Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse
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Travel Blogs from Franschhoek
walk about town w local historian lunch at the salmon bar dinner at ryan's kitchen weather chilly and occasional rain
... when our driver arrived early at the hotel and mistakenly picked up a Dutch couple who were waiting for a different tour. After a while they realised their mistake and returned to the hotel. No harm done. We visited a couple of vineyards via the "Franschhoek Wine Tram" which was a little disappointing. No commentary and it was a bus, not the tram shown ...
... your tent between the trees. There are very basic toilet and shower facilities and a nice wooden building that acts as the common space with tables and a small kitchen. The 'office’ is also in here, inside an enormous wine barrel that has had a portion cut out so you can step inside and have it be the office space around you. Fantastic! We pay for two nights at 100 rand a night. This is about 8 quid a night, total for the two of ...
... and then as the gorge narrowed, we walked through a forest type of environment. Many of the trees had vines that grew either from them or around them, some even tying knots around themselves. A couple of the stream crossings were on rocks in the middle of the water bed. Not the easiest, but we made it without incident three times. The fourth, well.......I had led the way, Bill was 90% done with only the tip of one foot getting into ...
... to be of high standard. They have also bought the street behind and converted about 6 houses into 1 bed apartments and one 4 bedroom house. All in all would definitely recommend. Andy the manager is from Scotland and knows his stuff.
Then to Stellenbosch! It is easy enough through town and then up the motorway (N1)
First stop is River Manor guest house which consists of two manor houses with a pool ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse Franschhoek
We never wanted to leave
We have just returned from a 3 week vacation in South Africa, and we definitely left our hearts in Akademie Street!
The guesthouse are all located on a beautiful plot just a few minutes walk from the centre of Franschhoek. They are mostly Cape Dutch in style, with Oortuiging being one of the original houses of the town and the others following at various times right up to Gelatenheid which is a fairly new building (but doesn't feel it). Do take a look at their website, as all the photos on it are very accurate.
We stayed in all 3 guesthouses for a total of 4 nights, simply because this place is so popular and our hearts were set on Akademie Street. We're so glad we did this now, as far from being a pain it allowed us to experience the individualities of each house. If you're struggling to choose a specific guesthouse, let us try and help you:
Gelatenheid - The largest house, and really looks like a house - it's huge! A large open plan bedroom upstairs has a lounge area, roll top bath and en-suite shower room. It also has a roll-top bath on the outside balcony that runs all the way along 2 sides of the house. There is a kitchen and lounge downstairs, together with terraces that run along the same 2 sides of the house as the balconies. Finally, there is a pool which is big enough to swim lengths in. The only down side to this guesthouse is that it doesn't really have any outdoor space apart from its terraces and balconies, but if you like swimming this is the one for you.
Oortuiging - The middle one of the family, but in reality it's almost as big as Gelatenheid. This is also the real deal, as it's a 1860's Cape Dutch original house. There are 2 en-suite double bedrooms, though one of them is really only large enough for 1 person. One of the bathrooms has both bath and shower, the other a shower only (but it's big). There's a large lounge with a sofa, and a kitchen/conservatory with all the essentials if you really want to cook for yourself (in the middle of the gourmet capital of South Africa?!) The best thing about this guesthouse is the sheer amount of outside space you have. There is a large grassy garden area (great for kids) with a plunge pool that is roughly 2.5m square (not great for kids). There is also an outdoor table with chairs, and another smaller table under the shade of a tree. This guesthouse probably has the best mix of features of all three, so if you're not great at decisions choose this one.
Vreugde - The baby of the family, but very sweet (we spent 2 nights here). There is a single bedroom that contains a kitchen area at one end, together with a very nice en-suite bathroom with both bath and shower. The whole length of the house has a covered terrace attached, with a leather sofa and some easy chairs for evening drinks. There is a smaller garden area with an identical plunge pool to Oortuiging, but this is paved instead on grassy. We were actually very content in this house, but it would probably start to feel a little small for anything more that 2-3 nights. However, if you're only staying for a short time and like the 'cosy and intimate' feel to a place, why pay for anything more?
The guesthouse are all kept very clean and, as other reviewers have commented, little touches such as pool towels magically appearing and welcome chocolates and a bottle of local fizz really make a difference. Each house has a fridge, and this is re-stocked evey day with water, beer, fruit juice, miniature spirits and soft drinks. They also replenish a fruit bowl each day. Both drinks and fruit are included in your room rate - how many other places do you know that do this?
Akademie Street provided us with the best breakfast of anywhere we stayed in South Africa (which in general were excellent). Your first course is a beautifully prepared fruit platter with natural yoghurt, followed by home-made muesli. Freshly prepared fruit juice is served with this, and it changes daily. Following this a cooked breakfast is available to order, accompanied by very tasty toast and preserves. Finally (if you're still going - we made it just once!) you can end with a cheese plate, which normally consists of 6 different types of local cheese.
Finally, we'd just like to say how lovely Kathy and Arthur, the owners, are. They welcome you upon arrival, leading you around your guesthouse to explain all the 'technical' aspects like alarm systems, light switches etc. At breakfast, they both help to take your orders and serve your food. This is a great time to get talking to them both, as they appear to know everything about Franschhoek and the surrounding area. Ask them for advice on anything (I mean it) and Arthur probably has a ready-prepared document he can print off for you. They are both perfect hosts, and by the end of our stay we felt like we were saying goodbye to a long-lost Aunt & Uncle.
We couldn't possibly imagine staying anywhere else in Franschhoek, and will be returning to Akademie Street the next time we visit the Western Cape (very soon I hope, as it's snowing as I write this!) Thank you Kathy and Arthur!
A unique spot
We spent two nights in Oortuiging cottage and I can't recommend this spot highly enough.
We had a beautiful private garden with plunge pool where we spent our first evening, it rained for entire second day - which gave us an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful interior of the cottage.
The breakfast was excellent. Katherine and Arthur were both very helpful and provided tailored tips on which wine farms to visit and where to eat - all of their recommendations were spot on.
The location is excellent - a short and very safe stroll to the village centre, but in a very quiet neighbourhood.
Amazing Stay. Gorgeous Facilities
We stayed in the Oortuiging cottage for our stay. We spent four nights there.
Location of the guest houses is great. A 5 minute, safe, quiet walk to the main drag of Franschhoek and all of the restaurants. The guest houses themselves are on a very quiet street with ample parking.
Each morning Arthur and Katherine, the owners, serve a superb breakfast. Yogurt, fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, whatever you want. The breakfast quality is superb.
Each guesthouse is surrounded by lush gardens and each has a small pool. We spend many an afternoon lounging in the gardens of our own guesthouse.
The cottage itself we stayed in was huge. It had two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, two bathrooms and large front porch. The facilities were perfectly clean, stocked with beer, water, soda, chips, and other snacks. The bed was large and comfortable. The towels soft and plush. The sheets soft and clean. Each afternoon they would even leave us some fruit in the kitchen.
The staff is very quiet and do not bother the guests. We saw them only at breakfast time. They were helpful though when necessary. Arthur for instance provided us with driving directions to some of the wineries and provided helpful tips. They also allowed us to use their computers to check our email. The staff also did nice little touches, such as leaving towels near the pool on a hot afternoon and other things you'de expect at a top lodging.
The guesthouses are a superb value. I highly highly recommend staying there when in Franschhoek.
Beautiful accommodation, highly recommended.
You could have the perfect day and not even have to leave your room.
Excellent hosts and a very tasty breakfast!
The best place we have ever stayed??
A word of advice to those who tire of 5 star deluxe hotels........
We normally NEVER relax, it usually takes several days by which time you're halfway through the holiday. We arrived at Gelatenheid, Akademie Street after a long sleepless flight and were far too early - breakfast was still being served!! After a warm welcome from the effecient and welcoming Arthur we were show to our corner of paradise and I kid you not for the first time ever I relaxed in 10 minutes. If you ever need to find a piece of heaven and truly relax then you MUST come here. Kathrine is the most wonderful host who cannot do enough for you - listen to her suggestions of restaurants or trips as she is ALWAYS right. Breakfast is subliminal and the muesli a real treat, the cooked breakfast legendary. The outdoor roll top bath on the balcony is the coolest place in the world to share bottle of local bubbly, the water fountain so very soothing.
We are sitting here now having a late lunch, having just ridden to Stony Brook Vineyard where we have tasted some of the best wine sever in a very long time. The sun is shining; the venue perfect - this really is quite possibly the best place we have ever stayed in the world. We will be back very soon.
PS - Make sure you have Ostrich and Prawns at Ruebens!!
Great place to stay. Relaxing and wonderfully looked after. Recommended!
Best in Franschhoek
My husband and I stayed only one night in Franschhoek--so glad we chose Akademie Street. We cannot wait to return. Exquisite cottages and the friendliest hosts--Arthur and Katherine were warm and welcoming but also gave us our space. Cannot recommend strongly enough--charming, peaceful, perfect.
Akademie Street - Our own private cottage with private pool
After reading the excellent reviews on here, we booked Akademie street for our stay in March. We were absolutely delighted with the accommodation, service, and location of the property. Franchhoek is a beautiful little town with some of the most amazing restaurants in the Cape.
We arived at Akademie - using the pergect directions provided by Arthur and his wife - to find that each couple receive a complete house to themselves. Ours was the smallest house but had a massive bed, great little kitchen with complimentry sparkling wine, beer, spirits and lovely fruit etc. There was a microwave, chocolates etc and on our 1st afternoon we feasted on a picinic from a local deli by our little private pool in our own garden.
The bathroom was fitted out beautifully with upmarket bath products, fluffy towels and robes. The cottage also had a great selection of CD's, DVD's and books and lifestyle magazines - plus a great range of tourist info.
The breakfasts which were served in the families gorgeous garden were out of this world with daily changing homemade smoothies, more jams than you could imagine, delicious cooked hot food and homemade cereals.
The family running the guest house were wonderful - helpful, making clearly informed and excellent suggestions for places to visit, wineries, restaurants routes to take etc.
I could not recomend this guest house highly enough and would strongly suggest you make reservations soon.
Akademie Street Guesthouses
I would echo the views of the above review. We stayed on a damp and dull September day (so didn't venture into the pool!) but the hospitality was extremely warming. Arthur, as the ex-mayor of Franschhoek, knows a thing or two about the area, and has excellent recommendations.
We stayed in the little cottage, which was the size of a small house, and with such comforts as CD and DVD players, fully stocked kitchen, complementary drinks and nibbles, wireless broadband access, loads of outdoor (a pool for each cottage)and indoor space and a breakfast big enough for any appetite had an extremely pleasant stay. Our only regret-not staying longer!
One of the best places ever!
This is one of the most beautiful places we have ever stayed in.It is five star accommodation without doubt.I am posting photographs as I think they make the point far better than I can.
Arthur and Kathryn are excellent but unobtrusive hosts with a wealth of knowledge and advice should you wish to take it.
There may be cheaper places to stay but it is great value for money with luxurious and tasteful accommodation,complimentary mini bar and laundry and excellent breakfasts.
There are three separate cottages.Each self contained with its own pool.