We still remember the Bunny Chow, a bread and curry dish served at SeaFood; and I long to return to The Marine to indulge in another de-stressing massage at the Carchele Spa, one of the best deep tissue massages I’ve had.

Overall Impression What I remember best about The Marine is the afternoon time I enjoyed sipping wine in my water facing suite while watching southern right wales swim by; as well as the hour I spent early the next morning sitting on my travel partner’s terrace watching playful mating whales. Since the whales were swimming close to shore I was able to get a good view of their fins with my binoculars. Although the view of the bay and the whales from the town’s nearby waterside nature trail was outstanding the view from the height of my first floor suite with an extra large window was even better.

The renovated adult oriented (families with children 12 and older were welcome) historic hotel was well situated in the heart of Hermanus, allowing us to walk around the town by just stepping outside the front door of the hotel. At the same time, double paned windows kept town noises muted and thick curtains allowed me to retreat into the privacy of my suite without worrying about prying eyes looking in from the adjacent street, hotel lawns or the walking trail situated between the hotel and the bay.

Our well appointed suites were spacious, handsome and comfortable, making it desirable to spend as much time as we chose within. Remaining indoors was particularly alluring because from my window I could see Walker Bay and the occasional whales in the foreground and Gan’s Bay in the distance. We appreciated the staff’s friendliness and small touches like fresh flowers and fruit in our suites.The two on site restaurants and spa facilities were an added convenience. We still remember the Bunny Chow, a bread and curry dish served at SeaFood; and I long to return to The Marine to indulge in another de-stressing massage at the Carchele Spa, one of the best deep tissue massages I’ve had.

Children Families with children 12 and older were welcome.

Class Of Accommodation Luxury historic small hotel.

Connectivity There was a computer room with two computers with internet access and a printer. There was WiFi access in parts of the hotel. The internet connectivity varied from very low to good WiFi from our suites. Use of the computer room and WiFi service was complimentary for guests.

General Manager Jo Massie

Handicapped Access According to the hotel staff, all common areas including the restaurants were wheelchair accessible and there was a wheelchair friendly bedroom.

Length Of Stay Two nights

Location In the coastal town of Hermanus about two hours drive east of Cape Town.

Owned and managed Liz McGrath, The Collection by Liz McGrath

Pets Allowed No

Size The Marine housed 42 rooms and suites in .54 hectares and had 80 employees. The ground floor of the hotel was 3,760 square meters large while the first floor was 2,800 square meters large when we visited the hotel.

Travel Desk Manager Claudia Barclay

Year Opened-Renovated The original property was built in 1902 by Valentine Beyers and Walter Mcfarlane as a very grand hotel in what was then a fishing village. Four other owners later bought the hotel until eventually hotelier Liz McGrath purchased it in 1997. She dedicated eight months to renovating the hotel. In 2005, the Sun Lounge was renovated while The Pavilion Restaurant was restored in 2008.

Lobby And Common Areas The historic hotel emphasized its old world charm with modern touches. Hot Cocoa handled the interior design of the common areas and Jeannine Louw designed the hotel rooms. From our table at The Pavilion, for breakfast and dinner, we could see the bay. We loved the Sun Lounge, a relaxing and elegant area across from the reception desk filled with comfortable furniture and a winning view of the landscaped lawns and the bay beyond. Our single favorite art piece was Umkhitha, a Xhosa name that means graceful and full of dignity (chosen by The Marine staff) for a striking photo of a Cape mountain zebra, the smallest of the extant zebras that used to inhabit the mountain range areas of the southern Cape. Today, most of the Cape mountain zebras that remain are in the Mountain Zebra National Park. The photo hung in a prominent place in the lounge.

Bathrooms In Suite 208, between the television and the decorative fireplace double frosted glass and wood doors led to a white and beige bathroom. Across the room from the entrance a large window drew my sight. It provided a lovely view of the area immediately in front of the hotel and Walker Bay. To the left of the entrance there were twin sinks with a partially mirrored wall. Across the sinks on the opposite side of the bathroom there was a shower with a glass door and next to it closer to the window there was a bathtub. A towel covered bench occupied the space next to the window and a water closet took up the corner.

In Suite 207, the bathroom was on the far side of the bedroom. A hallway divided the bathroom into two nearly equally sized halves. To the left there was a full bathroom with a sink, toilet and bathtub. On the other side, there was an identical area with a extra wide shower with glass doors in lieu of the bath tub.

Suites Our first floor suites, 207 and 208, were spacious and appointed for comfort and beauty. Each of our suites had distinctive décor, its own color theme and a slightly different layout. Located at the end of the hall as we reached the top floor after climbing a flight of stairs (there was no elevator), Suite 208 occupied the corner of the building, facing Walker Bay and the adjacent street on one side. From the hotel hallway double doors led to an inner suite hallway which in turn led to a small dining area, with a wood table and two armless chairs, followed by a sitting area and a separate bedroom on the side. The suite had a square patterned green and beige carpet, eggshell colored walls, high ceilings, wood furniture and a yellow and gold color theme. A wood cabinet occupied the space behind the dining table. Several wood tables were scattered around the dining and adjacent living area. A comfortable golden yellow cloth love seat in the center of the living area facing a large bay window quickly became my favorite place in the suite. Next to it there was a glass covered dresser with a lamp and rectangular framed mirror on the wall above it.

In the living area, there were two striped yellow and hunter green cloth armchairs against the wall, facing a wood coffee table and a cabinet housing a television and DVD player. The attraction of the whales past my window was such I only turned the television on briefly to check the weather forecast. Four large windows provided views of the bay, adjacent street, neighboring buildings and the part of the town nearest to the hotel. To add to the décor framed floral prints of different sizes hung on the walls in the living area. Gold silk double curtains covered the windows (a thin white curtain let in light while providing privacy during the day while a thick gold curtain insulated the room from the cold and early morning light.). Although there were some stains on the carpet in the bedroom, the suite was clean and a pleasant place to be in for long stretches of time.

The sleeping area of the suite, square and windowless, was elegant and an inviting room for slumber. There was wall-to-wall khaki color carpeting and floor-to-ceiling mirrors on either side of a wall. Two small mattresses had been combined and set against a headboard to make the bed which was framed by identical wood chest drawer night tables. A chest was at the foot of the bed. A vanity corner with a wood table, mirror and stool was set against the rear facing the wall and away from the entrance of the room. A large double sided closet with shelves and hanging space took up part of the room. Next to the closet there was a small Sonic flat screen television and across from it a decorative fireplace.

Underfloor heating and individual heating and air conditioning units allowed me to regulate the room temperature. The staff at the Cellars-Hohenort, The Marine’s sister property, had shared my preferences with The Marine staff after our stay there and they had made the room temperature toasty for my arrival, making me especially comfortable given the chilly outdoor weather.

Suite 207, a first floor suite decorated in shades of royal blue, had the distinction of a balcony, a desirable feature in the hotel. The entrance led to a short hallway and the hallway let to a sitting room furnished with a pretty blue love seat, a wood table, two armchairs and beige curtains. There was also a television and DVD player in the corner. Past the television, double doors led to an open balcony above the parking lot with a view of the bay, the street that passed by the hotel entrance and the adjacent neighborhood. There was ample space to linger and a metal table and two chairs where we sat while whale watching in the chilly and sunny morning.

The bedroom had blue and beige flower print curtains and a matching bedspread. The bed was composed of two mattresses set together against a wrought iron head board between matching night tables. On the other side of the room, there was additional furniture, a glass top wood table with a framed mirror above it and a cushy stool set against the wall. Across from the bed, there were two armchairs set against the wall and a second flat screen Sonic television. A large framed mirror hung on the wall next to the window. Plant prints and another framed mirror hung on the walls of the sitting area. Two built-in closets in the suite provided ample storage space, one with three doors in the sitting area and a second one with four doors in the bedroom.

Food And Restaurants The Pavilion at The Marine Hermanus, distinctive immediately thanks to its white and black décor, was the hotel’s gourmet focus. SeaFood, our favorite, was a more casual restaurant near the hotel entrance. During our stay we sampled the cuisine at both venues which were under the close supervision of Executive chef Peter Tempelhof. At The Pavilion, we had a six course tasting menu featuring items from the regular menu and a wine pairing with regional and local wines. The friendly and attentive staff, tasty dishes and a relaxed atmosphere made for a pleasant dinner. Chef Loran Livesey and Sommelier Michelle Michaels were responsible for the menu and wine pairing.

Tasting Menu: Tian of Prawn and Avocado Prawn Mousseline, Gazpacho, Ink Caviar (a favorite); Terrine of Chicken and Quail Red Onion Marmalade, Truffled Green Bean and Hazelnut Salad Toasted Brioche; Wild Mushroom Consomme Duck Ravioli and Asian Salad; Oven Roasted Loin of Springbok; Baked Lindt Chocolate Fondant Candied Orange Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate Mousse, Almond Snap; and Pear “Pain Perdue” Caramel Ice Cream, Ginger Bavarois, Brandy Tuille (a favorite).

Amenities There were cotton bathrobes, house toiletries (shampoo, bath gel, bath salts, body lotion, shower cap, cotton swabs), complimentary fruit, fresh flowers and a welcome bottle of wine in our suites when we arrived.

Facilities There were two restaurants, bar, lounge, spa, lawn that doubled as a helipad, and a courtyard enclosed swimming pool.

Fitness Center And Spa The Carchele Spa was a popular facility, especially in the afternoon. When I first tried to book an appointment the spa was full. It was only thanks to a cancellation that I was able to get a massage. The 115 square meter spa had five treatment rooms and five employees. The spa manager was one of the best deep tissue therapists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

Pool The courtyard swimming pool next to The Pavilion was 11.5 meters long by 5 meters wide and 1.4 meters deep. There were lounge chairs in the pool area.

Other The non smoking hotel had been a Relais and Chateax member since 2000. Its environmentally friendly policies included: recycling paper, glass, and cooking oil; using eco friendly cleaning products in the kitchens and for housekeeping; a wormery in garden; solar powered swimming pool heating; use of energy saving lightbulbs; water saving laundry cleaning; use of gas fireplaces (water saving); and planting of indigenous species to save water and protect the environment. The only slight disappointment was the strong smell of smoke and food in the hallway near the entrance to our suites.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Review October 2009

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photographs by Gary Cox

Service Our suites were serviced twice daily. The staff were friendly and very efficient in the well run facility.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Marine Drive
    • PO Box 9
    • Hermanus 7200
    • South Africa
  • Phone:
    • +27 28 313 1000
  • Fax:
    • + 27 28 313 0160
  • Website:
  • Email: