The Marine

The Marine: Our full report

40 rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 5 reviews
Suitable for all ages but best for 8+.
All year

The Marine is a stylish hotel, perched on the cliffs overlooking Walker Bay and is just a two-minute walk from the centre of Hermanus. It is part of the luxury Liz McGrath Collection - and is a beautiful seaside spot, especially good for land based whale watching between the months of June and November.

With its superb location, manicured lawns and stylish accommodation, The Marine is a comfortable and relaxing base from where you can explore Hermanus and the surrounding area.

There are 40 rooms at the Marine Hotel, divided into different categories - based on their size and location within the hotel. All the rooms, irrespective of their category, 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 décor in each room is stylish and understated, some with cream and soft sandy colours and others with cream, greens or soft blue.

  • 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 which work well for families.
  • The luxury rooms with sea-view are bigger than the standard rooms and have a comfortable seating area. The 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.
  • The 10 premier suites all have sea views and a separate sitting room with 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 and to the other two double wardrobes, some sitting chairs and a vanity table. Due to the size of the bedrooms, extra beds may be added to this room type only on request, at an additional cost, for families travelling with young children. Two of the suites have balconies, and two have working fireplaces/log burning stoves.
  • The largest suite is the David Rawdon Suite named after the previous owner of the Marine. It is built over two levels, with the lounge downstairs, with beautiful antique furniture and a large bay window with beautiful sea views. Upstairs is a loft-style bedroom with views looking out of a porthole window to the sea.

The bedrooms at The Marine are located on the ground floor as well as the first floor. As there is no lift here, elderly guests or those who mobility problems may find the ground floor rooms are best suited to them.

The welcoming Sun Lounge is the heat of the hotel, where comfortable rattan and softly upholstered sofas and armchairs are arranged to create separate seating areas. Here you will also find the bar. The décor is relaxed and sophisticated in beiges, creams and pastel colours; there is a large warming fireplace and floor to ceiling windows letting in lots of light. This is a great place to relax and enjoy a snack, drink or afternoon tea while enjoying the cliff top sea views and whales in the bay below (in season). There is also a verandah with tables and seating – ideal for hot summer days.

There are two restaurants at The Marine: The Pavilion and the new Origins. The Pavilion, embodies understated elegance and is where breakfast is served daily. This room is reminiscent of the 1920’s, with black and white checked 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. The wall at the back of the restaurant is a floor to ceiling “floating cellar" with a wide selection of South African wines to choose from. Big arched windows afford views of the cliffs and the sea beyond.

The ever popular ‘Seafood at The Marine’ has now been transformed into the new restaurant - Origins at The Marine. We haven’t visited since the change of name and menu but we gather that it offers a relaxed fine dining experience in a modern kitchen-focused restaurant. Divided by a glass wall panel, the room is contemporary in style, with pots in bold graphic designs, black-and-white photographs and glass sculptures. Here the emphasis is on natural food and wines, and ranges from tapas to a full main meals.

Not far from the reception desk, where guests are met by incredibly helpful and welcoming staff, is a good boutique selling clothing, jewelry, ceramics and curios. There is also internet lounge and a travel desk where day tours can be arranged for guests. Staff here will also be happy to reconfirm guest's flights and any other arrangements.

The corridors are lined with old black and white photos of Hermanus and of the Marine Hotel when it first opened nearly 100 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 amongst the rocks on the beach below the hotel and is a fantastic spot to see whales close up. The hotel can supply you with towels and a picnic – and there are toilets and an outdoor shower there too.

On of the main activities that Hermanus is world renown for is whale watching. Between the months of June/July to November the Southern right whales move up from Antarctica and come into Walker Bay to calve. Many people spend hours just sat on the cliff tops here watching the whale activity just off the coast as they come in close to shore, whilst others board boats and head out to take an even closer look at these magnificent creatures.

Humpback whales also pass through between the months of May to December and the smaller Bryde’s whale are present year round (though herder to spot).

Lesser known, Hermanus also has its own wine route with some lovely wineries for visitors to explore, some also have a restaurant where you can stop for a delicious lunch. Horseriding, quad biking and kayaking can be arranged from the hotel too. (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.)

The surrounding area is covered with fynbos (a distinctive type of vegetation only found in this part of Africa) and there are some lovely botanical hiking trails in the area. Otherwise lovely cliff top walks are right on your doorstep and there a number of great beaches.

Our view

The Marine is a luxurious, elegant yet unpretentious five-star hotel set in a beautiful seafront location with very friendly staff. From here you can discover Hermanus and the surrounding areas and it combines well with its two sister properties The Cellars Hohenort in Cape Town and The Plettenberg in Plettenberg Bay.


Location: Hermanus, South Africa

Ideal length of stay: 2 to 3 nights to explore the Hermanus area.

Directions: The Marine sits on a cliff top over looking Walker Bay within walking distance of the centre of Hermanus.

Accessible by: Self-drive

Key personnel

Owner: It is part of the Liz McGrath Collection

Food & drink

Usual board basis: B&B

Food quality: Breakfast is served in The Pavilion restaurant daily between 7.00am and 10.30am. On our most recent visit (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 à la carte hot breakfasts was also available to order from friendly waiting staff.

Lunch and dinner are both served in the Origins restaurant. As this was not open on our last visit we have yet to sample the food here, however we did eat at the old Seafood restaurant and if the standard here is anything to go by then the Origins will be great. We enjoyed exquisite tempura tiger prawns with egg fried rice, seared pak choy and chilli-soy dressing. We look forward to perusing their innovatively laid out menu and sampling the food at Origins on our next visit. It is open for lunch between 12:00 and 14:30, and for dinner between 19:00 and 21:30.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor Dining

Drinks included: No drinks are included.

Further dining info: Room service is available

Special interests

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 more ideas for Beach holidays in South Africa

Wildlife safaris: Perched on the cliff top overlooking Walker Bay in Hermanus, where Southern right whales come to breed between July and November, The Marine is the perfect base for whale watching in South Africa.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in South Africa

Luxury: 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 more ideas for Luxury in South Africa


Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.

Special activities & services: Babysitting is available on request. This is either outsourced or provided by a member of staff at a cost of about ZAR100 an hour (about £6) and must be paid direct to the child minder. 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 beach equipment such as buckets and spades. They also have a good children’s menu.

Equipment: Cots and high chairs are available.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: Each bedroom has free WiFi access but not the main areas. Each room also has a direct-dial telephone. The hotel has a separate 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: Mains

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care: There are doctors and a hospital in Hermanus.

Quadbike warning: quad-biking 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 quad-bike 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.


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.

Money: Each of the rooms is fitted with an electronic safe. The hotel offers a currency exchange service for small amounts of money and charges a 20% handling fee for this. There are many banks and foreign exchange shops in Hermanus.

Accepted payment on location: Diners, Amex, Visa and Mastercard are accepted methods of payment as well as SA rands in cash.

X  Close