Experience Africa > Boutique Hotels > Birkenhead House  
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Birkenhead House, Hermanus, South Africa
         
 
Sited on a cliff-top vantage point, Birkenhead House has commanding views of two sandy enclaves of the famed whale-watching bay of Hermanus. Birkenhead House (and its adjacent Villa) is a luxurious boutique hotel only one and a half hour’s drive along the coast from Cape Town. The optimal time to visit is during the whale watching season from June to Novebmer and particularly during the Whale Festival in the second half of September. Southern Right Whales and their calves come close to shore in Hermanus and can be seen immediately below the hotel and from cliff paths.
 

The understated architecture and decor (designed by owner Liz Biden with Capetonian interior designer Ralph Krall) is one of solid cream stone steps at the entrance, pillars with expansive lantern-lit terraces of wicker furniture throughout and African motifs of ostrich-feather lampshades. Freshly-cut roses adorn the rooms. The central plunge pool dominates the design of Birkenhead House coupled with an infinity rim-flow pool overlooking the sea. The hotel caters for honeymooners, especially with their Indian Ocean-view Honeymoon Suite strewn with rose petals, a Victorian bathtub and gilt antique French bed.

 

The eleven rooms and suites are individually decorated, some with an Oriental theme of Chinese yellow-silk chairs and black lacquer wardrobes, while others have four-poster beds or sunken marble baths and inviting balconies with mountain views.

 
 

The exclusive Birkenhead Villa has five rooms and suites suitable for a whole family, with the services of a chef, private pool and garden. The elevated position from the verandah gives superb views of the beaches below and a sense of private overview. The service ethos is attentive yet unobtrusive.


Facilities include an inviting spa with two scented Lavender and Cinnamon Rooms offering massages and yoga. Candlelit contemporary African dining is outstanding at Birkenhead House and daily menus feature locally caught marlin, Red Roman, mussels and crayfish cooked with French, Italian and Thai influences. Meals are served on the broad patio overlooking the sea, in the glass-fronted dining area, in courtyards or in rooms for a touch of exclusive privacy.

In terms of activities in and around Hermanus other than whale and dolphin watching, scuba diving and shark cage diving are popular watersports. The celebrated centre of this is Dyer Island’s ‘shark alley’ at nearby Gansbaai (see H.M. S. Birkenhead story below). Otherwise, one can deep-sea fish, sea-kayak, surf, paraglide, play golf, quad-bike or enjoy a winelands wine-tasting tour. Mountain trails afford birdwatching opportunities. The two bathing beaches, Voelklip (Afrikaans for ‘bird rock’) and Nanny’s or Kamma Bay are complemented by the Blue Flag Grotto Beach reached via an attractive cliff-top path.

Interestingly, Birkenhead House is named after the ill-fated Royal Navy frigate shipwrecked in 1852 two miles from shore at Danger Point near Gansbaai. This disaster entered both British and South African maritime folklore as giving rise to the ‘Birkenhead Drill’ of gallantry under extreme circumstances and of the ‘women and children first’ protocol. Not one woman or child perished; yet of 643 aboard, only 193 survived. Of the dead, the majority shared the same fate as the jettisoned horses as reported in eye-witness testimony: being taken by hundreds of circling great white sharks.

 
Bedroom Details
 
Name
View
Single Beds
Double Beds
Air Con
Fan
En Suite
TV
Honey Suckle Suite
Ocean
King
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
Thye Tang Suite
Ocean
Double
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
Frangipani Suite
Ocean
Queen
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
The Disa Suite
Ocean
Queen
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen

Tibetan Suite

Ocean
King
Yes
Yes
Yes
Flatscreen
The Hugenot Suite
Ocean & Mountain
King
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
Hibiscus Suite
Ocean
2 - 3/4 beds
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
Chambre Bleu Suite
Ocean & Mountain
King
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
The Armani Suite
Ocean
King
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
Nomatemba Suite
Ocean & Mountain
King
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
The Maharani Suite
Mountain
King
Yes
No
Yes
Flatscreen
 
Facility Details
 
 
 
Pool
Yes
View
Mountain & Ocean
Gym
No
Room Service
24 Hr
Families
Yes
Conferencing
No
       
Special Events
Yes
  Dining  
    Birkenhead House Restaurant  
Self Catering Apartments
No
     
 
       
Boutique Shops
No
     
 
       
Spa and Fitness
Yes
     
Sport and Activities
   
Jacuzzi
No
  Whale Watching  
Shark Cage Diving  
    Spa Treatments
Internet Access
No
  Mountain Hiking
Study indigenous birdlife
    Visit local wine farms
In Room Safe
No
  Golf
Yoga
    Bike ride
In Room Telephone
No
   
 
     
Mini Bar
No
   
 


 
See links below for other Boutique Hotel Accommodation
 

Birkenhead House | Ellerman House | La Residence | Les Cascades
North Island | POD | Taj Exotica | The Saxon


 
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