We stayed in the Marine for 3 days at the end of July during our Eastern Cape holiday. The hotel boasts the prime position in Hermanus on the cliff overlooking the bay with fantastic views. Initially we thought the area beyond the Hotel garden also belonged to the hotel but it is in fact a public area and incorporates part of the “cliff walk” so you do get many walkers and dogs playing around in front of your room.
Hermanus is sold as the “land based Whale watching capital of the world”! It didn’t disappoint! However despite it being the beginning of the whale watching (breeding) season the hotel was very quiet during our stay presumably due to the fact it is the winter in South Africa. Although saying that the weather during our stay was 20+ degrees and short sleeve shirts. Hermanus is clearly very much a summer holiday resort for the local Africans from Cape Town and Jo’burg and the shops and restaurants supported this. I suspect it gets very busy come December and January although the whales have probably gone by then. I think we preferred this quieter time and the amazing chance to see the whales. These appeared from the outset and put on a continual show during our stay, some close to shore and some far out to sea. One morning we were even entertained by a pod of around 100 dolphins playing “follow the leader” just off shore and going right across the bay.
Reception staff and in fact all staff in general, were very welcoming as well as helpful with information about the area. The first room we where shown wasn’t really suitable but we were quickly moved, without any fuss, to a more suitable room after we requested one with two separate rooms rather than “areas” for our daughter’s bed. The new room also had a balcony one of only two in the hotel I believe. We were very glad we did this as the sea views are a must and the downstairs outlook was not nearly as good. Our suite was very comfortable with attractive if somewhat chintzy décor however some of the fittings such as the wardrobe door did need some attention. A heavy storm wind one night did make us feel rather as if we were resident in a creepy castle with the wind rattling the windows and creaking the doors! Bathroom was large and has separate shower and bath as well as a lovely view when sitting on the loo!
In summary I would say the Hotel could be described as like a genteel, old school, British seaside hotel but mixed with the usual Relaix & Chateaux refinements. Comparisons could certainly be drawn with its sister property in Dorset at Summer Lodge.
Breakfast is taken in the ground floor restaurant and was a small buffet with a cooked food order menu. We rather enjoyed having heart shaped waffles and ice cream for breakfast! We never ate dinner in the hotel mainly as the seafood restaurant was being renovated and this would have been our choice. The lounge bar is lovely with huge comfy sofas and afternoon tea here would have been pleasant. Late night hot chocolate with whale shaped shortbread made a nice end to the day.
There were many nice restaurants in Hermanus and we particularly enjoyed Coco’s for the atmosphere and views (simple good food, entertainment some nights and a fabulous view) and Burgundy for lunch (outdoor on the front, with blankets, again great atmosphere and good food) These are all in easy walking distance of the hotel as is the local shopping mall for any missing essentials.
There is a spa and an outdoor pool which looked nice but we did not explore these. We probably did not get the full benefit of the Marine experience due to it being so quiet but then this was more than compensated for by the wonderful whale watching opportunities from our windows which would not have been there in the summer when the whales go south. Watch out too for the cute ‘dassies’ on the rocks and lawns.
We would recommend this hotel and will certainly return here when we next come to South Africa.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Marine is one of the southern hemisphere's most spectacular seaside Relais & Chateaux properties. Perched on the cliffs, overlooking Hermanus's Walker Bay, The Marine boasts 40 individually decorated bedrooms and suites. This unforgettable property overlooks South Africa's most pristine whale sanctuary, and it is just a stone's throw from one of the greatest densities of the endangered Great White Shark, and selection of fynbos species in the Cape. The Marine offers guests the unique opportunity to experience the finest land-based whale watching in the world. From June to September guests are able to view these majestic creatures from the comfort of their beautiful sea-facing bedroom. The attention to detail is apparent in every aspect of this remarkable owner managed property - from the personal service to the exceptional cuisine which is overseen by The Collection by Liz McGrath's Grand Chef, Peter Tempelhoff, the perfect-for-sundowners Sun Lounge and the in-house Carchele Beauty Spa. Each piece of The Marine story adds another element to an unforgettable stay. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Marine Hermanus Hotel Hermanus
- The Marine Hotel Hermanus