I recently discovered Booking.com and I fear that it’s going to affect my bank account very negatively….
It’s a website that shows you available accommodation and prices of millions of hotels. This excites me as it encourages laziness by eliminating the need to make inquiries via phone or email. You just select the days you want, select a destination and choose the cheapest hotel (if you’re me) and put in your credit/ cheque card details and *voila!* your booking is confirmed. This is how I randomly discovered the Hermanus Guesthouse.
I don’t know much about Hermanus except that people go there to watch whales in August / September. So, I knew it must have a beach and I also knew that it’s fairly close to Cape Town (less than 2 hours drive) and that was pretty much what I wanted for the first few days of 2014.
As you may know, I travel a lot for work and I get put up in pretty nice places most of the time. As such, I’m not completely used to paying for all my own trips and this stay at the Hermanus Guesthouse was not the cheapest way to get started. It comes as no surprise, that I initially judged the place quite harshly.
Since I booked quite late, I had two choices: the floral room (as that was the only room still available) or sleep outside. I opted for the former. The lady of the house said that ‘tonight you will sleep amongst the flowers’ and boy, was she not kidding. The Rose Suite was pretty floral… and Victorian. I tend to prefer more modern looking places but this sort of thing is very much guesthouse-chic and I know some of their other rooms were more modernly decorated.
The room had everything I would usually expect – a bar fridge stocked with water, kettle with coffee and tea, a hairdryer, A/C, bath and flat screen TV.
The view from the room was not impressive, basically we an awesome view of neigbouring yards, alleys, a bit of garden and two geriatrics braaing, which albeit entertaining wasn’t really what we came to Hermanus for.
The gueshouse itself had a nice view when you went out to the front balcony but unfortunately, the breakfast area faced the car park. The interior of the guesthouse was nicely decorated but personally, I don’t often make use of the shared facilities (lounges) unless I’m in a bigger group.
I was also not that impressed with the location. Their website says it’s a 4-minute walk to the Village Centre and while it’s a short-ish walk, I wouldn’t advise it in the summer. It was incredibly hot on the day we decided to take the walk and I had really bad sunburn to show for it. It felt like four hours and I couldn’t help but sing “I went to the desert on a horse with no name…” The views from the walk were stunning, though. Despite that, I still would have preferred a place closer to the Village Centre so that parking would not have been an issue. The Village is packed in Summer.
I’ve listed many negatives about the place and yet my overall experience was positive. Where they managed to win me over was the warmth of the hostess. We asked her about some cruises in the area and she was more than willing to find out about it and make a booking – unfortunately, the boat that did the cruises moved to Cape Town!
Also, the breakfast was fabulous! I stay away from home often enough not to be excited by a bit of fruit and a fried egg. The Hermanus Guesthouse scored full marks in my book for their breakfast. In their brochure they called it “a whale of a breakfast” and they were right. Firstly we were served fruit, then a lovely warm croissant followed by your choice of egg based food (omelet, fried egg, etc). I also loved the coffee they served.
Another positive was that the BnB was a short stroll from Fick’s Pool which is a nice tidal pool. This made up for the fact that the guesthouse did not have its own pool with the added benefit of it being quite an amazing spot. The first couple of times we went there, the ocean that fed it was raging and bubbling. The second time, it was still and peaceful.
I think the Hermanus Guesthouse in a good base from which to explore Hermanus, if you don’t mind the fact that you may have to drive a bit. I had a mostly good experience staying in the guesthouse but I think in future, I will try to find a place that is closer to the Village Centre and that has a pool. If I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, I would not have a problem with staying at the Hermanus Guesthouse again. I think it’s probably a good place to stay during the whale watching season (July to November).
Some of what we got up to in Hermanus can be found in Hermanus Part 2.
– Rif (with a little help from Kamiel Sadien)