Holden Manz Wine Estate

near Franschhoek, Cape Winelands & West Coast, South Africa Book from

A luxury guesthouse and restaurant on an award-winning vineyard beneath the stunning Franschhoek mountain range
Set beneath dramatic elephant-shaped mountains and cradled by the Franschhoek and Stoney Brook rivers, few locations in the Cape Winelands match the beauty of the Holden Manz Wine Estate. This collection of whitewashed Cape Dutch buildings may only have 5 suites, but inside there's acres of space. This is more a stylish homestead than a hotel. As owners Migo and Gerard live on site, their influence and attention to detail is found throughout. Migo owns a gallery in town so contemporary sculptures and paintings are aplenty.

Outside there's a picturesque lake, a sweep of neat lawn, and an orchard where fruits from pomegranates to peaches grow. Inside, an inner courtyard with neat beds of white pebbles and the sound of murmuring water induces a Zen-like mood of calm and wellbeing. Feng shui determined the positioning of the buildings to gain the best flow of chi, so you get the feeling nothing here is left to chance.

Beyond the vineyard lies the Franschhoek Kitchen. Many come just to enjoy the wine tastings, but it's now considered one of the region's best restaurants. They say a stay at Holden Manz is about leaving the mundane behind, relaxing into a world of cossetted comfort and recharging your inner batteries. We agree.

Highs

  • The 5 guestrooms (all suites) couldn't be more comfortable, with big beds, oversized baths and power showers
  • A setting of rare beauty at the foot of the Franschhoek mountain range, which makes a good base for sorties out into the winelands
  • An utterly peaceful corner of the valley, with lovely walks through vineyards and along river banks, yet close to the town of Franschhoek - South Africa's culinary capital
  • Kicking back with your books and music by the pool, then indulging in a massage in the small spa
  • A top restaurant which can also prepare wonderful picnics for you by the river

Lows

  • The suites come with a relatively high price tag but this does include breakfast and afternoon tea as well as beers and soft drinks
  • The owners' dogs can occasionally get lively, but they're generally out of sight and kennelled
  • The restaurant's halfway across the vineyard, though this makes a pleasant short walk or an even quicker drive

Best time to go

The winelands are good to visit throughout the year. They get busy from December through to April, when the majority of visitors from Europe pitch up. Holden Manz drops its prices during the South African winter (May-September) when, in spite of colder temperatures and the possibility of rain, the valley still looks beautiful and you don’t have to fight to get a table at a restaurant.

Our top tips

Book restaurants well in advance, and visit Migo's gallery in town.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 5
  • Restaurant (open daily except Mondays)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Orchard Suite

Rooms

Most of the suites are set on the ground floor of the main house, beside the Zen water garden, but there's a fourth suite with its own kitchenette (the Franschhoek River Suite) on an upper floor within a separate annex. All have super-kingsize beds, or 2 three-quarter beds which can be made up into one.

Expect exposed thatched roofs, polished terracotta floors, subtle greys, restrained lighting and comfy sofas. All suites are delightful and strike a calming mood, with plenty of African art (we especially liked the Karin Miller pictures), but our pick of the bunch was set up some stairs near the entrance: the Oliphant Mountain Suite. It has a breathtaking view across the vineyards to the dramatic mountainscape. It also has 2 bedrooms, so it can sleep up to 4 adults.

The suites have big bathrooms with walk-in rain showers (the water pressure is excellent) and extra-large tubs (the exception is the Franschhoek River Suite, which has a shower only). Twin sinks, swish modern taps, tea-light candles and toiletry goodies from Africology complete the picture. Each suite also has a log fire to keep you cosy in winter, and an intimate terrace (except the Oliphant Mountain Suite) which looks onto the lawns and surrounding vineyards (ideal for summer sundowners).

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is served in Holden Manz's dining area or beside the lawn. Light comes pouring in from tall picture windows overlooking the lawn and lake. Much of your breakfast’s content will be homemade or home-grown: juices, fruits and jams from the orchard, freshly baked breads, muesli, blue-gum honey harvested from local estate hives. The housekeeper, Lameck, showed us how to make a superb hollandaise to go with our poached eggs, which was a real highlight.

For lunch and dinner, the Holden Manz restaurant, Franschhoek Kitchen, is across the vineyard, a 10-minute walk or quick ride away. Open every day except Monday (and serving lunch only on Sundays), it has a frequently changing menu with ingredients sourced from the farm and surrounding valley - fresh fish, seafood, a variety of well-aged meats, pastas, home-grown garden salads, traditional South African dishes. It's a cool and swanky setting. We loved the spicy Portuguese squid with a lychee and rocket salad, and couldn't fault the delicious chocolate mousse roulade. Try a wine tasting as the wines now win awards (their "Big G" won Decanter magazine's gold medal), but whatever you do, don't miss taking one of the picnic baskets down to the river. They're exquisitely packed with tasty goodies prepared in jars and wrapped up in brown paper. In this setting, it was our best picnic ever.

Eating out, you're spoilt for choice. Franschhoek, a 5-minute drive away, offers many great restaurants, such as Reuben’s for a spicy mix of Asian fusion and traditional Cape recipes. For mouth-wateringly fresh and delicious dishes, also try The Kitchen at Maison.

Features include:

  • Coffee tea making
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Franshoek Kitchen
Activity:

Activities

  • Head out to any number of local wineries. Franschhoek is home to some of South Africa’s oldest and most renowned estates. Or enjoy a one-to-one tasting from Holden Manz's 5,000-bottle cellar
  • Be pampered in the spa. There's a steam room and treatment rooms offering an extensive range of massages, reflexology, aromatherapy, lymphatic drainage, body wraps and facials, as well as several combined ‘exclusive’ packages
  • In summer, laze by the pool or in a hammock under the trees, then pick up some delicious food from the local deli (or order a basket from the restaurant) and picnic on the banks of the river (also good for trout fly-fishing)
  • Hike through the vineyards then strike up into the Franschhoek mountains, or hire a bicycle in town
  • Play a round of golf. There are 5 courses within a 20-minute drive
  • Spend the day in Cape Town. If you're driving, allow about an hour each way

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Holden Manz is more suited to adults than children, but there are cots available and extra beds can be set up in the bedrooms.

Family friendly accommodation:

The Oliphant Mountain Suite has 2 bedrooms and a large walk-in wardrobe. The Franschhoek River Suite has a useful butler's pantry.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • The owners have a play area for their child
  • Pool
  • There are some marmosets in a cage beside the orchard, which are fed daily

Families Should Know:

The lake and pool are unfenced, so keep a watchful eye over young children

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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