The industry’s been a-buzz with the news that the iconic Grande Roche Hotel is under new ownership – and for the first time in 30 years, the new owners are South African. Not only that, they’re from Paarl! The historic 5-star property has been bought by entrepreneurs Hansie and Theresa Britz, who say that “The Grande Roche has always occupied a special place in our hearts. It’s part of the Paarl identity. When opportunity arose to buy it, we jumped without hesitation.”

Grande Roche’s history dates back to the 1700s and is one of very few hotels to be based on a farm, in a city. It retains a country village feel and the 23ha property comprises vineyards, an open-air amphitheatre and function centre that can accommodate up to 200 people.

The hotel will close for a month in June for the first stage of transformation – in addition to a maintenance overhaul, work will include a revamp of several rooms and the establishment of a completely new bar and restaurant, Viande (meaning ‘meat’ in French). Décor will be overseen by well-known Cape interior designer Francois du Plessis.

Heading up the new restaurant as well as food and beverage operations is a man who needs no introduction, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood. “Viande will be country-style with a nose-to-tail menu,” says the former MasterChef SA Judge, who will be paying special attention to local produce as well as drawing on ingredients from an expanded kitchen garden on the grounds. The restaurant will be expanded to occupy the whole floor of the main building, and will seat up to 90 guests, and the cocktail bar will serve tapas alongside an expanded drinks menu with a focus on local brandies.

In future phases of the property’s transformation, a luxury spa will be added. “The new facilities will open the hotel to beyond our overnight guests,” says Johann Bouwer, long-time Director for Grande Roche. “We look forward to welcoming our Paarl friends back to the Grande Roche when the hotel re-opens.”

For more information on Grande Roche Hotel, click here.

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