Maartens Guest House in Fresnaye

Location, location, location

No really. Although a lot of guesthouses may proclaim to have the ‘perfect location’ Maartens Guesthouse in Fresnaye really does. Found in Atlantic Seaboard suburb, Fresnaye, the stately home is just 10 minutes away from the beach, and another 10 to the city centre.

“And it’s wind free,” says Maarten Jansen himself. “Well, as much as a place can be in Cape Town,” he says laughing. It’s the middle of breakfast and we’re in the communal area of the guesthouse. There’s a table stacked with croissants, gourmet cheeses, jugs of juice and jewel-like cut fruits. Even though breakfast is almost over, Maarten insists that we eat something hot, while he drops off two guests at their pick-up point.

This kind of personal attention, we soon find out, is exactly what makes this place special. The lounge and dining room offer a comfortable place to relax and socialise with fellow guests. Wooden floors, soft suede fabrics, freshly cut flowers, and touches of red, orange, and beige all come together to make the living room feel well lived in and effortlessly chic.

Feeling revived after coffee and scrambled eggs, Maarten shows us around the guesthouse. We view a variety of rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms. Some have views of the Atlantic, and others of Robben Island too. Maarten didn’t want all the rooms to look the same, so each has its own personality, “I knew that I wanted lots of wood elements,” he says. “And it’s got a colonial feel, but not old fashioned; instead it’s timeless, modern.”

All the rooms use pure cotton linen as bedding, and the luxury ones have private balconies. One even has a Romeo & Juliet balcony - just like the one belonging to those famous star-crossed lovers.

Speaking of love; it’s the very reason Maarten came to South Africa in the first place. Of Dutch birth, love saw him moving to Cape Town in 2003. Initially there were no plans to open a guesthouse, instead Maarten did volunteer work for the Salesian Institute.

“You can’t live in another country and only take,” he says. You have to give as well.” It’s exactly this kind of attitude that makes Maarten the host with the most.

Other than the seven rooms (each sleeping two), there’s also an outside area, complete with dark wood lounging chairs surrounding a very generous pool. Above this is a braai area with tables - all very congenial.

According to Maarten, his guesthouse didn’t make the four-star grade due to the fact that some of his rooms are too small for it. “But I’m the fourth star myself,” he says shrugging with a smile.

This guesthouse is much like a well-loved home, a haven for homesick travellers who are used to creature comforts, and then some. Expect a fully stocked honesty bar, DSTV, books, magazines, complimentary Wi-Fi as well as access to a computer, personalised service and delicious breakfasts. Always on hand to give advice to travellers; rain or shine, Maarten will have a tip on how to spend your day in the Mother City.

Plus, adults can just be. No children under 12-years-old are allowed. So peace and quiet are the norm.

Value for money, personalised service and Maarten’s warm personality, make this Fresnaye guesthouse a must-stay when holidaying in beautiful Cape Town. 

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