History Of The Windsor Hotel

The Windsor Hotel, built as the Sanatorium in 1896 has a long and proud history of 123 years.


Dr Joshua and his brother Willem, built The Sanatorium. Dr Hoffman had his consulting rooms in the Sanatorium for local patients and the facility also attracted both local and foreign tuberculosis patients who wished to recuperate and be treated in the 'champagne air' for which Hermanus has always been famous.

The hotel was built in 1896 by Benjamin Rainsford, who was commissioned by Dr Joshua Hoffman and his brother, William. Rainsford was a well-known stone-mason from Riviersonderend. After completing The Sanatorium, he decided to stay on in Hermanus.

Dr Hoffman was married to Maria Smuts, the sister of General Jan Smuts. General Smuts himself frequently stayed at the Sanatorium. Whenever he did stay, he took an early morning dip in Fick's Pool and often walked up the mountain above Mountain Drive in Northcliff.


After the retirement of Dr Hoffman, the building was purchased as a sanatorium by Parker and Kruger.


Purchased, still as a sanatorium, by Mrs. Margaretha Steyn


David Allenzensky bought the Sanatorium in 1931. During a burst of activity, he constructed the west wing. (Dining room/Kitchen, 50’s bedrooms upstairs)

The entrance arch to the Main Road, with a bold ‘Windsor Hotel’, was also built. After a trip to the UK on the Windsor Castle, a mail boat so impressive, that the Windsor name and Hotel title came into being. He changed the name from the Sanatorium to The Windsor Hotel. (He also changed his surname to ‘Allen’)


Alex Luyt bought Windsor in 1940, when Hermanus was experiencing one of its hey-days: troop ships in Cape Town and servicemen taken for a drive – Hermanus just within the 100-mile-limit fuel restriction – Voila!

The Hotel was the stay of choice for rock anglers, from across the world, for 20 years. Alex Luyt himself represented South Africa in a few angling competitions. The variety of fish found off the Hermanus coast line, was a huge attraction in those days.


Bill & Phil Record took over custodianship of the Windsor in 1958.
They ran it for several years - gaining local support, by Saturday night dances with leading “name” bands from Cape Town, “A Rand for a Rump, or Kreef”- when all the other hotels closed during the quiet times.


Humberto & Telentino Cordosa purchased the Windsor- They lived in Ceres, Western Cape and employed managers to run the establishment. After a few bad years, the Hotel was on the market. (on the property market for over 2 years) The building was vacant from 1979 to 1981.


In 1980, The Windsor Hotel was bought by Basil Clark-Brown. His strong determination and will, as well as his ever supporting and committed wife - Mrs Eve Clark-Brown - set about restoring the Windsor to its former glory.

Rapid and intense upliftment followed. The 15 small bedrooms in the entire Old Lady were combined to allow for more spacious rooms, with en-suites.  (3 small bedrooms became 1 large en-suite bedroom). The 15 small rooms became 5 large en-suite bedrooms.

Additional buildings were added, including the East Wing. The East Wing is a 3 storey lodge with 54 units. (Sea and mountain facing bedrooms) The land was previously a parking area.

The entrance to the Windsor was originally from the Main Road. This was changed to the sea-facing side of the Hotel, on Marine Drive. The combined refurbishment and new accommodation wing, paved the way for the ‘major change opening’ - end of 1989.

The Hotel was run with a full-service kitchen. Pub lunches and the traditional Sunday lunches were also enjoyed.

1996 Until present

Garth Clark-Brown and his wife Etrica ("Trish") purchased the Windsor Hotel from Basil in 1996.

In 2005, Garth purchased the Main road premises (previously Boland/BOE Bank). The building was converted into a separate office block, with 10 additional courtyard bedrooms. Garth & Trish closed the full kitchen service, as the number of excellent eating outlets increased to over 80.

In the period of 3 years (2017 - 2019) Garth has renovated the entire Windsor Hotel. He started with the ground floor bedrooms and worked his way through the 1st floor and 2nd floor. After the bedrooms he renovated the reception, breakfast room, lounges, annexure building and self catering apartments.

Garth concentrates on producing the best value for money breakfast in Hermanus.

Under the current ownership and watchful eye of Garth, The Windsor Hotel continues their traditional hospitality and stylish waterfront living with all the comforts you expect.

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