It is fantastic to get out of the city and spend some time in the Winelands, especially this time of year. Inviting fireplaces, cosy bars, comfort food and good wine is definitely the order of the day. A short drive from Cape Town, in the heart of charming Paarl, you’ll find the Grande Roche hotel. Having recently reopened with new owners, a new restaurant and a refreshed look across its luxury suites, it is fast becoming a destination for both local, and international visitors.

New owners Hansie and Theresa Britz, both born and raised in Paarl, acquired the property in early 2019 and immediately set about rejuvenating this icon of the Winelands. The hotel was closed for a month, while painters, decorators, designers and landscapers set to work refurbishing the suites, buildings and public areas.

The refreshed look has seen each of the 18 luxurious Terrace Suites completely refurbished. Striking fynbos-inspired wallpapers celebrate the local flora and provide a flash of colour on arrival, while the sash windows, wooden beams and exposed thatch neatly encapsulate the farm’s Wineland’s heritage.

The hotel’s reimagined restaurant, Viande’ is the brainchild of Pete Goffe-Wood, well known and loved, South Africa’s very own ‘Kitchen Cowboy’. Taking over the space formerly known as Bosman’s, Goffe-Wood and interior designer Francois du Plessis have completely reimagined the interiors, adding a sleek modern feel to the new restaurant while acknowledging the heritage of the building.

Viande means ‘meat’ in French, and it’s a perfect title for this meat-focused restaurant offering contemporary nose-to-tail dining. Goffe-Wood and his capable kitchen crew are already hard at work curing, smoking new delicacies, with selected cuts dry-aged on-site in imported German meat-fridges. Brandy will be the star of the brand-new Viande Bar, a stylish new addition to the restaurant space. Here cosy couches and a brass bar counter cry out for pre-dinner cocktails and after-dinner digestifs.

Alongside those perfectly aged prime cuts diners can look forward to more inventive protein-packed plates: perhaps pan-fried calf’s liver with roasted beetroot and a horseradish beignet, or a flavour-packed hangar steak plated with charred shallots and mustard sauce. The lamb rib-eye with baked aubergine is also sure to tempt a few palates.

Goffe-Wood is nothing if not versatile though and has crafted a wide-ranging menu that allows for an easy balance of adventurous meaty dishes alongside more approachable vegetarian, fish and poultry plates. Think butternut and goat’s cheese rotolo or home-smoked yellowtail with a fennel and citrus salad.

And while the revamped property looks forward to welcoming locals and travellers again, the upgrades are only just beginning. Further renovations are underway for the Studio Suites, and future projects include upgrades to the top-tier Stable Suite and the development of a luxury spa facility. It’s been three hundred years in the making, but it seems Grande Roche Hotel is just getting started!

Grande Roche Hotel is offering a two-night stay special from 1 September to 31 October 2019. Book for two nights, bed and breakfast included plus a dinner at Viande for one of the evenings up to the value of R400 per person. Stay in a Duplex Heritage Suite for R8,450 per room or in a Terrace Suite for R9,950 per room. A complimentary wine tasting at Under Oaks as well as a complimentary platter on arrival together with a bottle of Under Oaks Sauvignon Blanc.

For more information about Grande Roche Hotel and Viande Restaurant:
Address: 1 Plantasie Street, Paarl.