first-class restaurants, there's a detailed guide to the town's best eateries
  • A great place to hunker down for a few days or to base yourself when exploring the winelands
  • True hospitality is evident in the small touches, which will make your stay special

Lows

  • You occasionally hear the sound of passing traffic yet this doesn't detract from the serene feel of the suites
  • No meals other than breakfast are served but you couldn't be better placed for your gastronomic forays
  • At busy times of year you'll need to book well in advance: award-winning Akademie is (deservedly) extremely popular

Best time to go

As is the case with the Garden Route, the winelands get most visitors during the South African spring and summer months - from October through to February. For the rest of the year the town is much quieter and the relatively mild winters mean that you should have a really great stay any time between April and September.

Our top tips

If you can afford it, book a week and use Akademie as your springboard for the Winelands, Cape Town and the western end of the Garden Route.

Great for...

Foodie
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 9
  • Breakfast only
  • No children under 16 are accepted
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Akademie has 9 suites spread across a variety of buildings. The Cape Dutch-style main building houses the 3 Twyfeling Suites. They all feature vintage free-standing bathtubs, wood burning stoves and antique furniture, and have private access to the main gardens, including the heated pool and jacuzzi. Twyfeling B and C also share a private courtyard.

Uitsig, which translates as 'view', is set on the upper floor of a more modern building, where, as its name suggests, the views are fabulous. It can be either a kingsize double or a twin, and has leather armchairs, a swish modern bathroom and French doors that open onto a bright balcony that gazes out towards the mountains.

We particularly liked the 2 suites in Gelatenheid, which is flanked by a long sweep of veranda on each level. The plush 1-bedroom suite on the first floor is complete with separate dressing room and luxurious free standing bath. Indulgence continues with the private sun drenched balcony and outdoor fireplace. Or lose yourself in the charm of the downstairs suite, that is intuitively equipped for relaxation and ease. The 2 suites share a garden and private pool.

The 2 Oortuiging Suites are housed in a restored cottage dating back to the 1860s, which has the largest garden with a sunny lawned area and a plunge pool. The bedrooms are ensuite and have cream and tan interiors, decadent wooden canopy beds, and free-standing handmade copper baths. There's also a private wood burning hot tub.

The signature cottage, Vreugde, sleeps 2 in a cosy bedroom with a kitchenette at one end and a wide veranda leading out to its small paved garden, plunge pool and wood burning hot tub.

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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • CD player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • DVD player
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is served in the conservatory, and includes 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 suite: nobody knows the local food scene quite as well as he does.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit the vineyards and wine farms which surround the town, making sure not to miss Stony Brook, Graham Beck and Boekenhoutskloof (amongst Arthur's top tips)

  • Head out for dinner safe in the knowledge that you'll eat fabulous food for half of what it would cost back home

  • Saddle up a horse at Paradise Stables and ride through the local vineyards

  • Tee up at one of the 7 golf courses that are within an hour’s drive of Franschhoek

  • Drive in to Cape Town, which can be reached in an hour

  • Head over the hill to Stellenbosch for more wine-based explorations

  • The gardens are full of birds on the feeders; the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve on top of the Franschhoek pass is very popular for hikers and rich botanically, with one third of the world’s species of plants

  • Go trout fishing in the dams and rivers in the Franschhoek Valley

  • Play tennis just up the road on the municipal courts

  • There are many cycle routes nearby and hybrid, mountain and kids' bikes (as well as baby carriers) can be hired locally

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Tennis
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children under 16 are not accepted.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Akademie Street is located in Franschhoek, in the Cape Winelands. About an hour from Cape Town, Franschhoek is known as the culinary capital of South Africa.

By Air
Fly into Cape Town International Airport (80km).

From the Airport
Akademie Street Guesthouses can arrange a transfer; the journey takes approximately 1 hour.

By Car
Most guests will self-drive to get here; for car hire see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Cape Town International 80.0 km CPT

Other:

  • Beach 50.0 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Quite simply one of the loveliest hotels we've ever stayed in! Our room was gorgeous, as were the pool and other common areas of the hotel, but the true stars are the wonderful staff. A home away from home.

10/10,

We have just returned from our first visit to Franschoek. We stayed in one of the cottages (perfect for 3 adults) and had our own plunge pool. Declan and the ladies could not have been more friendly and helpful. Breakfast was superb with every fruit you can think of and some you can't! Cooked breakfasts also excellent. Fantastic location, short stroll into the main street with many excellent restaurants and easy drive to many of the wine farms. Laundry service was complimentary, a real bonus! Would definitely recommend to anyone who wants comfort, peace and a great location.

10/10,

A private retreat from the very busy town yet within short walking distance. Generous and friendly hospitality and surely the best place to stay in Franschoek. Beautifully decorated with the feel of being in a private villa almost.

10/10,

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