Cruising up the driveway to Mont Rochelle, located on a farm that dates back to the 1600s, proves that Richard Branson certainly knows how to pick a location. This property, part of Virgin Limited Edition, is Richard’s South African hotel and vineyard, and every centimetre of it is ridiculously scenic. Outside, the white exterior is surrounded by spacious grounds with blankets of flowers breaking up the verdant grass, with the surrounding hills covered in rows of vines. Behind the property the rugged Klein Dassenberg Mountains provide a perfect backdrop.
The 26-room hotel, 22 in the main building and another four in the nearby Manor House, is just 45 minutes-drive from Cape Town, is as close to perfection as you could get. My room is in the vineyard wing, and it is magnificent to wake up in the morning and see out to the mountains beyond. I love the rubber duck in the bathroom, the all-inclusive mini bar and the thoughtful motion sensor for those middle-of-the-night toilet visits. The Miko Restaurant is exceptional, its colourful palette matched by the smiles of the gorgeous staff, and the Spa is outstanding.
We also visit the Country Kitchen restaurant and have a look in the 150-year-old wine cellar, adjacent to the Manor House, which is a truly stunning villa that can sleep eight adults and six children – perfect for a special occasion, birthday or anniversary.
There is so much to do around Mont Rochelle, with horse riding on site and myriad tours around the gorgeous wine country of Franschhoek, including the wine tram, the vintage car museum and further afield, Stellenbosch. But with Mont Rochelle wines, lovingly created by winemaker Dustin, just as good as the property, you might not want to venture down the driveway.