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“luxury worth every penny”
Review of Birkenhead House

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Birkenhead House
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Hermanus
Certificate of Excellence
Scotland
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“luxury worth every penny”
Reviewed 13 November 2011

We have now stayed at Birkenhead three times and it always lives up to expectations.
The atmosphere is just lovely, the setting and accomodation really special and the food excellent.
The all inclusiveness makes for total relaxation .........
The chef made every effort to please us even asking us if we would like something different from the menu. The quality is very high and the service is exceptional both it its professionalism and its genuine warmth.
I was unlucky enough to have an asthma attack when I was there and the staff took everything out my hands oraganising a doctor's appointment taking me there and back and giving us the most lovely dinner in our room that night.
The whales were just out the door , the FernKloof nature reserve a short shuttle away and all in all it's one of our very favourite places in the world.
Thank you Shane and team for another wonderful time

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Miss_Poland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Gerrards Cross, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 October 2011

We stayed for 3 nights as part of our honeymoon and had a fantastic time. The room was amazing and looked just like it does on the website. The food was exceptional and we loved the chef coming out to describe the menu to us each evening. The service was faultless it was always there but never in your face so the balance was just right. Location is just amazing we watched whales breaching and swimming from our sunbeds and didn't even need binoculars they were that close!! We also did a whale watching trip which hotel organised and was well worth it. We didn't bother going into hermanus there was no need when you are at this hotel!!

  • Stayed October 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank danjed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Franschhoek, South Africa
1 review
Reviewed 18 September 2011

Birkenhead!
Thank you for the lovely, caring staff you are.
Thank you for the special menu and catering to the needs of a vegetarian.
We could not have felt more welcome especially with all the personal touches in the room.
One of my favourite quotes were written on a note and put in the room which we discovered after coming back from a fantastic dinner (enjoyed at the hotel).

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NadineJVV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chorley Lancs UK
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2011

Whilst Birkenhead House is listed as a bed and breakfast we were obliged to pay for dinner lunch bed and breakfast in order to stay there. Room rates are priced as per person not per room (something we missed) so ended up booking a room for 8000 Rand per night. For this price we were expecting something pretty special. What we got was a seedy room and en-suite with a dirty bath. There was only one chair between the two of us in the room to sit in if we wanted to read. The bedroom had no heating (it had broken down) on a very cold evening. When we complained about the heating we were told that it was our fault because we had taken a shower and taken all the hot water from the under-floor heating system! This is despite the fact that the under-floor heating was working in the bathroom. This cramped room certainly did not command a 8000 rand price tag. We were expecting so much more from an organisation which owns Royal Malewane and La Residence.
We went down to dinner on what was a cold windy night. Nearly every door in the restaurant was open and as a result a gale was blowing through it. We asked for the doors to be closed and were told “We are having so much fun we haven’t time to close them” – so they stayed open. We had to return to our room for warm outdoor clothing because it was so bitterly cold we could not eat our dinner without it.
At this price we were expecting a spectacular meal. What we got was quite different. My wife started with a soufflé which was leaden and hard and had such a strange flavour she stopped eating it after one mouthfull. I had smoked salmon which had been cured so robustly that its taste persisted through all the other courses, as well as two teeth cleans until the next morning when another teeth clean finally got rid of it. Next we ordered a fillet steak each. We both asked for medium but got very well done. My wife had the greatest difficulty in cutting the steak and I had to abandon eating mine because it was so dry. I could not eat the potatoes because they tasted fishy. Our final course was poached pears with pistachio ice cream. We both sent this back. The ice cream was full of ice crystals toffee chunks and brilliant green colouring and had no flavour whilst the purple pears had absorbed so much cinnamon as to be inedible.
The wine list was very restricted and hardly featured any local wines despite the local vineyards producing some of South Africa’s finest wine.
Despite the fact that our room had a sea view, we insisted that we be moved to another room with heating. We ended up with a much smaller room. The door of the en-suite leads immediately onto steep tiled steps leading down into the bathroom which were extremely dangerous particularly at night. One wall of the room had the entrance and en-suite door in it. All the other walls had badly fitting floor to ceiling windows which faced other buildings. Since a bed could not be placed against any of the walls, a large wall had been built across the room against which the bed had been placed considerably reducing the useful space in the room. This room was costing us around 6500 rand per night. Internet service in the room came and went and was extremely slow –about a minute per page except after midnight for some reason.

The room came with a partial sea view which could best be viewed from the balcony. Unfortunately when standing on the balcony a strange sewage-like smell greeted you which forced you off of the balcony so obvious and unpleasant was it. We had noticed this smell when accessing the stairs to our room and wondered why all the rooms on our floor were left open when unoccupied. Now we had the answer!

Breakfast was another problem. The sausages were of such a gruesome flavour and texture that one mouthful was enough so I never had them again. The bacon was of the cheapest possible cut. During our stay we also encountered stale croissants and soggy bran flakes. The breakfast buffet to say the least was exceptionally poor both in content and presentation (remember we are paying 8000R per night). I complained about the bacon and back bacon was available the next day. Unfortunately it was so overcooked as to be almost inedible. Breakfast was taken with all the doors in the restaurant open and could only be eaten with outdoor clothing on. Could this be because if the doors were closed a smell would pervade the dining room?
By this time we had decided to forego the pleasure of lunch at the Birkenhead even though we paid for it. There was a NW storm passing through which had stopped all whale watching trips so we arrived for dinner suitably attired in our outdoor clothes. Despite the storm the doors were still left open. The chef asked if we had any questions about the menu. We asked where the lamb was from and were told it came from New Zealand. We could not believe it! The Karoo where South Africa’s finest lamb comes from is on the Birkenhead’s doorstep. We berated the chef about this and were told this is what the butcher sent as if she had no say in the matter. Central buying strikes again where cheap is best. Nevertheless we ordered the lamb medium. It came as a well done dried-out rack which could not be cut. We decided never to eat dinner again at the Birkenhead. From that point on we eat at the Marine (where the food is out of this world and the lamb is from Karoo) even though we had paid for our meals. In the end we even gave up on breakfast there prefering Heavan restaurant in the nearby Heaven on Earth wine valley.
Another thing which annoyed me was the endless procession of managerial staff who, often interrupted what I was doing, to introduce themselves without saying what they did. I think the most intrusive in that regard was the general manager (we had asked one of the staff members what he did).
Lastly two days before we left we approached reception and asked that our bill be adjusted to reflect the fact that the room we had was charged at a lower rate than that which we booked. We were told that it would not be a problem. When we were given the bill we had been charged the 8000R rate for all of our stay. It took one hour to sort this out because the people producing the bill were at another location. We ended up with 5 managerial staff trying to sort out the problem. When eventually we got the correct bill we needed a refund but this was not possible as none of the five managers knew how to make a refund the card machine so we had to leave without the several thousand rand we were owed.
From Birkenhead House we moved to suite on the Steenberg Estate near Cape Town. I understand this was rated as the number one hotel in South Africa. There for 4000 rand we got a very large bedroom with en-suite, a large sitting room with two arm chairs and sofa together with another separate toilet. The room was tastefully furnished and had a wonderful mountain view over the golf course.We ate all our meals there and they were outstanding. This confirmed our view that Birkenhead House was a rip off.
I’ve stayed at many high end hotels and eaten at many high end restaurants throughout the world and I rate the Birkenhead as the worst yet.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank kenbod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Somerset West, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 August 2011

Attention to detail and very good service make this a perfect place to stay

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JDvanWyk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nickelsville, Virginia
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2011

If I were to spend time thinking about it I would have to say that this is the most luxurious place we have ever stayed. It wasn't any one thing in particular, but it was the whole package-staff, surroundings, spa services, on and on. Everything was included-they even did our laundry (at no additional charge). I REALLY want to return to Birkenhead and will try their other properties if/when we return to South Africa. It was a truly special hotel!

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sheeplady1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheRoyalPortfolio, Owner at Birkenhead House, responded to this review, 1 August 2011
Thank you so much for your positive comments about Birkenhead House titled 'Unbelievable luxury'.

We are very happy you enjoyed your stay with us in Hermanus, South Africa. The month you visited of February is absolutely lovely and continues to be so into March and April.

Birkenhead House is quite different from our other two properties of; La Residence and Royal Malewane but offers the exact same attention to detail and service philosophy. The luxurious comfort experienced is a characteristic of the Royal Portfolio properties and we very much look forward to welcoming you back.

Best regards,
The Birkenhead House Team,
The Royal Portfolio

Hermanus,
South Africa
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 June 2011

WOW! Words really can't describe just how magical and perfect this place is. The service is outstanding and although it is pricey the all inclusive element of it is amazing and they really encourage you to drink and eat as much as you can... Sipping endless rose by the pool with the most stunning views is unbeatable. We absolutely loved it and still talk about it as one of the best nights we have ever had and it really is one of the nicest places I think we will ever stay. You simply have to stay here!

Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank BristolKit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Birkenhead House

Property: Birkenhead House
Address: Cnr of 7th 11th Street | Voelklip, Hermanus 7200, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Overberg District > Hermanus
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Hermanus
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Hermanus
#1 Romantic Hotel in Hermanus
#2 Family Hotel in Hermanus
#4 Business Hotel in Hermanus
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Birkenhead House 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perched on the Hermanus cliffs, the regal Birkenhead House overlooks 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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