THE MOST SPECTACULAR BOUTIQUE BEACH HOUSE
Situated in an enviable location atop the rugged cliffs of Walker Bay on the mesmerizingly beautiful Cape Coast, Birkenhead House is the epitome of contemporary beach house; modern, stylish and visually stunning. The ambience is laidback, easygoing and fun, with white wicker loungers, ostrich-feather lampshades and fresh flowers teamed with a plunge pool running down the centre of Birkenhead House and an infinity pool out front overlooking the sea.
The friendly staff provides impeccable service and make one feel right at home as seagulls drift by, surfers cut through the breakers, and for several months every year Southern Right whales breach just meters from the shore.
Rugged cliffs, invigorating air and stirring views characterize the charming town of Hermanus. Situated between the Kleinrivier Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean on the Cape Coast, this is the world’s best location for land-based whale watching. Pathways along the cliff edge allow you to explore this wild and beautiful Cape coastline, whilst the beaches themselves are easily accessible. Hermanus is about a two-hour drive southeast from Cape Town and close to the most southerly point in Africa. Hermanus is a popular seaside town with South African vacationers but it still retains an air of the small fishing village it once was. There are lots of established festivals and events throughout the year to keep the town buzzing.
Birkenhead House offers beautifully furnished suites with vistas of either Walker Bay or the towering Kleinrivier mountain range. Each of the eleven opulently appointed suites is thoughtfully and beautifully designed by the owner Liz Biden, with gorgeous antique furniture and original artworks.
At Birkenhead House, world-class cuisine is a matter of course. In true fusion fashion, the food is a subtle mixture of modern African Cuisine, Cape seafood, and traditional French techniques with strong Asian and Italian influences. On offer are homemade breads, ice creams and sorbets, as well as delicacies such as tempura strawberries and fresh local fish and Cape seafood ranging from Marlin, Red Roman and Kabeljou to crayfish and mussels. Only the freshest ingredients are used for lavish meals served in guests choice of setting: overlooking the ocean under the Stars of South Africa; next to the dual level pool; in the glass fronted dining area; or simply enjoy dining in the privacy of your suite. All food is sourced locally, seasonally and organically. Menus and meals can be designed to meet guests’ individual palates and requirements.
From May to December, peak time being August to November, the Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) graces Walker Bay with its massive presence, making Hermanus whale watching a popular activity over this period. August is the height of the birthing season when calves as young as a couple of hours old with their very protective mothers can be seen from the wonderful vantage points at Birkenhead House. These magnificent mammals were threatened by extinction at one stage but granted international protection in 1935. A stay at Birkenhead House will allow the very best views for Hermanus whale watching, making your stay even more memorable.
Aside from whale watching a myriad of activities is possible on both land and sea, in and around Hermanus. The hotel can organize wine tours in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, as well as nature walks in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Walk the five kilometer path into Hermanus along the cliff’s edge, before getting a lift back in time for lunch by the pool. Other activities in the local area include mountain trails and walks, study indigenous birdlife, experience the adventure of deep-sea fishing, play a round of golf and for those who crave a more adrenalin-filled experience; embark on an unforgettable voyage around Dyer Island where shark cage diving is available, other activities for the more active are quad biking, riding, sea kayaking, surfing and scuba diving.
With a medley of massage, aromatherapy and reflexology treatments, there is no more relaxing way to round off a leisurely or active day at Birkenhead House. There are two treatment rooms and a comprehensive treatment menu to choose from.
South Africa is blessed with one of the richest and most diverse coastlines and marine environments on the planet. Extending for nearly 3 500 kilometers between the Mozambique border and Kosi Bay in the east and the Orange River estuary bordering Namibia in the west. The Western Cape coastline offers incredible opportunities for landscape photography. Photograph beautiful seascapes along the scenic drive between Gordon’s Bay and Rooiels and at Betty’s Bay there is an African Penguin colony. In season Hermanus is a world-class destination for whale photography. From lookout point across Walker Bay, even right from Birkenhead House, one can photograph these gentle giants from land. There are also boat rides available that will take photographers as close as 50 meters from the whales.