The Marine: Our full report
The Marine is a stylish hotel, perched on the cliffs overlooking Walker Bay and just a two-minute walk from ...... the centre of Hermanus. It is a beautiful seaside spot, especially good for land-based whale watching between about June and November.
With its superb location, manicured lawns and stylish accommodation, The Marine is a comfortable and relaxing base, part of the luxury Liz McGrath Collection.
Spread across the ground and first floors of the hotel are 40 rooms and suites, divided into different categories based on their size and location within the hotel. As there is no lift here, elderly guests or those with mobility problems may find the ground-floor rooms best suited to them.
The décor in the rooms is stylish and understated, some with cream and soft sandy colours and others with cream, greens or soft blue. All feature en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning, underfloor heating, satellite TV, direct-dial phone, electronic safes, a welcome bottle of wine, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a minibar, hot-water bottles in the beds in winter and a complimentary newspaper.
- The standard rooms have mountain views or partial sea views and some have a private balcony/patio. A few of these rooms have inter-leading doors, so they work well for families.
- The luxury rooms with sea view are bigger than the standard rooms and have a comfortable seating area. Their en-suite bathrooms have separate showers and a bath. Some of these rooms are sea facing or partially sea facing and others overlook the pool towards the Overberg Mountains. Three of the sea-facing rooms have balconies or patios.
- Ten premier suites all have sea views and a separate sitting room with a sofa and comfy chairs, as well as a flat-screen TV and a DVD player. The spacious bedroom has a large bed to one end, while to the other are two double wardrobes, some chairs and a vanity table. For families travelling with young children, extra beds may be added to this room type on request, at an additional cost. Two of the suites have balconies, and two have working fireplaces/log burning stoves. At the heart of the hotel is the welcoming Sun Lounge and bar, where comfortable rattan and softly upholstered sofas and armchairs are arranged to create separate seating areas. The décor is relaxed and sophisticated in beiges, creams and pastel colours; there is a large warming fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows let in lots of light. This is a great place to relax and enjoy a snack, a drink or afternoon tea while enjoying the cliff-top sea views and indulging in a spot of whale watching in the bay below (in season). There is also a veranda with tables and seating – ideal for hot summer days.
There are two restaurants at The Marine: The Pavilion and the new Origins. The Pavilion, where breakfast is served daily, embodies understated elegance. Reminiscent of the 1920s, it has black-and-white tiled floors and black-and-white décor to match. The beautiful ceiling and wall lamps are originally from the bathing pavilion at Muizenberg, Cape Town, and the wall at the back is a floor-to-ceiling ‘floating cellar’ with a wide selection of South African wines. Big arched windows afford views of the cliffs and the sea beyond.
The ever popular SeaFood at The Marine was transformed shortly after our last visit in March 2016 into the new Origins Restaurant. The room is contemporary in style, divided by a glass wall panel, with pots in bold graphic designs, black-and-white photographs and glass sculptures. We gather that it offers relaxed fine dining in a modern, kitchen-focused restaurant, with the emphasis on natural food and wines.
Not far from the reception desk, where guests are met by incredibly helpful and welcoming staff, is a good boutique selling clothing, jewellery, ceramics and curios. There is also an internet lounge and a travel desk where day tours can be arranged. Staff here are also happy to reconfirm flights and other arrangements.
The corridors are lined with old black-and-white photos of Hermanus and of the Marine Hotel when it first opened nearly a hundred years ago. Outside, in a small courtyard garden, is a solar-heated salt-water swimming pool, as well as the Carchele health and beauty spa, with five treatment rooms and a steam room.
An attraction for many guests is the hotel's own tidal pool; set among the rocks on the beach below the hotel, it’s a fantastic spot to see whales close up. There are toilets and an outdoor shower there, and the hotel can supply you with towels and a picnic.
Between about June/July and October/November, Hermanus is world renowned for whale watching, when southern right whales move up from Antarctica and come into Walker Bay to calve. Many people spend hours on the cliff tops here watching the whales just off the coast as they come in close to shore, while others board boats and head out to take a closer look at these magnificent creatures.
Humpback whales also pass through between May and December and the smaller Bryde’s whale is present year round (though harder to spot).
Hermanus offers plenty of other activities, too. As well as some great beaches, there are lovely cliff-top walks right on your doorstep at The Marine, with several botanical hiking trails in the surrounding area, which is covered with fynbos (a distinctive type of vegetation found only in this region). Lesser known is the town’s own wine route, which has some good wineries, some with a restaurant where you can stop for a delicious lunch. Horseriding, quadbiking and kayaking can also be arranged from the hotel. (NB: It's essential that you read the quadbike warning in the Health & Safety section below for our comments on insurance issues regarding this activity.)
Further afield, the Marine combines well with its two sister properties, The Cellars Hohenort in Cape Town and The Plettenberg in Plettenberg Bay.
The Marine is a luxurious, elegant yet unpretentious five-star hotel set in a beautiful seafront location with very friendly staff. It makes an excellent base from which to explore Hermanus and the surrounding area.
Country manager: South Africa
- Hermanus, South Africa
- Ideal length of stay
- 2 to 3 nights to explore the Hermanus area.
- The Marine sits on a cliff top over looking Walker Bay within walking distance of the centre of Hermanus.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- Breakfast is served in The Pavilion restaurant between 7.00am and 10.30am. On our most recent visit, in March 2016, we enjoyed a grand breakfast which was beautifully laid out on a long table with a selection of cereals, breads, pastries, cold meat, fruit, local cheeses, yoghurt and fruit juice. A choice of à la carte hot breakfasts was also available to order from friendly waiting staff.
Lunch and dinner are both served in the Origins Restaurant, which is open for lunch 12.00–2.30pm, and for dinner 7.00–9.30pm. As this was not open on our last visit we have yet to sample the food here, but we did eat at the old SeaFood restaurant and if the standard there is anything to go by, Origins will be great. We enjoyed exquisite tempura tiger prawns with egg fried rice, seared pak choy and chilli-soy dressing.
The menu at Origins ranges from tapas to full main meals, and we look forward to sampling the food on our next visit.
- Beach holidays
- With a great Blue Flag beach and quieter, secluded beaches in and around Hermanus, The Marine is a good base for a beach break in South Africa during the summer months of November to March.
- See ideas for Beach holidays
- Wildlife safaris
- Perched on the cliff top overlooking Walker Bay in Hermanus, where southern right whales come to breed between July and October, The Marine is the perfect base for whale watching in South Africa.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- From fresh seafood, fine wines and an impeccable dining atmosphere, to browsing through exquisite jewellery at the hotel’s boutique and relaxing in luxuriously appointed and individually decorated rooms; the attention to detail at the Marine is apparent in every aspect.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are welcome.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions.
- Special activities & services
- Children are given a small gift on arrival and are provided with their own slippers and bathrobe. There are DVDs to borrow and a Disney channel on the TV. The hotel also has a good children’s menu, and beach equipment such as buckets and spades.
Babysitting is available on request. This is either outsourced or provided by a member of staff at about ZAR100 an hour (about £6) and must be paid direct to the childminder.
- Cots and highchairs are available. Extra beds can be added in the premier suites, and some of the standard rooms have inter-leading doors, good for families travelling with children.
- Generally recommended for children
- On our last visit with a four-year-old, The Marine catered well to her needs, and the staff were particularly child-friendly. However the atmosphere felt quite adult and she was the only child in the hotel at the time of our stay. This was not a problem for us and we had a great stay here, but if your child likes to run around and make a lot of noise, this may not be the best place for you.
- Younger children will need supervision at the rock pool.
- Each bedroom has a direct-dial telephone and free WiFi access. There is no WiFi in the main areas, but the hotel has a 24-hour internet lounge, with a couple of computers for guests to use free of charge.
The area has good cellphone reception.
- TV & radio
- The rooms are all fitted with 18-channel satellite TVs.
- Water supply
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There are doctors and a hospital in Hermanus.
Quadbike warning: Quadbiking is sometimes available as an activity from The Marine. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it's vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quadbike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings; check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There is a 24-hour security guard at the entrance gate as well as safe and secure parking.
- Fire safety
- Fire alarm and smoke detector systems are fitted throughout the hotel and fire extinguishers are strategically dotted around the hotel.
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- A full same-day laundry service is available at an extra charge provided that laundry is handed in by 8.30am. A valet and shoe cleaning service is also available between 8.00am and 10.00pm.
- Each of the rooms is fitted with an electronic safe.
The hotel offers a currency-exchange service for small amounts of money but charges a 20% handling fee. There are many banks, ATMs and foreign exchange bureaux in Hermanus.
- Accepted payment on location
- Diners, Amex, Visa and Mastercard are accepted methods of payment as well as South African rand in cash.
Other lodges in Hermanus
Alternative places to stay in this same area.