Abalone House & Pool Villas

Paternoster, Cape Winelands & West Coast, South Africa Book from Book from £68 per night

A luxurious, quirky hotel with an outstanding restaurant and two villas (sleeping 4) overlooking the sea in a charming fishing village
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 quirky, colourful and spoiling. The reception area greets you with full-on ‘Boere Baroque’ style - an explosion of eclectic furniture and art. You’ll want to poke around for a while, looking at everything. By contrast, the 12 suites and villas are calm and peaceful, with just the odd whimsical detail: a huge jewel-toned Tretchikoff print by the bed; a family of rubber ducks in the bathroom.

Paternoster's Restaurant at Abalone House waits downstairs, along with a pool, a spa, a bar and a cosy lounge - 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.

Highs

  • Gorgeous, sparkly sea views from the restaurant and deck
  • Perfect for romance - no kids allowed and a rooftop Jacuzzi to drink champagne in
  • Sea kayaking alongside dolphins, seals and whales
  • An off-the-tourist-track destination, popular with weekending Cape Towners

Lows

  • 65% of the total must be paid on reservation
  • The lounge is somewhat overfurnished, and there's a mounted springbok head, which some may not like
  • 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

Try the African potato body wrap. Enjoy a traditional foot ritual and relaxing scalp massage while the wrap melts into your skin. Round things off with a marula oil massage to condition the skin (as well as improve collagen and elastin).

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • Over 12s only
  • 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 calm spaces, all slightly different. Brightly striped mohair blankets add colour to crisp, white linens on comfy kingsize beds, and each room has a piece of antique furniture - perhaps a dressing table or armoire - and a kitsch-but-cool reproduction of a Tretchikoff print. All the mod cons are in place, and nice touches include a selection of CDs and DVDs, TVs with Netflix & Showcase, baths as well as showers, under-tile heating, and a dash of whimsy from rubber ducks or frogs.

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.

Echoing the vibrant decadence of Abalone House, are the two Pool Villas. Although we are yet to visit, they are said to epitomise the finest self-catering accommodation in the village. Both are located roughly 1km from the main house and overlook the ocean. Each villa offers two kingsize bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, an open plan kitchen and living area, outside barbecue and outdoor shower, as well as a 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
  • CD player
  • 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 are a clutch of excellent local restaurants (reception can advise), but we hear Restaurant at Abalone House is still the best, so be sure to book ahead for lunches and dinners. Though the restaurant concept has changed since our visit, the menu still uses local ingredients and West Coast specialities, adapting to what’s available seasonally. When we stayed, we loved the linefish (kingklip) with summer salsa and spicy tomato sauce, and were blown away by the tender beef fillet with butternut puree. But our standout dish was dessert: a 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. 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 (or make the most of butler service in the villas).

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Relax at the spa, which uses Africology products - we're intrigued by the sound of African potato body wrap, and there are facials and massages on the menu too. Then swim in the pool and soak up the views from the rooftop Jacuzzi
  • 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

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 only accepts children aged 12+ and there are no extra beds. It's really an adult retreat.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

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 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

6/10
Room
7/10
Food
9/10
Service
7/10
Value
8/10
Overall

Over looking a fabulous beach, great place to chill and walk the beaches. Will return!

8/10,

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