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Birkenhead House: A Heavenly Hotel in Hermanus

‘Would you like to have breakfast outside, Mr and Mrs Silver?’

‘Will this table do?’

On our first morning at Birkenhead House in Hermanus we were led out to simply the most stunning breakfast setting I’d ever seen. Our table was perched right on the edge of a cliff with a perfect panoramic view of Walker Bay below.

Can you think of a more romantic way to start the day?
Than breakfast over-looking such a gorgeous vista?

After our drive along the Garden Route and trip to Plettenberg Bay, I had planned a brief stopover in the beautiful seaside town of Hermanus before we returned to Cape Town. Hermanus is a small and sleepy town but it is famous for being one of the best places for viewing Southern Right Whales. Sadly we had come out of season for the whales, but I thought Birkenhead House was the perfect place for a little quiet time and relaxation before our final few days in Cape Town and then the excitement of safari.

We had arrived early evening the night before and in the darkness we hadn’t been able to fully appreciate the beauty of Birkenhead House.

Once again breakfast was a small selection; a cold buffet and a few options for a hot meal. I much prefer a few things that have been well thought out and freshly made as we saw in the smaller hotels, than the vast buffets of larger hotels. At Birkenhead House there was a ‘muffin’ of the day, a selection of gorgeous homemade breads and granola pots that were all of beautiful quality.
The interior of the hotel is like a beautiful beach house.
The lounge area is furnished with simple white cotton sofas but enhanced with chandeliers, fresh flowers, artwork and antiques.
While there are traditional touches, the embellishments are kept at a minimum and the place still feels very modern and stylish with light walls and lots of open space and windows. Like La Residence, Birkenhead House is part of the Royal Portfolio of hotels and both are owned and designed by Liz Biden. Indeed, I could see similarities between the two, with Birkenhead House being a much more subtle, earthy version of it’s Winelands sister hotel.

The hotel is arranged around a courtyard with a large central pool…

But Mr S was more keen on the cliff side infinity pool.

Personally, I wasn’t quite so keen to get in as the pool was very cold.

I was just happy to stand at the side and enjoy my sparkling wine! Actually, as Birkenhead House is all inclusive I could drink as much sparkling wine as I wanted.

And enjoy a huge slab of the cake of the day….

…stick my hand in the cookie jar whenever I fancied….

…and just help myself to the bar. Now isn’t that heavenly? Cookies, cake and gin whenever you fancy? Ok, I’m not a big spirits drinker but there were lots of different house wines and a vast choice of spirits included in the room rate.

Birkenhead House is a very small and personal hotel with only 11 suites, each decorated uniquely. Our room was located on the second floor just off the central courtyard.

A gorgeous flight of marble stairs led up to the bedroom….

The interior was beautiful, light, bright and airy with white walls and huge full length windows but with opulent touches such a gilt mirrors, original artwork and a plush headboard. I loved the gentle green colour scheme which felt very natural and calming.
We had a tray of snacks, which we were welcome to nibble from, a fridge full of drinks as well as our own bar!
The bathroom was huge with a beautiful freestanding bath, a his and hers vanity unit, a large shower, and lots of mirrors in which I could take unintentional selfies.
Perhaps best of all we had our own private balcony:
Where we drank white wine and ate crisps before dinner (cos you’re allowed to do that when you’re an adult); while gazing on this incredible view.
Another thing that I loved about this hotel was that it reminded me of Jonah’s, the hotel just outside Sydney where Mr S and I got engaged. Jonah’s was also a beautiful boutique hotel perched on a cliff top with a perfect vantage point for whale watching.
As all meals are included, you really never have to leave this paradise, though there is plenty to do in the local area such a shark cage diving, whale watching and wine-tasting.
It was our relaxation time however, so we had a chilled lunch by the pool.
We kept it light on a hot day and even Mr S chose fish over the hearty lamb dish on the menu.
Our calamari and aubergine starters were lovely, but the main was slightly disappointing with the fish being quite a small portion and a little overcooked.
For dinner, tables are arranged in the main public area and draped with white linen and adorned with fresh flowers and flickering candles.
The dining room is reserved for hotel guests only but a traditional band out on the terrace created a more lively atmosphere. As at breakfast and lunch, the menu is small but the chef was willing to tailor anything to our palates.
We loved the vegetable and meat dishes and the desserts were fantastic but once again I found the fish over-cooked. However, the service was fabulous with our house wine frequently topped up and our water refreshed. Indeed, like the other small, boutique hotels we’d stayed in Birkenhead House was extremely personal with excellent service; we were greeted with bubbly and a gift, the waiters remembered how we liked our coffee in the morning and everyone had a smile on their face.
The soft sofas and twinkly lights of the lounge provided the perfect place to cuddle up for a night cap before we headed up to our gorgeous room.
Sadly we only had two nights, at Birkenhead House before the short hour long drive back to Cape Town, but it’s the kind of place you never want to leave. And on a cold day in London when I sit at my desk, eating my porridge, I’ll think of eating fresh fruit and drinking coffee with that perfect view of the sea at a heavenly hotel in Hermanus…
Birkenhead House
119 11th Street
South Africa