Although set 90 minutes from Cape Town – Iconic Africa has listed this gem in our Cape Town properties as - in our humble opinion - no trip to the Cape is complete without a visit to the exceptional Birkenhead House. Birkenhead House is a majestic member of the Biden family’s Royal Portfolio and true to form is another Liz Biden masterpiece. From the 11 individually appointed suites of sumptuous grandeur, to the lounges of sophisticated home living, out into the double-level pool, sheltered courtyards and spa with its breath-taking sea view, Birkenhead House is the very designation of luxury at the tip of the continent. This is where awe-inspiring nature, gourmet Cape cuisine, exceptional service and ultimate indulgence meet in glorious harmony on the edge of Africa.
The house away from home
Birkenhead House is perched on a cliff overlooking magnificent Walker Bay in the little seaside town of Hermanus – gateway to the garden route. The bay is fringed with pristine white sand beaches and secluded coves while in the water surfers carve the waves and, for several months of the year, hundreds of southern right whales call the waters of the bay home.
The hotel, while appointed with exquisite décor, exudes the energy of a family beach house in supreme and tasteful opulence. The artwork and furnishings are a brilliantly assembled collection of diverse pieces from the antique to the contemporary.
Birkenhead House prides itself on complete efficiency in a laidback atmosphere where you tailor make the activity levels of your stay so that you depart refreshed, happy and inspired.
The 11 splendid suites are all individually appointed with exquisite combinations of furniture and art. The bedrooms are fitted with pieces ranging from antique four-poster king and queen size beds, to glamourous red armchairs, original paintings, gilded headboards, leather desks and even a two-seater love couch.
Likewise, the generous bathrooms are centred variously on freestanding Victorian baths, sunken marble tubs, spacious vanity areas and elegant showers, Every suite has a panoramic view of Walker Bay, the whales breaching out to sea, or the epic mountains of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve – and sometimes both. You could sit out on your private balcony or patio to a high-tea of scones, fairy cakes and savouries while you contemplate the marvels of the Indian Ocean or the earthy power that created the towering Fernkloof.
Repose and refresh at Birkenhead
You can do as little or as much as you’d like to around Birkenhead House. If it is simply rejuvenation and rest you crave, then you need look no further than the Birkenhead House spa. Luxuriate with one of Birkenhead’s uniquely crafted massages, body rituals and beauty treatments using combinations of African and international oils and cosmetics. When the weather is fine, the spa can be enjoyed on a terrace, the fresh sea air inspiring one of the highly-trained therapists.
If you feel the need to work off some of the delicious meals, there is a fully equipped gym on site.
The town of Hermanus offers beauty, history and charm. Walk or drive into town, visit the markets, unusual boutiques, galleries or the Old Harbour Museum. Stroll on the cliff-top walkways and breathe in the soothing Indian Ocean air while the whales frolic in the bay below and the gulls swoop on the updrafts. There is an array of walks to experience on the slopes of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve – home to an intimidating 1100 species of plant and thrilling vistas.
There are three beautiful beaches in Hermanus – two just steps away from Birkenhead House. You could take a picnic and beach bats down for a day on the sand and in the water – tremendous fun for families. Surfing is also an excellent option for the adventurous.
Further afield, the magnificent vineyards of Walker Bay (famed for the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Africa), Elgin and Agulhas stretch into the mountains and valleys. A day out wine tasting is an absolute must.
A fusion of gastronomy
Meals at Birkenhead are a gourmet fusion of African, Cape and French cuisine with touches of Asia and Italy. There is an emphasis on fresh local seafood – crayfish, mussels, red roman and Kabeljou are some of the delicious regular features. Hearty and exotic soups are a comfort and delight – especially in the winter.
The Birkenhead chef’s enchantments can be enjoyed in the seclusion of your suite, in a sheltered spot on the manicured grounds overlooking the sea or in the opulent glass-fronted dining room with the ocean stretching to the horizon.
Birkenhead is also very happy to accommodate the needs of younger guests who might want some simpler – yet no less scrumptious – fare.
Travelling to Birkenhead
Birkenhead House is a supremely scenic 90 minute drive from Cape Town International Airport. Iconic Africa will arrange a comfortable road transfer with one of our trusted transport partners. If you are feeling adventurous, you can drive yourself on the excellent roads from Cape Town.
Just the tip of the continent
Whether you a beginning or finishing your African adventure at Birkenhead House, Iconic Africa can recommend the best safaris, island adventures and natural wonders that southern Africa has to offer. Be it the world-famous Kruger National Park, the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, the epic adventures of the Victoria Falls or the secluded island paradises off the coast of Mozambique; one of Iconic Africa’s specialist consultants will design the African expedition of your dreams.
Why Birkenhead House?
- Supreme luxury with tastefully eclectic décor
- Access to highlights of the Cape
- Epic whale viewing for several months of the year
- Perfect way to begin or end an African adventure
- Gateway to the garden route
Birkenhead House is the very lap of lavish opulence with the energy and peace of a family beach house. It is perfectly placed to give you the best that the magnificent Cape has to offer – gourmet cuisine, natural wonder, wine and personalised luxury.