Whether you’re visiting the Western Cape for the first time or looking for a new adventure, Hermanus is a sleepy beach town just a 90-minute drive from Cape Town. Right on the beach with the sound of the ocean singing you to sleep is Birkenhead House, an all-inclusive lodge. I checked in for a few nights to escape the city, before making my way onwards to the Cape Winelands.
Checking In: Birkenhead House
Birkenhead House sits on a cliff overlooking Walker Bay in Hermanus, a sleepy beach town in the Western Cape. There are 11 individually decorated rooms at the house, which was once the holiday home for owners of the Royal Portfolio. Today it is an all-inclusive lodge, popular among safari-goers looking to add a beach escape to their trip.
The house and rooms have been styled by owner Liz Biden and the rooms split across three buildings. The first house is where you will find the dining room and library, as well as a couple of the most desirable ocean-facing rooms. In the middle and the back house are the majority of the rooms, all a short walk within one another.
Checking In: Birkenhead House
After a glorious two-night stay at The Silo Hotel in Cape Town, I rented a car and began the scenic journey to Hermanus. Once there I bypassed the town with excitement, eager to drop my bags and discover the beach from the private access directly from Birkenhead House.
Once I had arrived I was greeted by the staff who quite literally ran to collect my bags and my keys, insisting they park my car while I relax inside with a glass of bubbles to celebrate my arrival from Cape Town.
Checking In: The Luxury Suites
There are four categories of rooms at Birkenhead, ranging from standard to luxury, superior and deluxe superior. The main differences are the locations of the rooms and their proximity to the ocean. I checked in to the luxury suite 9 at the back of house, which was perfect for me to enjoy my own privacy. If you are visiting as a couple I’d recommend requesting one of the front rooms to make the most of the Western Cape sunsets.
Around the House
Birkenhead House is the kind of escape you take your new romance to – it is luxurious and relaxed at the same time, with everything you could ever need being taken care of by the team. Along with three meals daily included in the room rate, guests also enjoy complimentary laundry service, a large library with endless selections to pass those days by the ocean, a full service spa and two pools (one heated).
Hermanus and Beyond
Renowned for being the best whale watching location on earth, Hermanus has become a popular town for retirees. The beaches are some of the cleanest I have seen the world over. I noticed on one of my beach visits a group of locals cleaning up the beach. This level of pride and commitment to maintaining an oasis really makes for a great escape!
Activities mostly centre around water: kayaking, surfing, fishing, hiking and horse riding are a few popular choices. However, the beauty of Hermanus is in the escape itself. Bring a book, perch yourself up on your balcony and kickback. The sounds of the ocean bring more calm than a therapy session!
Prices start at $800 per room full board, ranging to $1280 for the ocean-facing rooms. High season prices are slightly higher. See the website for bookings.