5 Western Cape The Marine Hotel
The ‘grand old lady’ of Hermanus, The Marine Hotel, opened to guests in 1902 with the ballroom being added in the 1920s. Although they had no electricity or running water in the rooms, it was far grander than the existing Victoria Hotel, and many of the wealthy and famous came to stay, such as actor Noel Coward and Princess Alice. Initially, guests had to endure a three-day ox-wagon ride from Cape Town to do so. Back then there were 21 rooms, but with extensions this has now grown to 40 individually decorated suites and rooms. The Marine is perched on the cliffs overlooking the spectacularly beautiful Walker Bay. It is one of the esteemed Relais & Châteaux hotels with all the luxury and service that go with the name. The hotel lives up to its philosophy of class, comfort, cuisine and calm. It’s a bucket-list stay, and for when you truly need pampering (there’s a spa as well). From the sofa in our bedroom, I gazed lazily out to sea and spotted a whale. I mused that I was the fourth generation in my family who had stayed at the hotel which, in its elegance and attention to detail, had changed little. If you do want more activity, there’s the coastal walk, a tidal pool in front of the hotel, restaurants and shops to explore, as well as the magnificent Hemel-en-Aarde wine valley. I chose to lap up the luxury by spending time in my room with a view.