The Windermere Hotel

Port Elizabeth, Garden Route & Eastern Cape, South Africa Book from R2090

Recommended awaiting i-escape review
Port Elizabeth’s first boutique hotel allows you to combine safari style with urban chic…
If you fancy doing some 'Big 5' game-viewing, but are put off by the thought of staying in a remote lodge on a dusty plain with little to do in the evening, then you’ll be pleased to discover this urban-chic hotel in Port Elizabeth. Staying at The Windermere, a stone’s throw from the sandy expanse of Port Elizabeth’s Humewood Beach, you can spend a half-day tracking elephants and other big mammals through the Addo National Park (1 hour’s drive away), then return in the afternoon for some swimming, surfing or even diving. Sunset calls for a cocktail, perhaps a spot of shopping or street music, followed by a fish braai (BBQ) at one of the city’s many seafront restaurants.

The hotel has just 9, exceptionally spacious, guest rooms plus there’s an airy guest lounge, a veranda and a lush garden with a small swimming pool - perfect for cooling off after a dusty day on safari. With predominately neutral décor, the overall effect is that of a calming retreat from the urban jungle beyond the hotel walls.

Highs

  • Port Elizabeth has lots of urban culture (bars, concerts, restaurants) and is a great option for people travelling the Garden Route
  • If you're not a fan of the safari lodge experience, The Windermere offers the best of both worlds, with easy access to malaria-free game reserves
  • Superb beaches with plenty of watersports
  • Spacious and luxurious bedrooms

Lows

  • Port Elizabeth is not the prettiest city, with ugly industrial suburbs - but the centre is pleasant and vibrant
  • While the hotel itself is a comfortable and safe haven, it is recommended that guests do not walk around the surrounding area after 10pm
  • The hotel only serves breakfast, so you'll have to dine out for lunch and dinner

Best time to go

The hottest months are October to March; at the height of summer the middle of the day can get unbearably hot. In winter (May-August) the days are sunny and warm.

Our top tips

For most first-time visitors 2-3 days in Port Elizabeth are enough. Often people visit at the start or end of the Garden Route before travelling onwards, or flying back to Cape Town or Johannesburg. But if you want to stay longer there is lots more to do.

Great for...

Beach
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 9
  • Breakfast only
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 27 Jun 2016 - 31 Dec 2018
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Gym membership
Room:

Rooms

After all that activity you’ll need a good night’s rest, and the 9 spacious suites at The Windermere deliver the goods. A soothing décor of muted browns, creams and greys relax sun-dazzled eyes, while air-conditioning and thick sliding windows keep the rooms cool and quiet. To revive your weary limbs, there’s a large bathroom with a bathtub, a separate power-shower and all kinds of cosmetic goodies; plus there's a sitting area with a sofa. Room #3 has a balcony with ocean views, though all guests have access to the starry cocktail deck. When you’re ready for bed, kingsize doubles (or twins) and soft percale linen cosset you to sleep.

The beds, like almost all of the hotel furniture, are custom-made by Haldene Martin, local ‘decorator of the year’, and installed under the eye of designer-owner Anne Read and her husband Clive. Their brief to architect Johan Lochner, who designed the 2-storey concrete-and-glass building from scratch, was to create one of the top boutique hotels in the area; and it appears to be achieving that, alongside more established names such as Kensington Place in Cape Town.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Wifi internet
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The hotel serves a breakfast of homemade preserves, seasonal fruit platters, jugs of freshly prepared juices and a variety of breads, croissants and muffins.

For dinner, there are several fish restaurants within walking distance, serving freshly-grilled crayfish, kingclip, prawns, sole and mussels in a lovely beachside braai; and there are dozens more eateries in the centre, including Thai, Portuguese and sushi places.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Minibar
  • Room service
  • Walk to restaurants
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The main draw must be the 2 excellent game parks 80km inland. One is the Addo National Park, originally an ‘elephant park’ (the re-introduction of buffalo and lions has allowed it to evolve to 'Big 5' status)

  • The second park is a private reserve at Shamwari, which in addition to the 'Big 5' boasts a conservation centre and an African ‘village’ with traditional arts and dancing, all of which are open to non-residents. Best of all, both parks are malaria-free (unlike the Kruger), though you will need to start early (around 7am) if you’re going to catch the animals before the heat of the day makes them lethargic

  • The other big attraction is the 40km stretch of sandy coastline around Port Elizabeth, starting a stone’s throw from the hotel at Humewood Beach. Swimming, body-surfing, snorkelling, windsurfing and jet-skiing are possible from the city’s beaches.

  • Divers can head to Hobie Beach (5km) to explore the coral reefs, wrecks and marine life - steenbras, red roman, musselcrackers, anemones, feather stars, sponges, not to mention the friendly bottlenosed dolphin - with Prodive, the only 5-star dive centre in the East Cape

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Trekking
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Children are welcome. Up to a maximum of 2 children under 12 may share a room with adults, on extra beds/mattress (a supplement applies). Children under 2 stay for free, and baby cots are provided.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by prior arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Children’s meals and high chairs are available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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