What a lovely place to end our trip in South Africa; complete beauty and luxury. The service from the moment we arrived was exemplary; thank you Nikita and Chris. Every morning Renee and Miriam made breakfast and lunch just a lovely setting for us. There was always a fire going for a front row seat to whale watch, have a coffee or cocktail and read. Gift, Simba, Blane, Arnold were a fabulous evening team. Always serving us a wonderful dinner and drinks. Hats off to the chefs; the food was top notch at every meal for 5 days/4 nights. HIlde provided a great drive over to whale watch and shark dive plus the front of the house was always attentive to our needs. The beauty of this place is hard to describe and the service to unbelievable. Well worth the ride over the mountain passes from Cape Town.…
My family of seven stayed at Birkenhead House for two wonderful nights and i only wish we had stayed a month! Birkenhead is an elegant beach house with a comfortable charm that makes you feel welcome. The view is unreal. The accommodations are amazing and the staff are friendly, warm and inviting. The food was very good with many options. The location is perfect, right on the beach with a walking path to town! You can see whales from the balcony. It's a short drive to two very nice golf courses and it is not too far from Cape Town. I strongly recommend.
We stayed for only one night as it was en route to our drive . The food was excellent , the chef had a ready range of vegetarian options for two people in the group and yummy fish and lamb for the rest . Rooms were Uber luxe , service was delightful and the view was brilliant. Wish I could have spent for 3 nights here
Visited Birkenhead House for the first time in 2018, & returning was like pulling on a favourite sweater. Hard to fault, the service, the facilities & the food/drink are all exceptional. All this with the best hotel location I can think of, overlooking the sea & crashing waves. Only complaint is there were no whales going past while we had breakfast, too early in the year! Boooo!…. We had room 7, great views over the sea & windows open all night listening to the waves , plus more than enough space. The free washing was a fantastic bonus for dirty clothes too, & nothing is too much trouble for the staff (we needed some windscreen wipers on the car changing & it was done in a flash…). Just lovely
By way of explanation, as many people (like me) will think negative reviews are less than honest and often written by competitors, I am simply a hugely disappointed returning guest who previously marvelled at the previously bespoke family ethos and high quality offering that was apparent at this establishment. Sadly, some 8-9 years later, this is no longer the case as the attached photos will bear out. Nothing in this review is exaggerated or falsified. In fact I wrote directly to the owner, Liz Biden, who replied promptly. Copy correspondence is available on request. Please just message me if you would like copies. For transparency, Liz apologized and offered us a complimentary dinner at another of her hotel venues - The Silo in Cape Town, but we declined as we had already booked somewhere and did not want to let them down by cancelling at short notice. Needless to say, so sad and disappointed are we that we will not return based on our experiences on this occasion. It could be argued that Covid has had a bearing on this drop in standards, however I understand that the hotel was only closed for a very short time after they realised the benefit of their home market. Whilst quieter, this was an ideal opportunity to perform any upgrades, repairs and well overdue refurbishments but this was sadly a missed opportunity. What is most concerning is that the GM and his management team, seemed completely oblivious to these very obvious housekeeping and maintenance issues and clearly deemed them to be acceptable. BACKGROUND We were booked in to a Superior room on a full board basis and stayed in Rm 3, overlooking the beach, cliffs and public car park; The hotel was by no means busy. It was at approx 40% occupancy during our stay; The property is part of the grandly named, and supposedly acclaimed "Royal Portfolio" Royal Portfolio’s website states it aims to be: “To Give Our Guests A Complete Experience And A Perfect Stay”; “Our Purpose & Values is a set of ideals which ensures that all Royal Portfolio staff work towards one common goal, which places our guests at the heart of everything we do. These values are deeply entrenched in every single member of staff”; “The Biden family has created a loyal and passionate culture where our guests’ comfort and experience is paramount”, and finally; “The Royal Portfolio showcases the very best luxury South African travel experiences” It was immediately apparent from the start, that the polished persona of the team we met some 8-9 years ago, was missing it’s previous USP, and the property looked jaded and positively unkempt in places. That is not to say that there were not any good points. One of the major assets of this property are its views - simply fantastic, panoramic, stunning seascape. Indeed the staff were willing and keen to please, always polite and caring, but their inexperience was glaring at times. We felt it was unfair to put such inexperienced staff to work in such a demanding 5* destination with clearly very expectant clients, who have paid between £500 and £1275 approx /night, wanting the Royal Portfolio website, and the hotels previous reputation to live up to its promises. On on this occasion, as we expressed to the GM or manager on our last morning, it certainly fell well short of the mark, apparently whilst he and his team felt what we experienced was perfectly acceptable! The laundry service was excellent and is always very much appreciated as was the shuttle service. Lulu was fantastic and provided both my wife and I with superb massages. The Birkenhead Signature Massage is one not to be missed. The food and wine offering however did not in anyway live up to “Royal Portfolio” standards or our previous experiences, which Liz Biden was "surprised by". Please remember that you are compelled to pay for Full Board, whether you want this or not. Breakfast service was excellent. However, even though we enjoyed full board, we declined lunch each day. The dinner offering was extremely poor in both choices and quality, and nothing like we experienced during our last visit, when our whole family commented on the quality. Our son in fact expressed his jealousy when he heard that we would be revisiting. How disappointed he would have been! Service was inattentive, we had to ask for wine tops ups continuously. On our first evening, the restaurant staff were showing around what appeared to be a new or temporary female chef, including the view from the sun terrace while diners were eating their meals. We noted the recruitment page of Royal Portfolio was advertising for a Restaurant Manager, which may bear out some of our feedback. Dinner on our second night, and without any advanced notice that the a la carte offering was unavailable, consisted of a seafood platter. They did however say that alternatives were available but it was clearly going to be limited or cause too much hassle, so we willingly went along with it. However, what arrived was so utterly disappointing that we then dined out for the remainder of our stay. Although a member of staff reassured us that all the contents were fresh, what arrived looked and tasted suspiciously like deep-fried frozen panko bread-crumbed prawns, accompanied by insipid looking deep fried fillets of fish, less than appealing calamari, what looked and tasted like previously frozen lobster and some mussels in a thick tomato based sauce. The latter probably being the only dish worth a mention. The quantity of wine choices was more akin to a cafe /bistro’s wine carte, not a 5* hotel with “Royal” connotations. Full board choices were extremely limited and of poor quality apart from one rose which we did enjoy. Service was undertaken with a degree of nervousness and hesitancy by very clearly inexperienced, but nonetheless willing and pleasant staff, with the exception of one rather scruffy, portly member of male staff who wore casual trainers, his tie undone and who was never off his mobile phone whenever he was on duty. His role seemed blurred. He was sent to repair our insecure balcony door (which failed), he drove us into Hermanus on one occasion and was frequently seen in and around the bar and restaurant areas in the evenings. This night was not helped by the late arrival of two, very loud, American guests who had, we later discovered, taken cocaine and a large quantity of alcohol. They were swearing, talking and shouting very loudly which inevitably meant my wife and I and other guests decided to leave the dining room and adjacent lounge. Their behaviour went unchecked (clear evidence of poor management and a lack of experience on the staff's behalf). Their drug abuse was not reported to Police and their behaviour and excess alcohol, apparently continued the next day when being escorted, by hotel staff, enroute to the airport. Generally though our disappointment centred on the property itself and it’s apparent lack of professional maintenance, quality repairs and general housekeeping, and, in our opinion, the presence of a suitably attentive GM and departmental managers who could be expected to pick up on the very things that the attached photos highlight. This includes the very basics of good housekeeping. Staff we spoke to about our disappointment agreed and acknowledged the insect detritus in the entrance ceiling and other lamps around the property, and thoroughly understood and echoed our sentiments that things were simply not right. Quite frankly I am dismayed it was even necessary for a client to point these issues out. Royal Portfolio, its reputation and website certainly purport the complete opposite. With all that said we tipped most staff generously for their efforts and kindness. I will stop here and let the photos do the talking, but these highlight: 1. The lock on the left hand sliding balcony door could not be locked, leaving us no option than to lock the inner sliding shutters - sad given the views. This was made worse by that fact that anyone, in our opinion, could have easily gained access to our balcony by climbing up on to and walking along the relatively low perimeter wall; 2. Yellow stained and veneer peeling wooden toilet seats; 3. Water damaged skirting boards between our bedroom and en-suite bathroom; 4. Stained and marked under basin furniture (that is not part of the deliberate shabby chic look); 5. Paint paint marks on the lights around the basin in our en-suite; 6. Rust spotted and frayed sun loungers; 7. Old sun loungers with mixed and unmatched wheels; 8. Stained and grubby sun lounger covers; 9. Stained and grubby sofa covers and faded or dirty chairs; 10. Build up of dead insects in light fittings around the property; 11. Filthy dirty window with unacceptable build up of dead insects in the window in the lounge/restaurant WC; 12. The completely unacceptable use of towels in the public lounge/restaurant WC, bearing in mind Covid, but certainly when located so close to the WC itself (faecal plume when flushing etc); 13. A cracked basin in the single public WC; 14. A clothing quality control sticker that had clearly been stuck to the wall for quite some time; 15. Eroded window sill stone; 16. Filthy dirty reverse side of the door to the restaurant / lounge WC showing ground-in long term greasy and dirty finger marks; 17. Pool maintenance underway for the entirety of our stay; 18. The night lights were used even though the glasses that should hold them had been damaged and not been replaced; 19. Tired, faded, frayed and grubby rugs and fringes; 20. Rust marks on toweling bolster cushion; 21. Rust marked and flaking paint on internal pool “waterfall”; 22. Glassware on the bar table cloudy; 23. Dusty and dated glass chandeliers that we feel have seen better days. 24. Clearly from other more positive reviews that some still feel able to leave, some people are either less fussy and expectant than we are when paying between £500 and £1275 approx /night per couple, or are viewing their continued loyalty toward this property through rose tinted spectacles, based on the fantastic views and the great service that they may have previously experienced, and do not want to accept is now lacking. Nobody wants to admit they have chosen poorly after all! Readers of this review will inevitably be the judges and make up their own discerning minds. It appears Liz Biden herself is in denial or is someone who is happy to blindly accept the words of her managers, who in our opinion, must have been blindfolded not to have seen what we saw and is depicted in the attached photos. I just hope this helps someone avoid a potentially very expensive disappointment.…
We loved our stay at Birkenhead House! It is in a great location and everything about it is perfect. Like all the Royal Portfolio properties, the staff are what make the difference from other high-end resorts. They attend to every detail and make you feel like you are staying at a friend's amazing home. We were torn between whether we should stay at La Residence or Birkenhead House. We worked both of them in and are so glad we did! We stayed for 2 nights and that was the right amount of time for us.
We were absolutely blown away by our stay at Birkenhead House and can't wait to return. The location is absolutely stunning and the rooms are gorgeously appointed. The views are incredible and the team goes absolutely over the top to make sure your experience is perfect. A special thank you to Jacques, Sam, Chris, Bianca, Sandhile, Arnold, Simba, Rita, Rene and Craig, as well as the whole team for such a wonderful experience. We look forward to returning very soon.
This is such a beautiful hotel. The location, views, rooms, food, staff, everything is absolutely how you would want a holiday to be. We would go there again in a heartbeat and would highly recommend it for a honeymoon or special occasion.
This hotel is just perfection . The location is stunning looking out to sea . The rooms are sumptuous and so well thought out and the hight of luxury. We were all exclusive which meant we could enjoy delicious meals and tasty wines over our 3 night stay . The staff were all absolutely amazing, kind , friendly and attentive without being annoying. I really can’t rate this hotel highly enough ! We will return next year fingers crossed.
This hotel needs no review it is just perfect. From the moment you arrive and are greeted by Craig and the team with a delicious cocktail to the moment you leave you are treated royally. Yes it is expensive but it is worth every rand. Food and wine is available from the moment you wake up and the views and walks breathtaking Jaque or Jay always available to pick up at the end of a walk or take you where you need to go Staff are exemplary and go out of their way to help This was our fourth time there and can’t wait to go back Thankyou Birkenhead and the team