Akademie Street remains Franschhoek’s best-kept secret. The history of Akademie Street is closely entwined with that of Franschhoek itself. Akademie Street Hotel has been reincarnated from its original Oortuiging Heritage building, dating back to 1860, to become a design-centric hideaway. It’s a collection of Cape Dutch-inspired buildings, with the interiors scattered with antiques and collectibles from around the world, and showcases the individual style and inspiration of owner Paul Kin.
For anyone looking to experience the culinary delights of the manicured town of Franschhoek from a homely base, Akademie Street is your answer. The hotel’s decor is eclectic and varies from building to building. On my last visit, I was in one of the newer rooms with dark woods and a striking giant copper bath in the middle of the bathroom, while this year’s visit saw me check into the Gelatenheid A suite — one of two suites inside the Cape Dutch style cottage in the property — marked by acid-washed, pale woods and double-volume ceilings. The Grand suite is palatial in size and packs just the right dose of plush.
Even at capacity, one never seems to bump into other patrons, providing a feeling of being completely alone on the property. This is until the moment you need tending to, and someone magically manifests to tend to your needs.
A new addition is the greenhouse-inspired building, which has been carefully designed to appear as if it has always been there. The elegant venue is used to serve complimentary sunset drinks, as well as the famous Akademie Street breakfast.
In addition to its country-chic decor, several pools, and the utter quietness of the property, what really makes Akademie Street the ultimate winter boutique is how aptly appointed it is for the chilly months. Akademie’s wood-fired hot tubs (each room has its own) and roaring fireplaces are perfect for when your soul is in need of soothing.
Akademie is a luxurious hidden gem: pair this with the attentions of convivial host Declan Mackle and you have a warm home-away-from-home to use as your base to explore the historic town.