Strandloper Ocean in Paternoster is a five star retreat with a difference. With a kick-off-your-shoes beach house feel, resplendent in all the trimmings one expects from a five star resort, it is a unique blend of seaside indulgence and a decor lesson in relaxed luxury.
While DECO was busy researching our upcoming Green Issue, we needed a quick weekend getaway that would tick a lot of boxes: sea air, remote location, less than two hours’ drive from Cape Town and with full pampering potential – all with integral sustainable credentials to ensure we were watching our carbon footprint and in keeping within the theme of our next issue’s theme.
Enter, the Strandloper Ocean resort in Paternoster.
Tucked away on the tip of the peninsula in this dreamy fisherman’s town, Strandloper Ocean is a massive surprise. Nestled amongst the romantic whitewashed windswept houses on this pretty, popular West Coast retreat, five star luxury might seem an unwelcome juxtaposition, but happily, co-owners Simone Jacke and Deon Brand have masterfully retained the all-natural look and feel of this Paternoster paradise, creating the lap of luxury in complete harmony with the beautiful environment.
Simone told DECO during our stay: ‘We wanted to develop an earthy place with a strong barefoot luxury concept, a fusion of beach style and contemporary…. Our design vision was very clear: something unique, something that blends in and complements this special place, which allows the untamed and wild beauty to be. And, as with all our projects, based on sustainability.’
As DECO parked up amidst howling winds and driving rain at the end of a wintry drive from the Mother City, utter bliss awaited us. Welcomed to sit by a roaring fire with hot face towels, fresh coffee and canape tasters fresh from the chef, the strains of the working week disappeared in an instant. As we sat taking in the view of the wild sand dunes before us, our knowledgeable host Delroy gave us his tips on local activities and the best restaurants in town.
No sooner had we sat down, than our bags were whisked to our rooms, our dinner reservations were made for us and we were settled in with the kind of subtly efficient professionalism that is the preserve of a five star establishment. This was clearly going to be quite the weekend….
PARADISE IN PATERNOSTER
With the most welcoming of hosts in Gill, Strandloper’s friendly, efficient and all-knowing Assistant Manager, DECO started our Saturday with a guided tour of the boutique hotel. Open for three years now, this was Strandloper Ocean’s first winter of trade as inevitably the pretty coastal town goes quiet during the off-season.
Boasting 14 exquisite rooms, including the impressive Oceanus executive suite, Strandloper Ocean is made for quiet getaways for the discerning traveller. Not viable for children under the age of 14, this is not a family affair which is a welcome principle for those wanting a grown up weekend away from the riot of daily life (though kids and pets are more than welcome up the road at Strandloper’s stunning self-catering sea villas.)
Simone and Deon bought a 3km stretch of land around the hotel – preserving the eco-climate and preventing a threat of development. As a result, the hotel’s surrounds are as picturesque as it gets and, frankly, words will fail to do it justice.
Sweeping fynbos vistas, rolling sand dunes and ocean seascapes that stretch into eternity, completely unspoilt by the hotel’s peaceful architecture.
Crucial to Strandloper Ocean is that they give back more than they take out. So fynbos are stringently planted and re-planted, sea shells raked from the beach are placed back on site as pretty pathways between rooms and a number of ‘owl hotels’ not only keep the resident rodent population in check, but ensure a local population of barn owls also call Strandloper home (read more about Strandloper’s sustainable practices here).
With a luxurious lap pool on site and bicycles for hire, healthy living is encouraged. Everything in Paternoster is a bike ride away and DECO thoroughly enjoyed a weekend of pedalling with our cars parked safely away. Even better was our utterly indulgent massage at the on-site spa, the Elements Wellness Suite, where we enjoyed the very best Healing Earth products and treatment to refresh and revitalise.
ROOMS WITH A VIEW
DECO was fortunate enough to experience both the Athena and Oceanus suites during our stay, both exquisitely finished with that never-want-to-leave home-from-home quality, inherently comfortable and beautifully presented. Of all the Strandloper Ocean’s rooms on offer, all suitably regally named after Greek Gods, five are ocean-facing and the others sit on the nature reserve side of the site, some with their own internal courtyards and outdoor rain showers, others looking directly onto the reserve.
So wherever you end up, you are guaranteed the most spectacular views of nature.
Simple signs of a true welcome – like free-roaming hangers they trust you not to steal, Nespresso machines in every room and ample supplies of hair conditioner really make all the difference in a five star resort. After dinner each night we came home to a turndown service of hot water bottles, a roaring fire and cherry & almond nougat bites by our bed – most welcome to keep away the wintertime chill.
Our Oceanus Executive Suite was sumptuous, the ultimate luxury and just made for summer entertaining, where a private chef is available on site to cook in the suite’s kitchenette for friends of guests around the beach house dining table (just the previous weekend, guests had welcomed no fewer than 12 friends for dinner during their stay).
Though we ate elsewhere, we did enjoy the suite’s luxurious bathroom, expansive living area for early evening sundowners and incredible beach views, right from our bed.
Our favourite room was the Athena Ocean Suite, where we stayed for our opening night. Double-storied with a desk on the mezzanine (perfection for a writer’s weekend away), the open plan beach-house feel was inviting from the first moment.
With huge glass doors opening directly onto the beach below, it is a stunning ocean view to wake up to. Smaller than Oceanus, it offered us the perfect degree of intimacy and luxury, furnished in the hotel’s inimitable relaxed luxe look, complete with a roaring fire in the bedroom.
WINING & DINING
With a fine dining restaurant on site catering for breakfast, dinner and anything in between at special request, you won’t need to leave for the whole weekend.
Breakfast at Strandloper Ocean is a truly special treat – from fresh fruit and omelettes to the full English affair – but the real delight was the mixed meat and cheese platter that we turned to on day two. The deck’s position on the beach is such that it’s a haven for birdlife – with the hotel’s binoculars and bird book on hand, we were joined at breakfast by a host of wildlife; keen eyes will spot black headed herons and capped wheatears.
Even in the depths of winter, DECO spent a sunny morning seated on the hotel’s deck amidst warbling bird song, the ocean’s swelling whisper and fynbos-covered dunes.
Dinner was equally delicious. The dining room is intimate and relaxed; white table cloths beautifully set with proteas sourced from the natural surrounds, with a three course menu presenting tasty, locally sourced meat and fish. DECO’s recommendations? Fully embrace the local fish, starting with the West Coast mussels before delving into local Tiger Prawns dripping in garlic chilli sauce. The pleasing portion sizes will give hearty appetites space for dessert, in which case the crème brûlée goes down a treat.
Further afield in town – just a 1 minute drive or 3 minute cycle away – there are a number of delicious restaurants that might tempt you away. DECO can vouch for the local vibe of Voorstrandt, just down the road, whose checked tablecloths, green clapboard decking and fresh oysters make for a relaxed supper. Our upmarket choice has to be Reubens at Abalone House – a real treat on our last night with springbok steak to die for.
Finally, DECO would encourage any Strandloper guests to make the most of your weekend in Paternoster and fully explore the little seaside town. Paternoster has plenty of resident artists and artisans, many of whose products are gathered at Dianne Heesom-Green’s Stone Fish Studio & Gallery, just a short bike ride from Strandloper. DECO picked up some beautiful handmade ceramics amidst the local art on show.
Antique hunters will have a field day at the Patina Bazaar Antieke a little further along the main Paternoster strip. This olde world ‘junk shop’ style lifestyle store boasts some impressive Victorian furniture pieces from huge commodes to brass fire guards and small accessories and decor pieces too. Hand-printed linens lay amongst pearl and silver jewellery, making this little store a treasure trove of unique finds.
Images by Lucie Bartlett / provided by Strandloper Ocean.
BOOK YOUR STAY:
You’ll find Strandloper Ocean nestled in Paternoster, just 145km from Cape Town.
T: +27 21 794 5858 | C: +27 83 654 3001 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rooms available from R1 900 per room per night and include accommodation, full English breakfast, free wifi and secure parking.
Look out for our full travel feature on Strandloper Ocean later this week.
FIND MORE GREEN LIVING INSPIRATION IN OUR UPCOMING ISSUE
The Green Issue edition of ELLE Decoration South Africa will be on the shelf of your nearest magazine retailer from 28 September. Packed with sustainably stylish interiors, it’s full of all your favourite features and decor tips plus the green spaces of Patrizia Moroso and Pietro Russo. Order your copy today – across South Africa wherever magazines are sold – and tell us what you think on Twitter @ELLE_Deco, sharing your #GreenIssue #DECOselfie.