Old school country charm

BY LIANDE BARNARD - OCTOBER 8, 2016

Small towns have a reputation for their warm hospitality and I recently found this to be true when I stayed at Ripple Hill Hotel in the quiet town of Patensie. Famous for their citrus farming, Patensie is situated less than an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth and about 30min from Jeffreys Bay.

Walking up pathway, where the trees form a natural archway, into the historic building is like travelling back in time. Built in 1946, the hotel boasts an abundance of character from the wooden floors and high ceilings to long hallways and some antique pieces placed here and there.

I was taken to my room, one of seven, which, in contrast with the historic hotel, was rather modern. The room was fitted with a queen size bed, crisp white linen, coffee and tea making facilities and air-conditioning. In the recently renovated bathroom awaited a glass walled shower and fresh towels.

After unpacking and settling in, I explored the rest of the hotel.

The dining area was formally set with napkins, glassware and cutlery and with ample space for guests to dine; I admired the room for its old-school charm.

I ran into the owner, John, and we started talking about the hotel. He showed me the function room, another classic that was just across the hall from the dining area. Accommodating up to 80 guests with tailor-made catering options, it is perfect for any function.

The pub is undoubtedly the most famous part of the hotel, both for locals and for the guests. At about 6pm the pub started filling up with local farmers, their wives and children. It seemed like this was the place for families to hang out and meet with friends after a hard day’s work.

Sitting down for dinner, I was quickly attended to by a waitress. I found the menu to have a huge variety – probably one of the biggest varieties I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. They serve burgers, steaks, ribs, chops, pizzas, curry, and a vast assortment of seafood to name but a few.   The wine list is extensive too.

I was ravenous and decided on the bacon and avocado burger with hand cut fries. Bursting with flavour, my burger was neatly topped off with pastry in the form of a “R”. Coming from a farming family I know my meat and with the first bite I realised that this was not your ordinary patty from the shops. This was later confirmed by John who explained that they prepare their own patties.

I slept soundly in a comfortable bed, breathing country air. Next morning I arrived at the breakfast table early as this was a business trip and not, unfortunately recreational. I had placed my order the previous night to facilitate a quick start to the day. The chef himself brought me a filter coffee before serving breakfast which consisted of a hearty omelette with cheese, bacon, mushrooms and toast on the side.  

Pleased with my comfortable stay, I hit the road, but I am already planning my next visit to try out their renowned steaks. I can highly recommend Ripple Hill Hotel if you’re ever passing through to the Baviaanskloof or even if you just want to breakaway for a weekend. You will not be disappointed.

To book your stay or for more information contact John and N’ré at 042 283 0625 or email them at [email protected]