Abalone House & Pool Villas

Paternoster, Cape Winelands & West Coast, South Africa Book from Book from £78 per night

A spoiling small hotel overlooking the sea in a charming fishing village, with an outstanding restaurant plus two separate villas (sleeping 4)

In the quaint village of Paternoster, Abalone House is an unexpected surprise. On the outside, this 5-star hotel fits in with the whitewashed fishermen’s cottages that line the beautiful shore. But inside, it is chic, airy and spoiling. The reception area greets you with ocean-inspired artfulness - a 'fish-scaled' bar, geometric prints reminiscent of shell patterns, cream and blue sofas to sink into. The restaurant here is a real draw, with superb seafood and a upbeat atmosphere, inside and out. In the courtyard is a pool and a lovely little spa, while upstairs are 10 rooms and suites: calm and peaceful, with the odd whimsical detail (we loved the huge jewel-toned Tretchikoff prints). There's also a pair of two-bedroom villas, overlooking Gaatjies beach 10 minutes' walk away, each with its own little pool.

There’s really no need to leave the hotel if you fall into full-on relax mode. But if you want a change of scene, stroll along white-sand beaches, watch local fishermen tend their traditional crayfish pots, potter around colourful art galleries, and bird watch in nearby nature reserves.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.

Highs

  • Gorgeous, sparkly sea views from the restaurant and deck
  • The main hotel is perfect for romance - no kids, and a secluded pool court for relaxing
  • The two villas are great for families with older kids: independent, with kitchens, pools and beach below
  • Paternoster is a memorable, off-the-tourist-track destination, popular with weekending Cape Towners but few others
  • We loved sea-kayaking alongside dolphins, seals and whales

Lows

  • New ownership in 2022 means some changes are afoot - we'll keep you posted
  • While teens are welcome in the pool villas, the main hotel (and the overall vibe) is a grown up one
  • Not all rooms are sea-facing, and ground-floor rooms open onto the pool courtyard, so are less private
  • Two resident cats - take note if you have allergies

Best time to go

November-April is South Africa's peak season; February is the best month as temperatures are constant (very hot!) and there’s little wind compared with other months. September’s wildflower season is also popular, and the weather is generally sunny but cool.

Our top tips

If you're here for a special occasion, Abalone House can set up a romantic 'beachnic' for you in a secluded corner of the beach, complete with champagne.

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12 rooms
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • Teens welcome in Pool Villas
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

The 10 suites are chic, calm spaces, all slightly different. Mohair blankets and Tretchikoff prints add texture and colour to crisp, and there are comfy kingsize beds plus the occasional antique dressing table or armoire. All the mod cons are in place, including Smart TVs with a film library, A/C, hairdryers, baths as well as showers, and under-tile heating.

It's worth upgrading to a Luxury Superior Suite for a private patio/courtyard, especially if you get one with a sea view; #5 and 7 are the quietest. The ultimate room is the Superior Seaview Suite; you can watch the sun set from your private balcony. Note, all rooms on the ground floor open directly onto the sheltered pool courtyard.

If you're coming with kids over 12, or as a group, we'd recommend booking one (or both) of the Two-bedroom Pool Villas. Located about 1km from the main house, overlooking Gaatjies beach, they can legitimately claim to be the best self-catering in the village. Each has two kingsize (or twin) bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, an open plan kitchen and living area, outside barbecue and outdoor shower, as well as a small private infinity pool. Villa 1 has a slightly larger living space and a lock up garage, while Villa 2 offers on-site parking.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • DVD player
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Paternoster has become a magnet for foodies. There's a clutch of excellent local eateries (reception can advise), and of course the hotel's own restaurant remains excellent (be sure to book ahead). The menu has changed since our visit, but still focuses on local ingredients and West Coast specialities, with a sushi menu to boot. Our highlights were the linefish (kingklip) with summer salsa and spicy tomato sauce, the tender beef fillet with butternut puree, and the dessert: a standout dark chocolate pavé with ginger mousse and strawberry and mint granita. We were really impressed by how well the unusual flavours worked together.

Breakfast is a more casual affair - a hearty buffet of pastries, fruits, yoghurts and cereals. Though the two Pool Villas have the option of being self-catering, breakfast is included and is served in each house.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Beach picnics (beachnics)
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walk along the white-sand shoreline, browse local bric-a-brac shops, and potter in small art galleries
  • Kayak in the bay as the sun rises. It's a great time to spot seals, dolphins and birds (cormorants, oyster catchers, Arctic terns, penguins). You may even see southern right whales close to shore during their migration (August to November)
  • Day-trip to see the carpets of wild daisies, wildlife and bird hides in the West Coast National Park, or take a 4x4 tour through the unspoilt, natural wilderness and rocky coves of the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve at Tietiesbaai
  • Kitesurfing, snorkelling and scuba diving, horse riding, and mountain- and quad-biking are all available locally
  • Relax at the spa, which offers massage, aromatherapy, marine algae body wraps and more

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Kitesurfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Quad biking
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Whale watching
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Abalone House welcomes children aged 12+.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The two-bedroom villas are perfect for families with teenage kids. Bedrooms can be set up with twin beds, and they each have a private pool, kitchen and living room (with Netflix and good WiFi).

Kid Friendly:

Location

Abalone House & Pool Villas is in Paternoster on the Cape West Coast of South Africa, 1.5 hours north of Cape Town.

By Air:
Fly into Cape Town International Airport (155km). It’s served by flights from all over the world - click on the links below for more information.

From the Airport
Hire a car - Paternoster is around 1.5 hours' drive. See our car rental recommendations. The roads are good if a little boringly straight for kilometres at a time.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to South Africa and getting around

Airports:

  • Cape Town International 155.0 km CPT

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
7/10
Food
10/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Overall

We had a well equipped downstairs room facing the pool which was a bit on the dark side. We enjoyed the Nespresso machine, well-stocked fridge, carafe of port, slippers, bathrobe and full set of bathroom amenities. The comments on i-escape's website about the explosion of eclectic decor is true regarding the shabby chic look! A nice touch is the heated bathroom tiles.
In my personal opinion, I wasn't keen on the food, however breakfast was good!
Paternoster is very quiet and laid back place, good for unwinding. There is a new art and food complex at crayfish ward which looks nice. Columbine lighthouse is worth a visit.

7/10,

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