Athi-Patra Ruga’s iridescent art on black pioneers + more in Sculpture Garden
Kids, families, couples: everyone will love Whale Rock Luxury Lodge & Villa
Pools, Cliff Path walks, luxury bedrooms and historical nuggets to find
It’s hard to pick the most charming thing about Whale Rock Luxury Lodge & Villa. It could be the fairytale garden with sprawling green lawns and budding flowers, the rambling house with its thatched roof, the crystal-clear pool, glass-encased breakfast room, or the private villa. This lodge is an all-rounder, a haven for families (kids will absolutely love the space to run and explore), couples looking for quiet or romance or groups of friends. And the bonus: it’s in one of the top whale-spotting destinations in the world, Hermanus.
YOU’LL BE CHARMED BY ITS HISTORY
Hostess Melanie Musson goes way back with this luxury lodge. She's been swimming in its pool since high school and has come to know it like her home. She knows where the 150+-year-old wooden beams inside the garden suite come from (shipwrecks along the coast close to Hermanus), and that the beautiful stone decoration in the same suite came all the way from Scotland, and she'll happily tell you why there’s a hidden doorbell outside one of the oldest suites at the lodge.
In total, Whale Rock has 17 rooms and suites, of which 11 rooms and suites are in the lodge, and six in the villa.
The lodge was bought in 2014 by Dutch owners Dave and Anouk Bakker, who emigrated to South Africa in 2007. They completely upgraded Whale Rock, which is sister hotel to their other 5-star guesthouse in Stellenbosch, WedgeView Country House & Spa (people often do a combined stay at both properties).
STROLL TO TOWN ON THE GORGEOUS CLIFF PATH
Guests can walk into town by taking the Cliff Path, which runs along the coast and has superb views of the sea. The access is only a few metres away from the lodge. The entire path is 12 kilometres long, running from New Harbour to Gearing’s Point in town, and it’s worth taking your time because it features some of the best land-based look-out points for southern right whales that come to mate or calve here every year.
If you want to get closer to these incredible mammals, there are boat tours that run from the New Harbour (you can also walk there from the lodge) that can sometimes get viewers surprisingly close.
WHALE ROCK LODGE IS A HOLIDAY IN ITSELF
Whale-watching is a big deal in Hermanus, but there are plenty of other things to do besides this, and staying inside this luxury lodge is a holiday in itself, especially if you have kids. There's no need to tiptoe around – the lodge offers both a 5-star experience but is also comfortable and homely.
It has many common spaces where the kids can play freely. There are cards and board games in the public lounge space or there’s the pool to swim in and garden to roam through. For couples, there are hammocks hanging in the garden that can comfortably fit two, and the sunbeds by the pool are perfect for an afternoon lounge with a good book.
RELAX WITH BRUNCH WHILE THE KIDS PLAY
It's not unusual in Hermanus for the weather to reach warm temperatures by early morning. This is where the glass breakfast room comes in handy. Parents can enjoy a late breakfast while keeping an eye on the children splashing and playing in the pool. You can have a continental buffet breakfast of croissants, muesli, yoghurt and fruit with tea or coffee, or you can order a hot breakfast from the a la carte menu. Lodge owner Dave Bakker recommends you try his favourite, the uitsmijter. It's two fried eggs served on gypsy ham with melted cheese on top, and your choice of toast.
BOOK THE PRIVATE VILLA FOR A FAMILY GETAWAY
The private villa on the property is an entirely separate building from the lodge. It has a private pool, open braai area, lounge and kitchen area. It’s perfect for a group of friends or families who want a little bit more privacy or to ensure more social-distance between you and other guests. Each room is rented out as an individual unit that wraps around the pool on the inside.
Pro-tip: Melanie Musson favourite is room 16, which overlooks a green belt and has distant sea and mountain views. All rooms have either a patio or balcony, with views of either the garden, mountains or pool, while the Walker Bay Suites in the Villa have distant ocean and mountain views.
FIND OUT MORE THINGS TO DO IN HERMANUS
The first thing on anyone’s bucket list should be whale-watching in Hermanus.
If you feel like a swim in the ocean and then a cocktail and snack, head to Ficks.
For a day of fruity cocktails, fresh sushi and ocean views Dutchies is your place.
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