The Marine is one of the Southern Hemisphere's most spectacular seaside properties, with an incomparable cliff-top setting and sumptuously decorated rooms. Perched on the cliffs overlooking Hermanus's Walker Bay, the sea-facing rooms, some with private balcony and all with underfloor heating, provide whale-watchers with grandstand views over the bay. The decor is a tad conventional; there are four-poster beds, and the creams and beiges with touches of blue and white give the hotel a very refined, gentrified air. The Sun Lounge feels a whole lot more contemporary than the hotel, and you can linger over tea or drinks. The two restaurants tempt with sophisticated menus. Seafood at the Marine offers popular dishes such as beer-battered hake with hand-cut chips, shellfish linguine with a bacon-and-thyme cream sauce, and tandoori line fish. The Pavilion, with wonderful views of Walker Bay, serves up-to-the-minute fare such as pan-seared beef fillet and panfried line fish. Desserts are stunning,
making many diners wish they'd left room for more. Make time to visit the hotel's wine cellar, as it specializes in wines from the Walker Bay region. The Marine is surprisingly child-friendly and activities can be arranged, including whale talks by a local expert and interactive cooking classes with the chef.