Have you ever stayed somewhere that leaves you speechless but also gives you so much to talk about? This is exactly how I felt when we arrived at Akademie street boutique hotel. The unassuming 19th Century Cape Dutch house, nestled between greenery in a quiet street in Franschhoek will let you in on all its secrets once you cross the threshold. So eager was I to see what it was all about and why it had racked up so many awards ( including the Trip Advisor best small hotel in the world ) that we ended up arriving a bit early. This however gave us the chance to hear all about the rich history and quirky stories that makes Akademie street a very special place indeed.
Akademie street boutique hotel
Imagine sitting under the light that witnessed the first heart transplant by Christian Barnard in 1967, that would be pretty unique right? Well that was exactly what I was doing in the Orangery sipping on my delicious coffee while waiting for our luggage to be taken to our room. It wasn’t just stories like that that made me fall in love with this room as soon as I walked in, a big fireplace, dramatic chandelier mixed in with some old board games, dripping candles and a piano just waiting to be played added to the effect of being somewhere you always wanted to be but never knew existed.
For some reason this trend seemed to follow me throughout the hotel. A small vivid blue and green room with beautiful wallpaper transports you to a time long gone. It spills out onto a pretty patio where a G&T and a warm Summer breeze seems to fit right in. Walk a bit further and you will find yourself next to a luxurious pool and jacuzzi with views of mountains in the distance. The perfect place to spend the day lounging around and maybe indulging in some MCC. Around every corner something different seems to captivate my attention like the pretty bicycles for the guests to use or an area to play Boules.
The rooms at Akademie street
There are suites and cottages to choose from at Akademie house and they are so different and special and their own ways. Walking up a few stairs we got to our room which is the upstairs part of a double story cottage. It has a shared pool and wood burning jacuzzi which makes it a great option for friends to share. The downstairs one has a fully equipped kitchen that the upstairs one doesn’t have but we weren’t in the mood for cooking anyway as Franschhoek has some amazing restaurant options. We did however have a balcony with a fireplace, some comfy chairs and even our own upstairs jacuzzi!
So much thought and detail has gone into this space you are staying. The tv pops up from it’t hidden cabinet with a touch of a button and next to the bed they have a wireless bluetooth speaker, shaped like a gramophone because why not? We also noticed a smart phone next to the bed which has numbers for a bunch of activities in the area as well as restaurants pre loaded so that guests, especially international ones can make calls while staying. The bed was decadent, the MCC free and the vibe unbeatable.
It’s the little things, the extra thought, the small luxurious touches that take a place from good to outstanding and that is really what Akademie street is.
The food and extras at Akademie street
Akademie street does not offer lunch or dinner but they do but on quite a show for breakfast. Plenty of coffee – and the coffee is good – is always a must for me. Then the parade begins, smoothies, fresh juice, homemade granola, yogurt and a fruit platter. And this is just to start! Then you can choose your own hot breakfast option or a Bloody Mary if you like because when on vacation why not indulge. the only thing I was upset about at breakfast that I couldn’t eat more!
There are a few other things that I just wanted to highlight that I really loved about Akademie street. In the evenings they open a bar in whichever part of the hotel is suited for the season which was the Orangery while we were there. Then they put out drinks and snacks for the guests to enjoy at their leisure and even have someone playing the piano from time to time. We opted for a night cape when when we got back from dinner in town, which we actually walked to. Sitting in the cosy space, with a drink and some good music really just sealed the deal for me. Akademie street knows what their guest want and they give it to them in the best possible way.
The bicycles were another fun touch, vintage looking and perfect for a photo but also for exploring Franschhoek. I can definitely imagine cycling around town on a warm spring day, stopping for a coffee before heading back for a dip in the pool.
The lucky ones that do experience this intimate hotel will most definitely fall in love with just like I did.