Franschhoek accommodations...advice needed..

Feb 14th, 2007, 09:06 AM
  #1  
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Franschhoek accommodations...advice needed..

Three of us are working with a travel agent in SA to plan a 3 week trip to Southern Africa this fall. We are planning 3 nights in the Winelands, in Franschhoek.

The agent initially suggested The Franschhoek but found no availability for our dates. She is now proposing Klein Genot. I am wondering if we would not be better off in a more central in-town location. TA will check Akademie Street Guesthouses, which I suggested after reading great reports on Trip Advisor, but if this small place has no free rooms, I am wondering about other upscale options, or if we should stick with Klein Genot which apparently has a shuttle into town. Should I be concerned about being "in town" and close to shops and restaurants? How far is it from Klein Genot into town and is there easy accessibility by taxi?

This will be our first trip to Southern Africa and we are planning this at what seems to be the "last minute" so any and all help and advice is especially welcomed. Thanks.


ekscrunchy is online now  
Feb 14th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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ekscrunchy,
Six of us are planning a trip next year similar to yours and are looking for a travel agent. Would you mind sharing who you are using and why you picked them?
Why did you pick Franschhoek over Stellenbosch -- which is where we plan to stay. Are you renting a car to do the winelands or allowing the agent to arrange all your transportation?

I assume you are going to Cape Town. Where did they book you?
lexia is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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Lexia,

We decided to do this trip at what seems to be last minute for this region..just a couple of weeks ago. I did a lot of browsing here but ultimately chose the TA because a couple I know were so enthusiastic about the arrangements that the company made for their trip last year and with the end result. They told me that is was the greatest trip they had ever taken and they are fairly experienced travelers.

I wanted to use a local SA agent and in fact, did not even receive a reply from the one US agent I contacted in Florida. We have not booked yet but are very close to final arrangements; they have been very responsive to all of my questions, both e-mailing me and phoning me to discuss details. The agency is Southern Destinations in CapeTown:

www.southerndestinations.com

I would love to learn if anyone else here has used them. I should add that we are going the very high-end route here...I consider myself to be well traveled but have never, ever contemplated such a luxurious (and expensive) trip! This will be the "trip of a lifetime" (I hope in a positive sense) for myself and for my two older friends.

In CapeTown the agent has blocked rooms for us at
Kensington Place. We are planning to have a car and driver in Capetown and also in the Winelands, but might dispense with this for much of the time.
We actually have 6 nights in Capetown, so might do a few daytrips from there, before heading to the Winelands.

I chose Franschhoek because the small amount of reading that I did suggested that it was a more charming town than Stellenbosch; the agent seemed to concur.

I think I will post the entire itinerary here and ask for suggestions. I feel like such a beginner, taking the easy way out with a travel agent, compared to all of the real Africa hands expe here, that I was reluctant to do this at first.
ekscrunchy is online now  
Feb 14th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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Akademie Street has an online availability checker. We're staying there in early September. When is your trip?
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Feb 14th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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Patty thanks..I will check it out on line. We will arrive on the 28th and stay for 3 nights; we need one single room and one double. The reports I have read are absolutely glowing!
ekscrunchy is online now  
Feb 14th, 2007, 12:22 PM
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We passed by Klein Genot on our trip and it looked very nice. Its not terribly far from Franschhoek, maybe a few minutes drive. I don't know that I would be concerned about being in town - its really not that big (mainly one street of shops) and we found that we walked around town one afternoon and that was about it (except for dinners we had in town). As for Taxis, I am not sure. Will you have a car rental I assume?

Akademie Street Guesthouses is very nice. Plumwood Inn, which we looked at also appeared very nice.

I don't think you will go wrong whatever you will decide.
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Feb 14th, 2007, 03:18 PM
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ekscrunchy,
Thanks for all the info. You are going very upscale, a bit more than we want. I have contacted Southern Destinations, based on your recommendation, to see what they can offer us.
lexia is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 03:57 PM
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Lexia, you're welcome. I hope they are helpful; let me know what you think of the agency. We are going much more upscale than I had originally imagined..the prices are a little scary! But they will work with you at any price range, I would guess. Good luck!
ekscrunchy is online now  
Feb 15th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Just to update, we switched to Akademie Street Guesthouse. Patty, I look forward to reading your impressions when you return! Thanks to all.
ekscrunchy is online now  
Feb 15th, 2007, 10:43 PM
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There are a lot of really good properties available at www.portfoliocollection.com
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Feb 16th, 2007, 03:22 AM
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We had a great stay in the Plumwood Inn back in 2004. Since then I know our resident regional expert, Selwyn, has checked them out and concurs with my recommendation - indeed I think he's suggested them to several of his own clients so might have more recent feedback to provide.

I'd definitely stay with them again.
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Feb 16th, 2007, 05:04 AM
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Try to make some space for cultural and community tours too! All luxury is the postcard fantasy of Cape Town, which is a treat, but there's depth and authenticity that will stick with you long after the beautiful photos have been supplanted by the next trip you take.

Get beneath the skin and meet the locals -- taste the food, play the music, learn the traditions, see the art, even learn to cook the food and play the music yourself!

Enjoy Cape Town!

Kurt

http://afrikatourism.blogspot.com/
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Feb 19th, 2007, 01:22 AM
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We're just back from South Africa nd stayed in Franschhoek last Wednesday. We had one night at 'Les Chambres' guesthouse and it was absolutely wonderful...I make no qualms about saying that it's probably the highest quailty b&b we've ever stayed in. It has the added bonus of having a large and terrific garden with pool, which is great later in the afternoon when you want to fill in that couple of hours between travelling/sightseeing and dinner.

It's also right in the middle of town so you can walk anywhere.

We loved Stellenbosch, and adored Franschhoek. For some it's the other way around and that's great. Franschhoek is set in some of the most wonderful scenery and seems to be blessed with a light that set it apart from other destinations. True, it isn't big, but we wished we'd been there for a bit longer to do a bit more...horse riding through the vinyards for instance.
The town is bursting with high class accomodation, s I'm sure whatever choice you make it'll be great.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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Mac thank you for posting the update about your visit. We were able to book Akademie Suites; they had one "suite" for 3 people remaining so that is perfect for us.
Do you have any restaurant or sightseeing recommendations?
ekscrunchy is online now  
Feb 19th, 2007, 11:10 AM
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eks - Unfortunately, and I do say that with real regret, we only stayed one night in Franschhoek.

As it was Valentines night, and as we Scots are such romantic souls, I had booked a table at the Restaurant at Grande Provence...a wine estate a few minutes outside Franschhoek.

It was lovely, and great value for money..6 courses for 290 Rand. I recommend it highly, although the only problem is you'll need a car to get there as surprisingly Franschhoek doesn't have a taxi company.

However, this is only our personal experience. ALL the restaurants we walked past on Main Street looked enticing, and you'll have no problem at all finding one to suit your personal tastes.

As to sightseeing...well unfortunately we didn't have that much time. If I were to return (and we will...oh we will), I would as I said have done a bit of horse-riding and wine tasting in the valley. Maybe a bit of walking with a picnic packed. A visit to the prison where Mandela was freed (close by)...oh, so many things. Somebody far more qualified than me could help you better.

2 things you'll do though when you're there, I guarantee....first thing is you'll admire the amazing light and colour of the summer sky.
Second thing is you'll look in estate agents (realtors) windows in Main Street at the amazing properties on sale for comparatively cheap prices, and spend time over coffee discussing how wonderful it would be to own a piece of this paradise.

It's a beautiful area in a beautiful country with wonderful, friendly people.
You'll love it, and I'm so jealous of you !

MacSporran is offline  
Feb 19th, 2007, 11:23 AM
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Eks - Sorry to bother you again !
I just noticed that you're staying at Kensington Place in cape Town....great choice !
We tried to get in there but they were unfortunately fully booked. They did however recommend a brand new guesthouse to us in the street just round the corner, which was also fabulous. We had a look at KP when we were there and it does look excellent.
The area is top class...very salubrious and quiet. It's an easy 10 minute drive to the CBD and waterfront, and during the day it's an interesting walk down Kloof St, taking in a couple of cool cafe's for a lingering coffee, to either Long St or the Companys Gardens.

Aaaagh...this is making me more jealous ! ;-)
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Feb 21st, 2007, 09:11 AM
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ekscruncy,
Quick update to let you know that I contacted Southern Destinations and they have been extremely responsive. I like working with Lise. Will keep you posted.
lexia is offline  
Feb 21st, 2007, 10:41 AM
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Lexia.. That is great. I am also working with her; she has written and called to address every issue and question within a day. We are just at the point of sending the deposit; have already booked the airline tickets. Let me know how it progresses and what the final plans are... You could tell her ekscrunchy in New York recommended you..

And good luck and happy travels!!
ekscrunchy is online now  
Sep 4th, 2007, 11:02 PM
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ekscrunchy,
I'm currently staying at Akademie Street (got here 2 nights ago) and the place is great! Even better in reality than the website pictures. Katherine and Arthur are wonderful hosts and the location is very convenient for walking around the village and walking to restaurants. They really know how to take care of you here and have thought of every little detail. The breakfasts are amazing. Anything specific you want me to find out while I'm here? We're staying in Gelanteheid(sp?). I'll be here for another 2 nights. Heading off to see the penguins today
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Sep 5th, 2007, 01:57 AM
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hi, eks -

I'm not sure how much help I can be as you seem to have solved most of your problems already.

we only spent a sunday lunch-time in Franschoek, but my main tip would be that you should aim to book tables for every meal - even in July, the place was pakced with happy diners. The main street is really just one long restaurant, but it is vey popular.

another option is eating in the restaurants run by some of the wineries - there is a recent thread about this to which Selwyn made a very helpful contribution so if you search for his name, you should find it.

one thing we didn't do is go up to Paarl which has some wonderful scenery and walks.

I wish we had had 6 nights in CPT - if you click on my name you could access my [yet incomplete] trip report to see what we managed to squeeze into our 3 days there.

I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time,

regards, ann
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