I told you all about the Franschhoek Wine Tram and how much I loved that day. But I left out ANOTHER amazing thing about that day. Yep… that day was non-stop amazing. And it was only a month ago! *sigh*
So! As soon as we arrived in South Africa, we headed directly to The French Quarter in Franschhoek. We arrived probably around 9 in the morning, because we didn’t want to miss the wine tram. I think I’ve made that much quite obvious by now. It’s funny because I’m not even THAT much into wine. No offense to wine, but I’m allergic to the red variety, but beer has never made me ill. So I’m much more of a beer girl.
The French Quarter is a 5-star hotel in Franschhoek. And no, we did NOT book a room there. We’re not made of money, people, jeepers! But we DID book a room at Delicious, which is a smaller, more affordable, slightly out-of-the-way boutique sister hotel of The French Quarter. Our reason for booking Delicious was to obtain a reservation at The Tasting Room, a World Top 100 restaurant which is on-site at The French Quarter. It seemed if we hoped to get the chance to dine at The Tasting Room, we’d have to stay at The French Quarter, or Delicious. So… we booked Delicious. We were so excited to subsequently make our reservations for The Tasting Room!
This… is The French Quarter. The view from our suite’s window. LOVE.
So… imagine our surprise, when we arrived at The French Quarter, and explained that we weren’t going to stay there, but at Delicious, but we were only there to leave our bags and get out of their hair… and they told us we’d been upgraded. We now belonged at The French Quarter, at no extra cost to us. What. WHAT?
What a dream!
So THIS is what it’s like to travel during the slow season! WOW it’s my favourite!
Then they uttered words even MORE beautiful: “You must come have breakfast”.
That sealed the deal… I was in love with this place.
The look of a woman truly in love… with this breakfast. And the man across the table.
And then we learned how things work at a 5-star establishment. No one asks who you are or what you’re doing next or where you’re going or anything. Everyone knows who you are. When we were done, someone appeared and let us know our room was ready, she could take us there.
How did they know? Like, who we were, but also even that we were done?
Turns out we didn’t just get a room… we got a HOUSE. Well, it’s probably called a chalet.
Complete with fireplace and chopped wood, in case it became too cold. We could simply think about how we’d like a fire, and someone would appear to start one for us.
A claw-footed tub! Definitely made use of this.
Lemon tree outside the window.
We looked around our room in awe — we would be SO COMFORTABLE there! But we tore ourselves away. We had a wine tram to get to!
Well, you know what happened with that. So here’s what happened upon our return. We dropped into the luxuriously soft bed and fell asleep immediately. Next thing we knew, there was a knock at the door. Someone was trying to get in!
“Hello?” I called, trying to sound normal and not so super-groggy.
“Do you need help?” came the polite inquiry.
“Oh no, we’re good, thank-you!” I replied, still straining to sound alert and A-okay.
Now awake, we scrambled to check the time.
OUR RESERVATION WAS TEN MINUTES AGO!!!!!
We darted out of bed and began fumbling around, throwing on our “dressy” travel clothes.
Then the phone rang. “It’s The Tasting Room… were you still able to make your reservation?”
“Yes! Yes!” I yelped. “We’ll be down shortly,” I added, doing my best to sound collected and awake.
One minute later, we were racing around the moonlit rose bushes that line the courtyard of The French Quarter, dressed up and holding hands and laughing. It felt like a dream. I wished I were more coherent.
Seconds later, we stumbled into The Tasting Room, collected ourselves, and took our seats. We were probably 20 minutes late.
“Sorry! So sorry! We were on the wine tram…”
“It’s entirely all right… this has happened before. Quite often.”
If you go to Franschhoek with the intention of just staying one night but also doing the wine tram and having dinner at The Tasting Room that night… don’t try to do it in just one day. Book at least TWO nights. That’s my advice. It’s difficult to cram this much wonderfulness into one short day. It really is.
A welcome cocktail. And some… something. Something wonderful and snow-like…? Oh for Pete’s sake, I was so out of it!
Like an African safari… you had to really look for the treats. So beautiful.
The interesting thing about The Tasting Room is that we were given different dishes for each course. As in, I’d get one thing, and Andrew would get another. Often I was jealous of his. It’s human nature, I think.
A dishevelled, sleepy, half-drunk, but very very happy me. “I wish I were more with it, but I am loving this.”
Trying to keep his eyes open, he looks so handsome! Also check out the garden outside the window behind Andrew. Very beautiful.
WHAT? Frankly, it’s a miracle that ANY of these pics were in focus.
And then just like that, the meal was over… and we were the last to leave. We stood in the garden outside the window of The Tasting Room. “Take a picture of the moon!” I said to Andrew. This is the photo he took. I think I’m also in the photo. I can’t find me, though. I also thought that amazing mountain with the fog rolling off it would be in this photo. The fog was all lit up by the moon. It was entrancing. One of the most dreamlike scenes I’ve ever seen. But the photo doesn’t really show that. Just an empty dining room.
Sheesh, we really didn’t know what we were doing by the end of the evening.
But WHAT a perfect day.