The Marine Hotel
In 1902 Beyers and McFarlane, who were brothers-in-law, bought land from Willem HT Hoffman and built the Marine Hotel. It was a much grander affair than their first hotel, the Victoria, although they still had no electricity or running water in the rooms. Many visitors came from Cape Town, overcoming the hardship of a three day ox-wagon ride. In 1915 the partnership between these two men ended and Valentine Beyers kept the Marine while McFarlane took the Victoria.
Soon after this new arrangement Pieter John Luyt, son-in-law of Valentine Beyers came to manage the hotel and when Beyers died, John became owner of the hotel, which he extended, enlarging the kitchen and added more rooms and bathrooms.
During the 1920s the Marine with its ballroom became extremely popular and many wealthy and famous people stayed there for holidays. Among them was Sir William Hoy who stayed at the hotel annually for many years. Princess Alice visited in 1923.
After John Luyt’s untimely death in 1940, the hotel was still run by the Luyt family. Joey Luyt and her daughters, with the help of Miss Hodgkin kept the Luyt tradition going and the Marine fame as high as before. When the hotel was eventually sold in 1947 to Continental Hotels with Mr Colbeck as manager, the Luyt era of more than three decades, ended.
In 1968 the hotel became known as Hinder’s Marine, when Mr Hinder of the Arthur Seat Hotel in Sea Point owned it. He developed the San Marino on the adjacent plot. It had extra bedrooms, a ballroom and casino. The manager at the time was Hans Mäjlman.
David Rawdon bought the Marine in the early 1980’s. He closed the hotel for four years while renovations were carried out. It was only in 1985 that the hotel was opened once more and over the following thirteen years the old hotel regained its former fame and glory.
Shortly before the end of the nineties, David sold to Liz McGrath of the renowned Cellars-Hohenort and The Plettenberg. More restoration followed and it opened with style and elegance as a five-star hotel.
The grand old lady are preparing for her first centenary celebrations with dignity as a world class hotel.
Information and copyright: S.J. du Toit Photos: Old Harbour Museum and Marine Hotel