The news is out, and as expected is creating quite a buzz. A formal announcement on the Virgin Limited Edition website made it official, with the following statement by Sir Richard:
"I'm thrilled to be able to announce that we are in the process of purchasing Mont Rochelle and what I'm sure will be a 'must visit' winelands experience in South Africa and a fantastic addition to the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio."
With only a few months until the re-opening in August (the hotel will be closed,) there isn't much time for renovations, so the hotel must be in pretty good shape, or, everyone's going to be putting in some overtime. Or both. But the timing is perfect. When the hotel does open its doors it will be Spring and the start of the high travel season in the Cape Town region. We can imagine (ok, fantasize) how the re-vamped interiors will look, after Virgin and their design team have had their way with it.
Mont Rochelle was the dream of telecommunications entrepreneur and seriously wealthy Miko Rwayitare. There’s some symmetry right there. The design and layout of the hotel is in the style of an exclusive manor house, with features (such as the steep pitched roofs with the soft edges) that might be found in the French countryside. Franschhoek is the French countryside-- and the food and wine capital--of South Africa, with a history of French settlers dating to the late-17th century. Nestled on a 40-hectare site (just under 100 acres) guests can take in long views to the Stein-Dassenberg mountain range and close-up views of the vineyard. With only 22 bedrooms (16 bedrooms and 6 suites,) nothing spells luxury better than open space, privacy, and unspoiled views—and Virgin Limited Edition.
Add to this amazing setting several dining options, a spa, outdoor activities and recreation, and a winery— not necessarily in that order. The Mont Rochelle Mountain Winery (located a short distance away) offers wine tasting and country kitchen style dining.
The hotel’s existing web site doesn’t offer too much information about the high-tech amenities that would have to be a given for a Limited Edition destination. Or any other Virgin hotel, for that matter. We will follow up on the details and other good news as it becomes available.
The icing on the cake—or perhaps the cake itself—is that whoever is fortunate enough to spend some time at the next generation Mont Rochelle will be treated to the award-winning hospitality and personalized service that are synonymous with the name Virgin.
[Photos: Mont Rochelle Hotel]