Paternoster is a picturesque coastal town, built in the Cape Dutch style with contemporary overtones. Its uniformity is slightly constraining and would benefit, IMO, from a sprinkling of Modernism but it is very charming nonetheless. A three day stay is probably optimum unless you really yearn for true inactivity. Issues to note:
Micro climate: At this time of year the days start off gloriously, the air still, the skies blue and clear. By the late morning the wind begins to pick up and by the middle of the afternoon it can be blowing a hoolie. For this reason you see people walking on the beech in the morning but otherwise it’s fairly deserted. Nobody swims in the sea; there are signs prohibiting it and besides it’s much too cold. There are very few swimming pools.
Strandloper Rooms; the small Courtyard rooms have no views and face internally, the Nature rooms are much larger (around 75m2) look over fabulous landscape but the Ocean view rooms are the preferred choice. In design terms they are fairly modern with ethnic and rustic accents. The beds are extremely comfortable. Lighting is not well thought through and needs attention. There is too much sofit and ceiling lighting in some areas and not enough low and mid level illumination. More table and floor lamps would solve this. The blackout provision is only partial so if you don’t like being woken by the dawn you will need to wear an eye mask.
Bathroom: fabulously huge bathtub in the Nature and Ocean rooms. However, only one basin despite vast space; a real deficiency. Good amenities in refillable pump action bottles which accords with the eco concerns of the hotel. They just need to dispense with the soap bars which are wasteful and unnecessary.
Cleaning; superficially OK but they need to have periodic deep cleans to remove fingerprints around door handles etc. However, the complimentary car wash is very welcome
F&B: Breakfast is very good. High quality locally sourced ingredients, freshly cooked or prepared for you. Decent bacon not burnt to a cinder in the American stye; top marks! Very polite and efficient waiting staff. I think that the hotel is missing an opportunity in not providing either an in room/terrace dining menu or more frequent opening of the restaurant for lunch and dinner. The choices in Paternoster are rather limited and I would think that Strandloper would easily generate business from guests and from outside.
AV provision: this is going to need to be upgraded soon if they really aspire to 5 stars. The TV is on the small side and not HD. The music dock is a fairly low grade Philips machine that makes a noise but not of any quality. Should be replaced by a Bose or a mini system hi-fi.
Reception: not manned 24 hours; they seem to close down at around 10.00pm, so don’t leave your keys and expect to retrieve them after dinner.
The hotel has their own car & driver for use by guests FOC. They don’t tell you about it unless you ask.
Restaurants; my suggested booking strategy would be this:
For lunch: Voorstrandt and Gaaitjie (pronounced something like “Haikey”). These are the only two restaurants on the beach so you need to go for lunch to enjoy the view. Ask for a table outside on the deck at Voorstrandt, they do grilled fish (and chips), oysters, seafood, simple but great quality. Again, ask for an outside table at Gaaitjie, it’s actually a small terrace under cover but you don’t want to be inside. The food is imaginative and inventive although the place itself is like somebody’s house. You can walk to both of those on the beach from the hotel.
Oep vi Koep is lunch only, so no option. Don’t be put off by the look of the place, it’s at the side of a shop in an enclosed garden and a bit hippy but the food is great although not much choice.
For dinner: The Noisy Oyster when you are feeling lively; it’s self consciously “wacky” but fun. They took very good care of us. Eat in the hotel’s own Ocean Lounge. Their crayfish were fantastic. Make sure you specify which table you want.
Don’t bother with Reubens. It’s meant to be “Fine Dinning” and while the place is quite smart and professionally managed, the food is standard international fare and execution is, at best, competent. Very little fish on the menu despite being within sight of the sea. Our least impressive meal by far. It’s also quite a long way form Strandloper.
The only other places are Stakis which nobody seems to recommend and Bikkies Pizzeria. We went by and it was busy but we didn’t check the menu.
Personally, if I had to go somewhere twice it would be Voorstrandt.
The hotel should be able to book all of these for you. Few of the restaurants accept walk-ins. Everybody eats very early; by 10.00pm the places will be empty.
Overall we had a wonderful time and enjoyed our visit enormously. There is room for a little improvement but nothing that would prevent a seriously pleasant experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If you are looking for an unspoiled ocean getaway, it doesn’t get better than the exclusive new Strandloper Ocean. Hidden away on the shores of the unspoiled fishing village of Paternoster, only 90 minutes from Cape Town, this is a coastal destination with immeasurable charm.The 16 exquisite rooms and suites are a fusion of beach style and contemporary luxury; with organic lines, hues and textures and an overall feeling of simplicity. Each has its own terrace or courtyard, some with small splash pools, and wide doors that open out onto breathtaking views of sky, sand, sea and space.Take the time to simply be, or if you are feeling more adventurous, set off on an endless beach walk in search of whales and dolphins, hop onto a bicycle for a leisurely ride or take to the waves on a kayak.Paternoster is a seafood and lobster Mecca, a gourmet destination for travelers in search of the ultimate meal. Inspired cuisine with a local and organic slant is created daily at the Ocean Lounge, which also serves up breathtaking views of the surroundings.A romantic venue for couples, honeymooners or anyone looking for some special me-time, the Strandloper Ocean offers the best of West Coast hospitality and fuss-free luxury. ... more less
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