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Esplanade closes doors

The Hermanus Esplanade has closed its doors.

Hermanus Times learned this week that this popular holiday accommodation in Marine Drive, closed its doors after 52 years. The owners of the Esplanade were granted demolition approval by Heritage Western Cape. The Overstrand Heritage and Aesthetic Committee, however, appealed this decision arguing that the Esplanade adds to the sense of place of Hermanus.

The owners now have to submit replacement plans for consideration. (“Esplanade plans must retain original style”, Hermanus Times, 21 February 2019).

The Esplanade website www.hermanusesplanade.com simply says that “Hermanus Esplanade is closed for business”.

Garth Clark-Brown of Hermanus Esplanade explained to Hermanus Times that for many years the Hermanus Esplanade has been battling escalating running costs, high maintenance and declining turnover. “This led to the recent decision to close its doors.”

Clark-Brown says that issues of safety, fire and electricity and the necessity to comply with regulations would have added enormous costs to a complex that was already struggling financially. “Plans to redevelop the site have been submitted to the municipality to gauge what options are available to the owners, but these are at a very early stage and decisions still need to be taken on the future of the property.”

The Esplanade was erected in 1927 by a man named Johan Stemmet and was then named Stemmet’s Private Hotel. Then, in 1967, Basil Clark-Brown acquired the Esplanade Hermanus Hotel as well as the Ocean View and the Windsor Hotel.

He demolished the Ocean View Hotel and had Sea View Cottages built in its place which is still standing today. Over the next 30 years that followed he altered the Esplanade extensively, as the building had been very run-down when he bought it, to such an extent that much of the historic nature of the building itself was lost.

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