The Marine, Hermanus from above. Photo: Supplied
The Marine, Hermanus from above. Photo: Supplied
Sometimes, you have to get yourself out of the city and go somewhere a little less chaotic. Capetonians have the luxury of Hermanus just 90 minutes down the road, and the small seaside town is full of hidden gems. The Marine Hotel shines brighter than all the other diamonds, however…
The luxurious five-star resort is something of an institution in the Western Cape. You can watch whales through the bay windows of your room, and even enjoy a private rock-pool just metres away from the hotel.
But perhaps one of its most charming quirks is the venues ability to attract some of the most famous names in the world. Details of Brad Pitt’s stay at The Marine – through newspaper cuttings and diary entries – hang proudly from the walls. He stopped off here before swimming with the sharks in Gansbaai.
Ignore what Shania Twain says: we are very impressed with Mr Pitt and his decision to stay at this impeccable place. We experienced it for ourselves earlier in the month, and enjoyed our very own “star treatment”.
We first arrived at midday on Saturday and were immediately impressed by the warmth of both the desk staff and the concierge. It felt more like turning up at a social club than going through the cold, mechanical rigmarole of check-in administration that other hotels put you through.
After our drive from the city, we needed sustenance pretty sharpish. If drinking a Pina Colada and enjoying lunch with a sea view at noon is wrong, then I sure don’t want to be right. There was perhaps a lack of atmosphere during the lunchtime dining session, but Origin – the hotel’s restaurant – would bring the vibes later in the evening.
Once replenished, we only had eyes for the “luxury double” room that we’d be staying in. We felt like we were in our own Hollywood film when we opened the double doors to a room that can only be described as “paradise”. Tall windows, a dramatic chandelier and a walk-in closet gave us our first indication of the opulence The Marine offers.
And that was only after taking our first few steps into the suite: We soon realised that our accommodation had two floors to it. A king-sized bed fit for royalty upstairs comes with panoramic views from the top, too.
After lounging around the most inviting pool we’d sampled in a very long time, we were then treated to an extensive massage at the on-site spa. The facility is a triumph of tranquillity and it’s the perfect tonic to help you decompress after a tough week at work.
Once the magic fingers of your masseuses loosen up the joints, you then get to experience the cleansing powers of their steam room. The Marine had also supplied us with a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival – ever the gracious hosts – which meant I was sweating out the alcohol post-haste.
As much as we didn’t want our day to end, the evening only brought us more wonderful memories. We booked ourselves in for a meal at the Origin Restaurant for the evening, where they really turned on the style. It blends the cosmopolitan with the chilled and proved to be a terrific night-spot for us.
Another staple of our feature was the hotel’s manager, Sebastian. He was a constant presence around the venue, interacting with guests and bending over backwards to ensure everyone was enjoying their stay. Although The Marine is not the type of place that could let you down, Sebastian leaves nothing to chance and deserves high praise for his efforts.
That drive to keep the patrons of Hermanus pleased is well-drilled into the kind and courteous serving staff, too. It’s hard to express just how incredibly polite and amicable the employees of the hotel are, but thanks to my wife’s extreme clumsiness, we’ve got a story that frames a perspective.
Just as a sidenote, Origin have a completely separate vegetarian menu for guests and visitors – another example of their extensive considerations. The Mrs was obviously elated by this news and once she’d sampled their world-class veggie curry, things were too much for her to handle.
Upon completing our dinner, she knocked a full glass of wine all over my white and blue shirt combination. After feeling so smug about not getting any of the premium sirloin
Quinton made the most of our misfortune and it was his time to shine. He had the table looking spotless within seconds, and even wiped a drop of red wine from my forehead. If that isn’t top quality service, then what is?
The evening ended with us enjoying our spacious room, and kicking back with another bottle of plonk. It was the very definition of an ideal Saturday, but there was more to come. The breakfast on Sunday morning gave us everything we wanted, and a little bit more.
We highly recommend the continental buffet at The Marine, by the way. If you’re a cheese lover like any other self-respecting human being, they’ve got you covered. Again, our sweet-tooth knows no bounds, and we also got stuck into a stack of buttermilk pancakes – good heavens, they were amazing.
With that, we squeezed in a quick walk down to the rock-pool to dip our toes into a choppy Atlantic Ocean. Yes it was freezing, yes the skies were grey and yes, it made for a breathtaking Instagram post.
From start to finish, we were treated like “Brangelina” ourselves. Speaking to a few other guests, that’s the impression they received too. The Marine is an overwhelmingly-friendly experience and once you’ve been there, you’ll already be planning your next trip back.
This serene corner of Hermanus outshines the competition when it comes to the views, its service and what it can provide in terms of luxury. We take our hats off to the establishment, but there’s just one problem: I’ll never be able to wear my blue and white shirt again!