One of my very favourite places in South Africa is Paternoster. In earlier blog posts I wrote already why I like this place so much, where to eat and where to stay if you prefer self catering accommodation. Today I’ll share my favourite place to stay if you like to do nothing yourself, get spoiled rotten & gain 2 kg during your weekend stay at the West Coast.
Of course I speak about Ah! Guest House; the domain and happy place of Arnold Hoon (that’s where the name Ah! comes from – obviously not from the Dutch supermarket brand Albert Heijn – ) and his partner in crime Annalise Bosch (who was a South African actress and TV star during her younger years, and is now a talented painter too)! This hidden gem in Paternoster exists already for many years, and still becomes more popular every season. For that reason I am not sure if it’s a good idea to share this hidden gem with you, or to rather keep it secret for ourselves… Anyway. It’s the nicest place to stay and I’d like you to know about it, just like we were told and introduced to Ah! GH by friends of us in 2011, and came back ever since.
There are five colourful, stylish guest rooms where you feel straight away at home, all with private en suite bathrooms. The guest house facilities includes crisp white bed linen, coffee & tea trays (with Arnold’s delicious shortbread cookies), a fridge, TV and DVD in each room, bathroom amenities from the South African brand ‘Rain’, a communal upstairs deck and a smal splash pool for hot summer days. Bath and beach towels are provided, as well as a range of DVD’s and games for colder (winter) days. Ah! Guest House is situated at Mosselbank Street, with great views of a 7km long beach. Ideal for walking, running, sun bathing, fishing, swimming (only for the brave: the Atlantic is freezing) or picnics and braai during summer. In 2012 Arnold and Annalise refurbished and refurnished all their rooms, extended the balcony sun deck and created extra lounge space downstairs, with a fireplace for during winter and open sliding doors for summer time. All bathrooms are modern and fresh, with Hans Grohe rain dance showers and there are 3 rooms with a bath as well.
Paternoster is a place I always want to come back to. There (almost) is nothing here. Nothing else than sea (full of sea-food, Yummy), sand, beach, white houses, a few nice restaurants and places to stay, 1 small crappy supermarket, dolphins in the sea if you are lucky enough to see them, and a few cute shops and art galleries. But it’s the feeling you get when you are in Paternoster. The nature, the sound of the waves, the birds, seals, the smell of mussels. The white wine taste best at Gaaitjie for lunch and crayfish (the lobster from Paternoster) always is the best to eat here fresh.
The Food at Ah!
Food is quite something in the lives of owners Arnold and Annalise. They are real foodies at heart, and they cook as good as a professional chef in a five star hotel. No joke. They are really, really good chefs. They make everything themselves; pasta, cookies, jams and breads. We’ve been at Ah! – I think – five times and all five times we had dinner on one evening in the Guest House and (obviously) had breakfast there every day. And I can assure you: it is heaven! Make sure you are not on a diet when you visit.
Every breakfast at Ah! includes 3 courses: You start with yoghurt, fynbos honey, fresh seasonal fruit, cereals tea and coffee. Then you get the ‘main course’; which is every day a different savoury dish (for example omelettes with bacon and spring onion, or my favourite shakshuka, or poached eggs Florentine) and after the savoury you finish with a real ‘breakfast dessert’ (for example French toast with home made butterscotch ice cream, flapjacks pancakes or a mini cinnamon bun).
After breakfast course 3 you are so full you can skip lunch for the day!
If you are lucky in the evening Arnold and Annalise prepare you a (restaurant worthy) dinner! They plan their long table dinners ahead, about 2 – 3 times a week, and then they’ll serve a 4 course dinner for all guests. You sit all together at the long kitchen table and can buy South African wines here too. Usually the foodie feast starts with a light and flavourful starter (for example a puff pastry pie with organic tomato, buffalo mozzarella and balsamic vinegar), then as the second course they often serve a salad (fresh salad leaves as well as blue cheese, walnuts and a dressing) or a soup, and then the main course is served; fish or meat, they do it all. Depends what’s fresh and in season. We once had Kingklip (a white local fish) prepared Asian style, with sugar snaps, homemade noodles and an Asian soy based sauce. But we also had once a nice piece of lamb. For dessert Arnold and Annalise always find something new, whether it’s a millefeuille, creme brûlée or chocolate fondant, it’s always tasty and homemade.
How much fun can it be to meet people you’ve never seen before and have dinner and (lots of) wine together? Very much fun! At the dining table in Ah! Guest House many people from all over the world meet and have a nice evening together.
The Mr. and I always smile when we are at Ah! Guest House. Terrible photo, most definitely too much wine, but – again: what a wonderful stay.
Another favourite of mine in Paternoster is Gaaitjie for lunch.
And Noisy Oyster for dinner!
Die winkel op Paternoster is a nice place for souvenir shopping, or to have breakfast at Oep ve Koep.
Ah! Guest House can be found on 1 Mosselbank Street, Paternoster (West Coast, South Africa). The Guest House is open all year around, with a few weeks of holiday break for the owners Arnold and Annalise somewhere during autumn/winter season in South Africa. Ah! offers 5 luxury rooms, as well as 4 course stunning dinners for guests on set dates (I would highly recommend you to try to get in!) and delicious breakfast that makes you want to skip lunch. Prices are about ZAR 1500 per room per night, excluding dinner, including breakfast.
*Note: I have not been asked, paid or invited to write about Ah! Guest House Paternoster. It was my own idea as I love the place and we have been there many times. All images are mine, most made with an iPhone (therefore picture quality isn’t the best in this blog post) and a few (the better pictures) with my Canon EOS M camera.