DECO was thoroughly spoilt on a recent trip to Paternoster’s exquisite 5 star resort, the Strandloper Ocean boutique hotel. As we took in the unspoilt view of the fynbos-covered beach, co-owner Simone Jacke revealed the resort’s sustainable style of barefoot luxury.
As well as unrivalled natural beauty, relaxed beach-house luxury and copious amounts of hospitable charm from our hosts, Paternoster’s Strandloper Ocean resort happens to boast impressively sustainable credentials.
As we researched our upcoming Green Issue (on shelf 28 September), it was the perfect place for DECO to spend an indulgent weekend without needing to worry about an unviable carbon footprint (you can read more about our fabulous weekend stay later this week.)
During our trip, we happened to share a breakfast terrace with the utterly charming owners, Deon Brand and Simone Jacke. Here, Simone talks to DECO about how Strandloper came to be, their design inspiration and just how possible it is to deliver five star luxury sustainably.
Simone, how did you and Deon develop Strandloper and what was your design vision?
Deon grew up in Paternoster. We started with holiday houses that people could and still can rent but realised after a few years that there were no local offers for a more luxurious experience with more attention to details and personal service. We decided to buy the land the Hotel is on now, but also the 3km coastal strip to the north of Strandloper as there were plans for a high, dense residential project which we wanted to stop.
It was kind of saving our little Paternoster and keep its atmosphere and more or less size. Anything else would have destroyed the character of Paternoster. The land was expensive but we felt it was very important.
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.
We are in a phase in our life where we feel strongly that we have to create something that enhances our experience as humans whilst at the same time respects our beautiful but so vulnerable planet. Design was based on a subtle rustiqueness and typical West Coast features, the elements and we wanted to mirror the natural beauty.
We were certain that whatever we built had to reflect the soul of Paternoster, must be authentic, real.
With Deon’s strong understanding of the local flair and the history of the village, my German background and our shared Mauritian experience [Deon and Simone used to live in Mauritius with their two daughters], we added a lot of ingredients in our design; another reflection of Paternoster, being the shore welcoming many different nations and cultures. For six months, we hosted an archaeology team and some parts of our land were declared as heritage sites.
DECO DICTIONARY: STRANDLOPER
‘The ancient Strandlopers lived along our deserted coastline living from the treasures of the sea and land, leaving no footprint except some natural tools and graves. Our hotel name and concept is a tribute to this fascinating history. Based on all this, we were certain to develop an earthy place with a strong barefoot luxury concept, a fusion of beach style and contemporary.’ – Simone Jacke
Did you have architectural guidance on the room layout and construction?
Our intention was to blur the lines between the inside and outdoor as we want our guests to connect with the energy of the beautiful surroundings, the unique fauna and flora and the healing forces of the ocean. We chose the fabulous architect Geoff George who is an expert on West Coast architecture.
Geoff understood our desire to integrate in the space and celebrate the elements, the sky, sand, sea and space. We also worked with our interior designer David Strauss who also has a very good understanding of the area and culture.
How did you approach the interior design? Do you have any recommendations?
David Strauss and I worked very closely together. The concept was simple, natural, organic, earthy tones, materials which reflect the natural environment of wood, stone and washed colours. Understated luxury, simplicity, clean lines, pure linen and different pleasing textures; small splashes of accent colours and Nguni hide mats.
The interior briefing was ‘simplicity’, which is often more difficult than going opulent. Each detail counts so much more.
We feel that the modern traveler needs kind of a relaxation zone, a place that is easy to grasp and understand and invites you to let your thoughts wander, to calm your mind and feel the purity of life which can be a very rejuvenating and even healing experience.
We agreed not to compete with the beauty outdoors but to stay with our interior, silent and subtle, and draw all attention to the nature, the beach and the ocean. We made an enormous effort to source local interior items, proudly South African. We discovered amazing South African designers like John Vogel and also designed a lot of our furniture ourselves.
Sustainable and eco-friendly aspects are rare in a five star destination. Tell us more…
We feel tourism has to change and must be much more responsible and sustainable without harming. The modern traveler is looking out for these places. In a way, Strandloper worked easily here as it is so close to nature. How could one compete with a 3km beach and an authentic fisherman’s village sculptured over so many years?
Our philosophy is to be one with our environment and to sustain its natural resources.
We were charmed by your ‘owl hotels’ – how do they serve the resort?
We believe we entered a space which was in harmony and worked perfectly well. For this reason we set up our ‘owl hotel’ where the owls can nest and several of these now surround the hotel. Other than the nest boxes, we also have free standing perches from which the owls hunt.
This project aims to attract endangered owls and at the same time to manage rodents and insects in a natural way without using poison which disturbs the natural cycle completely. The owls that stay in our hotel are Barn owls from the area. The company EcoSolutions assisted us with the setup of the new homes for our owls, as they are somewhat discerning guests.
We’re also dedicated to regenerating the surrounding landscape by re-planting fynbos and ensuring the climate was perfectly preserved throughout the build, for which we worked with local company Vula, experienced in rehabilitation.
A kitchen garden feeds your fine dining restaurant; what do you grow on site?
We try our best to serve seasonal, regional and organic food. Our veg garden is still in the starting phase and our chefs are offering what the garden provides (local herbs, salads, onions, green veggies, tomatoes). Currently mostly we use the herbs from the garden, which includes rocket, parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil, sage and fennel. We get our spinach and leeks from the garden as well.
The rest of our fruit and vegetables we get locally and we are so lucky to have so many treasures on our doorstep; all the seafood, mussels, and fresh line fish like crayfish. We work only with fishermen who harvest the sea sensibly and we only buy free range meat.
What other sustainable practices does Strandloper operate?
We have solar panels at the hotel to generate warm water and we’re also exploring solar powered air conditioners for our new extension. Our ‘save water’ notes are featured prominently in every room, encouraging guests to take our sustainable approach and work sparingly with water.
We’re cautious in only using natural cleaning products and materials, ensuring no chemicals are contained within our waste water or on our site – plus our indigenous gardens require very little watering or maintenance. Lights and all appliances, including our air con, are energy-efficient.
Our beauty products [which DECO can vouch are just divine] are by Rain, handmade with only natural ingredients all originating in Africa – even our Wellness suite and spa uses only Healing Earth products.
Your sustainable endeavours stretch to community support – tell us more?
When we moved from Mauritius and Germany to start our project in Paternoster, we found the forgotten children of Paternoster: the big NGO’s are busy in the big townships and their help did not reach the West Coast or Paternoster. The local population is still living from traditional fishing which is a tough life. So there is a lot of poverty and unemployment which leads into alcohol and drug abuse, violence and hopelessness.
We empower disadvantaged children to find their way out of poverty to give them a fair chance so that they can succeed and thrive. We do so by providing them with comprehensive support. If anyone would like more information and make a donation please visit our West Coast Kids website – it’s a cause very close to our hearts and we are very happy that many of our guests join us to help.
Images via Simone Jacke, Strandloper Ocean and Lucie Bartlett
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.