Whether you’re visiting the Western Cape for the first time or looking for a new adventure to add under your belt, Hermanus is a sleepy beach town just 90 minutes drive from Cape Town but manages to feel a world away from the hustle and bustle. I checked in to the leading hotel in the area, Birkenhead House, for a full resort report on this seaside home away from home.
Checking In: Birkenhead House
Birkenhead House sits on a cliff overlooking Walker Bay in Hermanus, the sleepy beach town that lies just a 90 minute drive along the coast from Cape Town. There are 11 individually decorated rooms at the house, which was once the holiday home for owners of the Royal Portfolio and has now extended to become the leading luxury hotel in the town of Hermanus.
The house and rooms have been styled by owner Liz Biden and the rooms split across three buildings, the first of which is home to the dining room and library, as well as a couple of the most desirable ocean-facing rooms.
Checking In: Birkenhead House
After a glorious two-night stay at The Silo Hotel in Cape Town, I rented a car and began the scenic journey to Hermanus. Once there I bypassed the town with excitement, eager to drop my bags and discover the beach from the private access directly from Birkenhead House.
Once I had arrived I was greeted by the staff who quite literally ran to collect my bags and my keys, insisting they park my car while I relax inside with a glass of bubbles to celebrate my arrival from Cape Town.
Checking In: The Luxury Suites
There are four categories of rooms at Birkenhead, ranging from standard to luxury, superior and deluxe superior. The main differences are the enviable location of the deluxe superior rooms that face the ocean at the front of the house, while the superior rooms are the next in line with features such as double balconies and better sea views.
I checked in to the luxury suite 9 at the back of house, which was perfect for me to enjoy the privacy of being at the back of the property, only surfacing to the front of the house for beach runs, breakfasts, lunches and dinners (all meals are included on a full board basis).
Around the House
Birkenhead House is the kind of escape you take your new romance to – it is luxurious and relaxed at the same time, with everything you could ever need being taken care of by the team. Along with three meals daily included in the room rate, guests also enjoy complimentary laundry service, a large library with endless selections to pass those days by the ocean, a full service spa and two pools (one heated).
Hermanus and Beyond
Renowned for being the best whale watching location on earth, Hermanus has become a popular town for retirees and families looking for a much more relaxed seaside environment. The beaches are some of the cleanest I have seen the world over, a task taken on by locals to consistently clean the beaches on group clean up days.
Activities mostly centre around water: kayaking, surfing, fishing, hiking and horse riding are a few popular choices. However the beauty of Hermanus if you find yourself visiting for just a few days is to relax entirely, start or finish a book you’ve always wanted to read and spend your days listening to the waves as time passes with the tide.
Prices start at $800 per room full board, ranging to $1280 for the ocean-facing rooms. High season prices are slightly higher. See the website for bookings.