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Birkenhead House, Hermanus 

Corner of 11th Street and Seventh Avenue
Voelklip Beach
South Africa
Tel: 27 15 793 0150
view web site ›'s insider take:

Set on a dramatic rocky bluff, this opulent boutique has views over Walker Bay—where southern right whales migrate between May and December and calve during the month of August. The property makes the most of the vantage point, with terraces and an infinity pool (one of three) overlooking the water, and huge windows in all 11 suites. The guest units are decorated with eclectic antiques from France, Russia, and China, and have especially wonderful baths—request Studio 5 for a Zen spa-like sunken tub, or Studio 3 for a claw-foot beauty in the center of the bedroom. The slew of nature-based activities range from the sedate (beach lounging, cheese-and-wine-tasting tours) to the exertive (kayaking, bird-watching hikes on the cliffs) to the heart-racing (cage diving among sharks). Refuel at the end of the day in the guests-only restaurant, which serves fresh-caught seafood, stellar sushi, and homemade focaccia.

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