Le Quartier Français, a boutique hotel in Franschhoek and part of the Leeu Collection, has reopened following an 18-month-long, R72 million (€4.6m) refurbishment and expansion.

The renovation has created an even more luxurious property with contemporary interiors and splashes of colour.

All the hotel’s existing rooms and suites have been upgraded, and an additional five rooms created from what was once office space, and seven rooms in two new villas, bringing the total key count to 32. The villas each have separate entrances and parking, offering complete privacy, and provide an ideal base for guests who wish to stay in Franschhoek for a week or more while exploring the region.

The dining options at Le Quartier Français have been improved too. La Petit Colombe, established at the hotel in 2017 by the La Colombe team of Silvermist Wine Estate in Constantia, was recently named the fifth-best restaurant in the country. Its tasting menus focus on the finest local and seasonal produce, recommended with a fine wine selection.

The team from La Colombe have now taken over the running of the less formal eating areas at Le Quartier Français, and opened Protégé. This new all-day restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, has an open kitchen and two outdoor areas, one overlooking the hotel’s gardens and the other on Franschhoek’s main street.

Alternative dining is available at Leeu’s partner restaurants, Tuk Tuk, a craft beer microbrewery in collaboration with the Cape Brewing Company; and Marigold, Franschhoek’ s first authentic Indian eatery, both less than a two-minute walk from the hotel. In addition, guests are welcome to visit Leeu Estates’ The Dining Room, which serves innovative South African cuisine. Complimentary transfers are available.

Part of Le Quartier Français’s charm is its location on Huguenot Road, the village’s high street, within easy walking distance of all the local attractions, while also providing an oasis of calm, due to its tranquil gardens, which are dotted with sculptures and include a 10-metre swimming pool, and a herb garden that is frequently used by the kitchen team. Accessible from the hotel, the Everard Read gallery displays examples of South Africa’s best contemporary art and sculptures.

Leeu Collection comprises three five-star boutique properties in South Africa: Leeu Estates, a 17-room country house retreat and boutique winery in the Franschhoek valley; Leeu House, a 12-room hotel in the heart of Franschhoek village; and Le Quartier Français; and Linthwaite House in Great Britain’s Lake District. Another Leeu property, Leeu Villa Querce, a 70-plus-room luxury hotel and gardens is due to open in Florence in 2021.