This place is very nearly perfect. It is a small "boutique" hotel with just 11 rooms set in an almost impossibly beautiful position on the rocky coastline on the edge of Hermanus above lovely sandy beaches. An hour's stroll along the coastal path takes you into Hermanus itself for a bit of shopping or a beer or coffee in one of the many cafés on the front. Hermanus itself is how one would picture an ideal British seaside town, unspoilt by unsympathetic coastal development and quite chic. A nice touch is that you can pop into The Marine hotel in Hermanus and they will call the Birkenhead to come and pick you up if you don't fancy the walk back.
The staff at Birkenhead a House deserve a special mention. Nothing is too much trouble from the moment you arrive when they rush out to shake your hand and welcome you with a glass of fizz and whisk your luggage to your room. It is an all inclusive resort and there is always someone on hand to grant your every wish. Every guest was treated almost as a friend - you simply couldn't find a more friendly and attentive group - absolutely fantastic.
The food was generally good although a couple of dishes were perhaps not quite up to the standard one would expect of such an establishment. A dish of prawns was over-cooked, perhaps re-heated (although to be fair it was the middle of the afternoon when we arrived and we weren't expecting to be fed) and a deep fried salt and pepper calamari dish was a bit dry. However I'm being picky as we did have some lovely food, particularly the fish and another grilled calamari dish. Puddings were very nice. It was a lovely touch that the chef came out to discuss the menu and ask if you had any questions before the meal, typical of the place. The choice of wine included in the price is extensive and we felt no need to stray onto the wider wine list as the quality was good.
The hotel is set around a very pleasant central courtyard with staggered small infinity pools, loungers and dining tables. The pools (plus the heated one on the terrace above the ocean) were not well used as they are quite small but that's not why we were there. I imagine when it's really hot they are great for cooling off. There is a good gym, library area, a good selection of quality books about South Africa to browse through and a very comfortable seating area looking out onto the fantastic views of the sea and the coastline. The terrace overlooking the coastline is just unbeatable and we had a magical breakfast on our second morning perched above the ocean.
Just one other thing fell short of perfection and again I'm being fussy. My personal taste is for a dark bedroom as the morning light wakes me up and the shutters inside the big windows on our suite were not up to the job. So I woke very early both mornings we were there. Some long curtains inside the shutters would do the trick. Don't let that stop you visiting this wonderful home from home - we'll certainly be back and next time for more than just 2 nights.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Perched on the Hermanus cliffs, the regal Birkenhead House and deluxe adjacent Villa, overlook the whale watching paradise of Walker Bay. Accommodating guests in the utmost luxury, this is the perfect destination for those seeking the pinnacle of seaside living. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Birkenhead House & Villa Hotel Hermanus
- Birkenhead House And Villa