Somebody once wrote: “A luxury hotel promises something all travellers dream of: a lavish break from daily life and a sumptuous journey into an opulent otherworld.” Which is exactly what Birkenhead House is – and more.
Perched on a peninsula overlooking the entire coast of Walker Bay, this elegant hotel’s cliffside location gives some of the swankiest spots on the Amalfi Coast a run for their money. Just a three-minute drive from the bustling village of Hermanus, it’s perfectly positioned for those who cherish seclusion but also enjoy dipping in and out of the action.
The 11-room hotel was once the Biden family’s holiday home until they decided to turn it into posh lodgings, with Liz (Biden) in charge of decorating it. Her eclectic style vacillates between glam-opulence and beachside chic, with pillars and marble floors setting the scene throughout, and deep, white slip-covered couches in all the communal lounge areas. Curling up on one of these ocean-facing sofas, with a G&T to hand, while you watch the whales and dolphins frolic in the bay is sheer bliss.
Our plush sea-facing room is the last word in hushed opulence, with a gold-framed headboard on our king-size bed, leather desk, furry throws, a long sofa and a glam-luxe marble bathroom offsetting the muted palette. Ensconced in our private paradise, we feel totally isolated from the 10 other guest quarters… as if the entire beach belongs to us. But a site tour earlier with chummy Ricardo reveals that the ocean-facing rim-flow pool, sun deck and dining area are a short stroll away. (The hotel’s other pool is a split-level number that’s quite impressive.)
ABOVE & BEYOND
Attentive service and cliffside location aside, perhaps the most unique aspect of this intimate lodge is that everything (except cigars, reserve wines and spa treatments) is included in the room rate. All meals, obviously, as well as the freshly baked cakes on the buffet table that tempt me every single time I pass by, to the fully (and I mean FULLY) equipped bar in our room, stocked with an assortment of the classiest tipples in the world. (Bombay Sapphire and Johnnie Walker Black Label, to name a few).
DINING WITH A VIEW
The upscale yet laidback restaurant is headed by executive chef Ziyaad Browne, who rustles up Asian-inspired, Cape Malay-flecked dishes in his busy kitchen. As you’d expect from this ultra-high-end establishment, menus and meals can be designed to meet your individual tastes and dietary requirements, and can be taken wherever you desire: on the cliffside terrace, by the pool, in the glass-fronted dining area, or in the privacy of your suite.
Contact 021 671 5502, firstname.lastname@example.org
Room rate From R6 600 – R16 100 (depending on season and type of room; includes all meals and drinks, excluding reserve wines)
Where to find it Birkenhead House, Corner 11th Street and 7th Avenue, Voelklip, Hermanus