Luxury and Style at The Marine Hotel, Hermanus
The seaside town of Hermanus is known globally for its spectacular land-based whale watching. Around September each year, the waters of Walker Bay are filled with Southern Right whale mammas who come to birth their calves on its shallow, sandy sea bed. But aside from that obvious draw card, the town itself is always a pleasure to visit and has become a year-round go-to for local and international guests alike. The Marine Hotel could not be better placed to host guests – not only is its location absolutely unrivalled, sitting atop the rock face with an uninterrupted view of the bay, but it also offers its guests sophisticated comfort that comes from years of hospitality experience.
A Grand Old Lady
The hotel, also known as ‘the Grand Old Lady’, is 121 years old and has been an iconic part of the coastal landscape all these years. Previously, calling a lady ‘old’ could get you into trouble, however, we seem to have finally cottoned on to the fact that ageing gracefully is something to be celebrated, and the hotel has certainly done that.
Having been family owned and operated for many years, it has enjoyed much success and hosted famous guests throughout its history. From the days of hosting dances in its grand ballroom, to now offering a sophisticated stay for travellers from around the globe.
‘… ageing gracefully is something to be celebrated, and the hotel has certainly done that.’
In the nineties, it was bought by the Liz McGrath group and is part of the portfolio that also includes The Cellars-Hohenort and The Plettenberg. The group is underpinned by a philosophy of offering a world away from the ordinary and each of the hotels in the group strives to do just that with unique positioning, beautiful interiors and seamless service.
The Marine Hotel
The hotel itself is a brilliant white beacon that stands out on the coastal rockface and, while thoroughly modernised, it retains some of the old-world charm of its historic past in its architecture and furnishings.
The sea-facing side of the hotel is edged by verdant green lawns that roll out to meet the purpose-built cliff path. The cliff path is a must-do Hermanus activity; it meanders 11km along the coast and allows you to take in the beauty of the area. The area is protected under the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and the walk is well worth it. If you don’t feel like walking, there are benches right outside the hotel that are perfect for taking in the views.
The sea-facing side of the hotel is edged by verdant green lawns that roll out to meet the purpose-built cliff path.
The hotel also benefits from being situated right alongside a tidal pool, so if the idea of an early morning cold water swim grabs you, you can literally roll out of bed and into the sea. If that doesn’t rouse you, coffee on the terrace surely will. The Pavilion is the hotel’s restaurant and is named after the original bathing pavilion in Muizenberg – it even boasts original art-deco light fittings from the old Pavilion itself.
The Sun Lounge, at the hotel’s entrance, is a luxurious bar and lounge area with comfortable seating, the perfect place to sit back and enjoy a cocktail or perhaps your book if you are so inclined. The danger of spaces like this is that they are so comfortable, once you are ensconced you don’t want to leave – just me?
The hotel also offers a fabulous Afternoon Tea here, which I can imagine is utterly fabulous and decadent. I wish we’d had the time to do this but it’s always good to have a reason to come back.
The hotel has 40 rooms in total, ranging from premier suites to luxury doubles with sea views and regular doubles.
Our room was super spacious and plushly decorated in soothing tones of blue. These sapphire tones are carried through in the beautiful sea view from the main window. The waters of the old harbour below almost seemed close enough to run your hand through.
As we had been out wine tasting in the Hemel-en-aarde valley all day, we opted to stay in our room for dinner. There is something utterly decadent about cosying up in robes (which, by the way, were ridiculously soft and snuggly) and diving into a Wagyu burger, served with the best onion rings ever!
Room service is prepared by The Pavilion restaurant and while there is a specific in-room dining menu, you can order exactly what you would have if you were sitting in the restaurant. After a long day of exploring this was the ultimate way to spend the evening.
Breakfast is also served at The Pavilion and an enviable spread is put on. Everything from pastries to smoked salmon, fresh bread, cold meats and cheeses, fruit, muffins, yoghurt and cereals – and that’s just the continental spread! The hot menu is also varied and I was very happy to see a specific carb-free hot breakfast option, not many places do this and I appreciated that thought – it’s details like this that make the difference.
Our stay at The Marine, while short, was utterly relaxing. If we had had more time, we would have booked a treatment at the onsite Spa or taken a dip in the very inviting-looking pool. That being said, we enjoyed a wonderful stay and were impressed with the impeccable service and friendliness of the staff we encountered.
Something that also sets the Liz McGrath group apart from the rest is that they offer pet-friendly accommodation – something that is so rare at fine hotels. Have a look at their pampered pooch amenities if you want to travel with your best furry pal.
The town of Hermanus has plenty to offer in terms of art, shopping, cuisine, wine and nature but if you book in to stay at The Marine, you’ll be forgiven for not wanting to leave its cosy confines. It has everything you need to enjoy a relaxing and restorative stay.
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