The Windsor Hotel in Hermanus

Where:  49 Marine Drive, Hermanus, Western Cape, 7200 
Primary phone: 028 312 3727  

The Windsor Hotel in Hermanus opened in 1896. Its grand façade flanks the stunning ocean vista of Walker Bay. This year, 2024, marks the heritage hotel’s 128th year. Yes, this beautiful hotel is almost 130 years old and it is huge, with 69 bedrooms and eight apartments. It was a privilege to stay at the Windsor for the recent FynArts festival in Hermanus. FynArts is an annual fusion arts festival which includes a winter school with courses and workshops, books, art exhibitions and shows on stage (classical music, theatre, comedy, opera this year). It is a festival in a glorious location – on the edge of the ocean which is famous for whale watching. The Windsor is a huge supporter of FynArts, opening up its public spaces for exhibitions, hosting festival talks and events.

Conveniently located, within easy walking distance of the town, the hotel is a brilliant choice when staying at FynArts. A solid three star hotel. The bedrooms are on a bed and breakfast basis with a generous buffet breakfast served in the gracious dining room.  The apartments are self-catering. The large hotel has no lift so guests with physical challenges should stay on the ground floor. There is a range of rooms- sea facing, non-sea facing. Each room is individually furnished with heritage Cape architecture. We stayed in the “new section”.

We had room with a stunning view of the ocean and my fave – a walk-in shower (a shower without a ledge or lip). Rooms at the Windsor have different bathroom configurations – shower in the bath, shower with ledge etc. When booking, request according to your wish list. A walk-in shower is at the top of my list. Often with heritage hotels, bathrooms can be in disrepair and it was wonderful to see the attention to bathrooms in the Windsor. It looked like a recent addition.

The hotel has excellent Wi-Fi– fast and with no delays in getting on the network. I was impressed with the ample plug points – often a downfall of older hotels. There are no USB points so take your charger but there are two pin plug points. The mattress was comfortable and the room was well appointed with a mini fridge and tea making facilities. Our room had small bar fridge. Other rooms have larger fridges. Each room is individually furnished which makes it a lovely change from bland hotels where everything is the same.

There is a combination of Cape Dutch and Victorian architecture with sitting areas popping up across the property. There is quirky fish tank, just off the reception area and a delightful sitting room with a fire place.

I love the retro feel of the hotel – keys rather than key cards with electronic chips and lights which must be switched on by hand. It is a personal thing, but I enjoy the charm, of a heritage property, retaining aspects of its features as does the Windsor. There are areas in the hotel which could do with some TLC. We can all do with upgrades. A big draw of this independently run hotel, is the amazing staff. The vibe is warm and welcoming. There is complimentary port and wine in the lobby in the afternoon.

The 2024 FynArts Festival ended on June 17 but its flagship public art exhibition, Sculpture on the Cliffs, will stay up until June 20235, at Gearings Point, (diagonally opposite the Windsor). Get to the Windsor during our winter and gaze at the Southern Right whales breeding and chilling out in the water. (July – November) and book for FynArts 2025 as soon as bookings open. See

King Charles in Hermanus: The origins of the Windsor Hotel in Hermanus, goes back to 1896/7, when the Sanatorium , a facility for tuberculosis patients opened its doors. It “attracted both local and foreign tuberculosis patients who wished to recuperate and be treated in the ‘champagne air’ for which Hermanus has always been famous.” See The Santorium continued operating until 1931 when David Allenzensky bought the property. After cruising to England on the Windsor Castle, he changed the name from the Sanatorium to The Windsor Hotel and he changed his surname to Allen. The Windsor Hotel as we know it, opened officially in 1896. Pic: Robyn Cohen/TheCapeRobyn.
Chromatic Colour: The Windsor Hotel is a proud supporter of the annual. FynArts Festival in Hermanus. The exhibition, Chromatic Colour was hosted in June 2024, during FynArts 2024. Pic: Robyn Cohen/TheCapeRobyn.
Glorious views: Aerial shot of the Windsor Hotel, Hermanus, overlooking Walker Bay. Pic supplied.
Room with a view: Ahh the view! Get a room which faces the ocean at the Windsor Hotel, Hermanus. Pic: Robyn Cohen/TheCapeRobyn.

✳ Featured image by Robyn Cohen/TheCapeRobyn. The Cape Robyn was hosted by Windsor Hotel, Hermanus and FynArts Festival.