Galileo Picnic Thursdays are held in Cape Town’s most popular botanical garden
Vintage elegance for every budget at Windsor Hotel & Apartments in Hermanus
A Hermanus seaside stay can be affordable + family-friendly
If you’re looking for excellent seafront accommodation in Hermanus (or pretty much anywhere on South Africa’s coast), expect to pay. At the 125-year-old Windsor Hotel & Apartments, you’ll get one of the best sea views at a reasonable price, along with direct access to the famously “healing air”.
HEARD ABOUT THE CHAMPAGNE AIR? IT'S REAL
Before holidaymakers visited Hermanus for its whale watching, the seaside town was known for the quality of its sea air. This was particularly intense along the Cliff Path, which is referred to as the Champagne Mile. Windsor Hotel is positioned on this stretch.
The reason the air is so healing here is that the swell is strong and huge waves crash forcefully against the rocks, sending huge plumes of spray into the air, saturing it with moisture and charging it with negative ions. Studies have found that negative ions can help boost the immune system, speed up metabolism, and improve mood and sleep.
“We always mention to our guests that they will find they are a little hungrier than normal, and sleep really well, and while we want to say our beds are just that comfortable, the air in Hermanus does contribute to this too,” says Marketing Manager Madeleine Smuts.
FIVE-STAR ENVIRONMENT, THREE-STAR PERKS
It seems perplexing that the hotel has been graded three-star. It has million-dollar sea views of Walker and Windsor Bay, comfortable king-sized beds, turn-down service, adjacent sea-facing lounges, and efficient and friendly service – it feels like winning the affordable accommodation lottery.
“When I started working here I asked: ‘Why are we not a five-star hotel, considering the incredible views from our rooms and property?’” says Madeleine. “Hermanus is very saturated with four and five-star bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels. There are very few three-star accommodations. Being a three-star has worked very well for us, and has not hindered us from attracting affluent guests. For example, we recently had a Maserati in our parking lot the other day!”
YOU’LL SLEEP PEACEFULLY HERE
All rooms are decorated in turquoise, sand and foam whites, colours inspired by the ocean waves crashing against the shore, the sound of which rolls in through the windows, lulling you into deep sleep. The white linen is luxurious, and each room has a hot beverage and snack station, as well as satellite television and speedy wi-fi.
Like any top-tier hotel, you’ll be served a hearty breakfast. Options include eggs (any style), hash browns, bacon, fresh fruits, cold meats, cereals, cheeses, pastries, hot and cold beverages.
Fun Fact: The Windsor Hotel is one of the only family-friendly establishments in Hermanus. Ask for two of its interleading rooms or opt for a self-catering apartment.
YOU’LL FIND A FASCINATING HISTORY HERE
Every corner of the hotel is a balance between new and old. The hotel has been newly renovated, but as you leave the modern reception, post-check-in, you’ll walk up an original Victorian timber staircase that leads to the seafront rooms.
All along the way are black-and-white photographs of what life in Hermanus looked like during the first half of the 19th century, an antique telephone, a bookshelf displaying classic literature, and an inviting lounge that features an original fireplace and an old piano.
Formerly a sanatorium, built and opened in 1896 by brothers Joshua and Willem Hoffman, the original structure of the hotel was used to treat patients who were recovering from illnesses and surgeries. Today the hotel is owned by the Clark-Brown family, with the third generation working in the hotel, and they are dedicated to preserving traditional hospitality while delivering the best-value bed and breakfast in Hermanus.
Fun fact: The original structured walls from 1896 are still visible in the "Old Hotel" portion of the building.
YOU DON'T NEED A CAR TO GET AROUND
From June to October, there’s the captivating performance of whales swimming in Walker Bay, and this you’ll be able to see from your bedroom window.
The town has lots to offer, too: pinchos, wine and a swim at Ficks tidal pool, which is a 10-minute walk to your right from the hotel.
Walk left and you’ll get to the village square, known by locals as “the heart of Hermanus”. There are many museums and galleries, or have lunch at the award-winning La Pentola restaurant.
BOOK SOME ADVENTURES
There’s also an arts and crafts market, open daily, or you can head over to the Hermanus Tourism office to plan and book any number of adventure sports, such as kayaking on the sea or in the lagoon, horse riding in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, and surfing in Onrus Beach.
You’ll see all kinds of travellers around in town and at Windsor, says Madeleine, from young foreigners to local families. “We have a lot of return guests (from all walks of life) who come back to the hotel time and time again to experience our old-world charm, historic setting and hospitality second to none.” You'll find vintage elegance for every budget at Windsor Hotel in Hermanus.
FIND MORE ACCOMM0DATION SPECIALS
Get 10% off plus a complimentary bottle of wine and Whale Rock Lodge.
And there's a 30% off Local is Lekker special throughout the year at Hermanus Guest House.
Maybe you want to know more about the town’s famous whale-watching season.
CONNECT WITH US
Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, ‘burbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and get quick access on the go by adding us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.