Named after a British fishing vessel that ran aground after hitting an unchartered reef in 1826, the beautiful village of Britannia Bay straddles kilometers of undulating sand dunes along the West Coast’s golden mile. When the wreck was unearthed in 1998, perfectly preserved treasures of trade were discovered, including Indian earthenware pots, bottles of olives and traditional medicines, from the trunks of the East Indiaman ship. It’s not so serendipitous then, that the owner of Marrakesh House, parlayed her passion for travel, old tales and textiles into the build of her family beachfront hideaway.
Where old meets new, white meets blue and fine wine meets breathtaking views, Marrakesh House is a labour of love that has been built from the ground up inspired by holistic, contemporary beach living. With its upstairs A-framed polished pine and downstairs off-shutter concrete ceilings, this hideaway reveals its refined simplicity on both levels. Four dreamy en-suite bedrooms – adorned by Moroccan tiles and Indian throws – dart off from the long corridors that frame the courtyard and its ever-inviting swimming pool. With the ground floor bunk-room, “surfers” shower room, TV and table tennis room, and a half-pipe skateboarding ramp out the back adding the signature family fun into the mix. Vast, open living spaces adjoin tranquil, secluded nooks – partitioned by reclaimed wooden doors from an old-age Indian cricket club. An understated reference to Morocco continues inside from the open-air courtyard and buries itself into the built-in beds, bathrooms, and cement seating that’s cushioned in colour. An eclectic blend of worldly inspired design, and the owner’s inherited architectural influence permeates every room, alongside an exhilarating gust of ocean air.
With its all-encompassing and seductive interiors, urging you to recline in any of the many spots – including and especially the “martini” seat in the swimming pool for hours on end of sipping on just that – it’s mandatory to mention what’s happening just beyond the front deck. Five kilometres of white beach curves along the shoreline for long morning and evening walks (or runs if you must), with the perfect surf for all board enthusiasts. The notably warmer waters, courtesy of the Benguela current, allow for hours of practice, as you share the surf with the occasional pod of dolphin. Or perhaps you’d rather witness the wildlife from the warmth of the deck, with a bottle of the bespoke bordeaux blend that’s been chilling in the glass cellar. Watch the whales cruise through the currents as the fisherman haul in their day’s catch that’ll likely end up on the long dinner table for a typical evening of family feasting.
What we love!
- The open flow and feel of the home with its immediate access to the beach and unbeatable sea views.
- Although located along a remote stretch of West Coast shoreline, the property offers plenty of fun activities for the whole family to entertain themselves with, for days on end. Whether it be cooking up a storm in the kitchen, reading a book in the quiet sun-trapped nook on the deck, cycling around the village, or quite simply making the most out of beach life – it’s all here.
- The heated swimming pool that’s decent and deep enough for a few laps before meals. And of course the aforementioned “martini” seat!
- The wild sour fig plant that thrives amongst the dunes, spreading itself around the property, and bursting into colour during the flower season.
What you need to know…
- Though families are absolutely welcome, the property is not suitable to children under the age of five years old, due to the exposed swimming pool in the courtyard.
- The neighbouring village of Paternoster is a short drive away for some easy, laid-back lunches as well as some of the finest seafood dining in the country (and the world) at Wolfgat (if you manage to reserve a table).
- Russell’s on the Port in Velddrif is a wonderful spot for lunch when you fancy venturing away from the beach house for a bit of coastal exploring.
- Go local at Alegria in St. Helena Bay, and sample their famous Portuguese Peri Peri Chicken.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie