Saturday, 9 March 2013

La Petite Dauphine, Franschhoek

Elegant Luxury
La Petite Dauphine
Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa

Lying in an enormous, high, carved two-poster bed, with the feel of silky white linen against my skin, I found it hard to choose where to look. My contented gaze moved between admiring the elegant room, watching the characterful ducks doing quintessentially duck-like things in the pond outside the double doors of my cottage, and looking up at the Franschhoek mountains back lit by the intense blue sky. The understated luxury accommodation of La Petite Dauphine draws me back time and again because of the wonderful combination of sensory experiences. This place epitomises all that Franschhoek has to offer.

The things I love about La Petite Dauphine guest farm in Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa:
  • Grand yet silky soft and nurturing bed
  • Stylish decor using natural materials with finessed fittings
  • Deep bath with shuttered widow views of the mountains
  • Sophisticated smells of matching bathroom products
  • Large light glass shower
  • Varied views of water, lush green grounds, water birds, mountains and the bluest of blue skies
  • Friendly and discreet service 

Accommodation story:
Much of Franschhoek is what I would call "pretend fancy" where every now and then one's own pretence at being a fancy lady is rudely interrupted. This can happen easily if you step even slightly behind the pristine facade of each establishment - for example when the kitchen door is opened and you hear people shouting in harsh language at each other behind the scenes, or mistakenly rounding a corner behind a building which reveals its harsh underbelly of dirt and chaos. But not at La Petite Dauphine. Here I can bask in my fantasy of belonging in such elegance, even when I slip up and reveal my true background. For example, half way through my stay, while I was at breakfast, the host asked me if there was anything else I needed. I baldly (though in as muted tones as I could muster) asked for more toilet paper for my room, unable to think of any appropriate metaphors under such pressure. I may have imagined the barest flicker of shock cross my host's face before he quickly smiled and offered his reassurance that my needs would be met (without of course using the crass term toilet paper at all). By the time I had strolled back through the vines to my room, there on the table at the door to my cottage was a roll of the good stuff in a beautiful gift bag the perfect size for the roll (how was that possible to find a bag that size in that space of time, I marvelled). I kept the bag - as a momento of the good service of course.

Things to do in the area: Indulge the senses:
  • Taste the essence of South African modern cuisine at the Tasting Room (Le Quartier)
  • Shopping in the quaint high street, especially at Masquerade, for stylish country decor purchases
  • Drink full flavoured coffee at one of the many street-side coffee shops
  • Drive, walk or cycle to enjoy the breath-taking views of the Franschhoek mountains
  • Savour the local wines and deli products of the valley

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