Nestled in the coastal town of Hermanus, Birkenhead House sits atop a cliff overlooking Walker Bay with two peaceful coves on either side of it.
In a part of South Africa that is famed for its world-class views, Birkenhead House may truly be able to claim that they have the very best.
From their poolside balcony, it almost appears as though the property stretches into the ocean itself, waves crashing against its rocky shoreline, a burning fireplace and an endless supply of red wine adding warmth to the otherwise crisp coastal air.
Between June and December every year, thousands flock to Hermanus for whale season, when Southern Right Whales flood the area's bays in order to mate and calve. Due to the fact the entire city is elevated on a cliff, Hermanus boasts some of the best land-based whale watching in the world.
From Birkenhead House, whales can be spotted at any time of the day from the intimate dining area, fire-lit living room, poolside balcony, or any of their unfailingly beautiful ocean-view rooms. With unending bubbly on hand, the property personifies luxury, but combines this with a laid-back, cozy atmosphere, and the opportunity to experience whales as most never have before.
In fact, Birkenhead House (a member of the renowned Royal Portfolio Collection), offers something so unique that it would be difficult to replicate anywhere else in the world.
Exuding personal attention to detail and tailored world-class service, the property has just 11 suites, each individually decorated by Owner Liz Biden. Known for her palatial bathrooms, each en-suite boasts a stand-alone bath, walk-in shower, heated flooring and beautiful extras such as his-and-her basins and bathrobes. The rooms themselves are extraordinary, and include a king-size bed, well-stocked mini-bar, sitting area, and alluring views.
All meals are included in one's stay at Birkenhead and are served in their ocean front dining area (though room service can be arranged). Breakfast is a combination of a variety of cold meats, cheeses, fruits, and pastries, and a hot menu that can be ordered from. Their fruit parfaits are a work of art.
Dinner is a multiple-course affair and the menu changes daily. Chef Ziyaad does a wonderful job of incorporating local and international flavors, and specializes in creative and fresh coastal cuisine. Mussels are collected straight from the rocks beneath the property, and guests are welcome to join staff in their foraging where they will learn how only the best mussels are collected.
Birkenhead House has a small, yet luxurious on-site spa, which boasts an extensive treatment menu at surprisingly affordable rates. If you're looking for an option that encapsulates local products and techniques, try the Khoi-Khoi Escape Back and Neck Massage or the Calabash Foot Treatment.
Things to Do
While it may be tempting to spend your entire stay on the property, Birkenhead House is located in an area teeming with outdoor activities.
Here are just a few of the best things to do in and around Hermanus:
- Stroll into Hermanus via its famed cliff-walk, taking in the views and spotting whales along the way.
- Join a sea-based whale watching tour. Birkenhead House is happy to assist with bookings and can recommend a tour-provider.
- Get the adrenaline pumping and go Great White Shark Cage Diving! Hermanus is located just 40-minutes away from Gansbaai, the shark diving capital of the world. Birkenhead House partners with a company that places emphasis on marine conservation and sustainability, ensuring that your experience will have a minimum impact on the environment.
- Go wine tasting in the nearby Hemel en Aarde (Heaven and Earth) Valley.
- Browse the quaint shops, art galleries and cafes in Hermanus.
Birkenhead House operates on a full-board basis, meaning that all meals, hot and cold beverages, spirits, cocktails and house wines are included in their rates. Uncapped wifi, laundry, and a shuttle service to and from town are also free of charge.
Little touches such as sparkling wine upon arrival, turn-down service in the evenings, and staff who are happy to assist with external bookings and reservations, distinguish this property as world-class.
Reserve wines, spa treatments and day-tours / excursions are excluded and will be added as an additional expense on your account.
Travel tip shared by Jenna Becker for TravelDudes.
Travel Dudes was hosted by Birkenhead House for two nights. We maintain full editorial control of the content published on this site.