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“Heaven on earth” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Birkenhead House & Villa

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Birkenhead House & Villa
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Cnr of 7th Avenue & 11th Street | Voelklip, Hermanus 7200, South Africa   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 9 hotels in Hermanus
Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Heaven on earth”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

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.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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175 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014 via mobile

Beyond our expectations. The staff seem to be on happy pills because they are always smiling and can't do enough for you. The food is excellent my husband is diabetic and they made sure we had sugar free everything, even making a sugar free cake for tea and sugar free bread. The room was airey and bright and really comfy the bathroom large and gorgeous products and fluffy white towels and lots of them. Nearly everything is included all drinks wine food excluding some wines and cigars but all the wines we had were lovely. The views are amazing being on a cliff it can be windy and fresh feeling at times. I can't really recommend this gorgeous place enough and as soon as you walk in you feel right at home. We stayed two nights but I wish it had been longer.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
El Gouna, Egypt
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

Pole position on the cliff tops overlooking the swirling surf of Walker Bay, there is no better place to wallow in the copious ozone of Hermanus. Quite apart from the breathtaking presentation of the property, it is the staff that really make the genuine holiday experience. Nothing is too much trouble, there is always time for a friendly chat and down to the last waiter, there is a genuine personal mantra about the place. Bar a few vintage wines, it is a completely all inclusive experience. Do not think for one moment that they have cut corners. The cuisine was fresh in ideas, original and delicious. The wine and cocktail list was superlative in its generosity. The breakfast on the cliff terrace were spectacular. Our little stay, included the General Manager Shane personally guiding us out into the rip tides and body surfing for the afternoon. What other hotel would or even could offer that ? Other activities included jogging along the stunning cliff tops to Grotto Beach and out to the lagoon as well as a morning white shark and seal watching off Dyer Island in Gaansbai. The suites are all eclectic in shape and size but with an overriding theme of the sea. Turn down included copious candles and of course the roar of the ocean was omnipresent. A few days here, inhaling the special ionic charge of the kelp filled sea spray and the cobwebs of everyday life completely disappear. Advice: Hang around in the hotel and the cliff tops and nearby beaches below, save the retail therapy for Cape Town. Hermanus town for shopping was disappointing. Yes, at first glance this hotel seems expensive but just a few days here is the equivalent of a month elsewhere. So you do the Maths !!!!

Room Tip: For total sea go for rooms 4 and 5. They hang off the cliffs !! My favourite was actually Room 10. H...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

I can't begin to imagine life without having the experience of staying at Birkenhead.

My wife and I stayed at here for 3 nights, in September, for our honeymoon. And let's just say it did not disappoint.

Service: As flawless as can be. Felt like a king the entire time. Friendly and helpful staff. My wife is a big fan of Moscow Mules (who isn't really?) which includes vodka + ginger beer + limes. Problem was they didn't have ginger beer at the hotel. Major problem. Everyone needs some Moscow Mule action on their honeymoon. The hotel quickly went to the town's grocery store to buy the ginger beer and when we returned to the hotel after a day of walking around town, they surprised us with Moscow Mules at the bar, just for us. Classy.

Food/Drink: Every meal at the hotel was fantastic. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, all meals were 5 star. We're talking poached eggs, asian crispy steak, beef sirloin, calamari, spring rolls, smoked salmon, gnoochi, cake, brownies, cookies any food you could possibly image. Perfect. We ended up staying at the hotel for all our meals after the first day as the local restaurants simply couldn't compete with the quality offered at Birkenhead. Regarding drinks, please see Moscow Mule above.

Room/Bed: Large room, huge bathroom, comfy bed, balcony. We were able to whale watch from our balcony, which was such a unique experience. Can't say I've ever done that before. Every night we had champagne, roses, strawberries for our fancy. Dark liquors were always around, for free, which I took up most nights (reminder, this was our honeymoon). Bed was large and very soft. Pillows were actually mini clouds. We did have the hot water stop one afternoon, as compensation, they gave us two free massages. I would go without hot water for weeks to get another one of their outstanding massages.

Overall: The hotel is small and therefore never loses it's feel of charm, romanticism or quaintness. There's a great walk along the water and the cliffs into town. Saw tons of wildlife and even some whales while walking around the hotel's area. There was always an adventure to be found. Great White cage diving is also a must in the area, which Birkenhead helps organize for it's guest. It was probably the most intense moment of my life, sitting in the icy water, in a crude cage, watching 20 foot great whites slam into the boat frantically trying to catch the bait. Just writing this gave me the chills.

Anyways, you can not go to South Africa without going to the Birkenhead House. Take my word for it. Or else you're missing out.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Odessa, Ukraine
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2014

Spend an amazing time at this wonderful hotel. The service there is excellent. The spa treatments like message worse trying and were unforgettable.
And I was truly surprised to see my car being washed and cleaned on the parking spot of the hotel.
It was amazing!!!
I do recommend the stay in this hotel!!!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent, England
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2014

I used to run along the coastal path past this place every morning when I was a backpacker hanging around in Hermanus and wonder what it would be like to actually stay. It looked so iconic perching on the cliff above Voelklip with its gorgeous white sun loungers. Ten years later I returned as a guest with my husband and some friends and I can say it was well worth the wait! We stayed in the villa slightly along from the house/hotel and we all absolutely loved it. The villa is all about space and personal service, like a really high-end catered ski chalet but at the sea-side. The detail that goes into everything is awe inspiring but all done in such a way we almost instantly felt at home. One night served as an appetiser but a longer stay would be more fulfilling. I could wax lyrical about all the aspects of enjoyment but suffice to say that these guys just get it. And the staff get it. Therefore we, as guests, were totally free to enjoy it. Thanks a million for a memorable experience.

Room Tip: Rooms 1 and 3 are the largest. The villa is perfect for groups to enjoy their own space with the ser...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2014 via mobile

We stayed in Birkenhead House for 2 nights in Nov 2013 as part of a tour around Western Cape. We wished we had stayed longer - and we will next time. The personal service was really what we liked best, with every staff member going out of their way to get to know us personally and to look after our every need. The next best thing here was the food, and actually it was a quite a surprise to find that we had full board (we obviously didn't read the small point) and 3 absolutely wonderful meals each day, all inclusive, together with a selection of fine wines. Quality of food and it's presentation was first class.

With the great food and service, it was difficult to see a fault in the hotel, but our room wasn't one of the best in the hotel, so next time we will make sure we get a finer view. We will return!

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Birkenhead House & Villa

Address: Cnr of 7th Avenue & 11th Street | Voelklip, Hermanus 7200, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Overberg District > Hermanus
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Hermanus
#1 Romantic Hotel in Hermanus
#1 Luxury Hotel in Hermanus
#6 Family Hotel in Hermanus
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Birkenhead House & Villa 5*
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

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