Canal views with accommodation on the canals
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Thesen Island: Enjoy paradise at The Turbine Hotel & Spa

Deutsche Fassung German translated articles
Thesen Island Knysna Houses on canals
Our balcony view of our room at The Turbine Hotel and Spa, Thesen Island, Knysna Houses on canals

Prepare yourselves for an extraordinary stay at The Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa on Thesen Island. This extraordinary hotel is enveloped in history, luxury, and a commitment to sustainability.

Nestled in the heart of Knysna, this erstwhile power station now promises a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences. From breathtaking views to thrilling adventures, it’s an escapade you don’t want to miss.

Also watch our highlight of The Turbine Hotel on our Instagram page 

Enjoying Breakfast on our balcony at the Turbine Hotel and Spa with views of Thesen Island
Enjoying Breakfast on our balcony at the Turbine Hotel and Spa

Where is Thesen Island?

Thesen Island started as a sawmill and processing factory belonging to the Barlow Rand Group. In 1998, the piece of land was approved for a marina development to end the pollution caused by the industries. 

Today, Thesen Island comprises 19 artificial islands linked by 21 arched bridges with tidal canals in the Knysna estuary. Many of the historical buildings, such as the Boatshed, Saw Tooth Building (Old Dry Mill), and The Power Station (now home to the Turbine Hotel) were retained. To view a map of Thesen Island, click here

Views of Thesen Island showing the canals of the Knysna Lagoon
Views of Thesen Island showing the canals of the Knysna Lagoon

What makes The Turbine Boutique and Spa unique?

Housed within a once-thriving power station, this exquisite hotel now serves as an oasis of relaxation and excitement in equal measure on the renowned Thesen Island in Knysna.

This fully restored Boutique Hotel is one of the most unique hotels in the world. The ‘old’ power station was a genius remodelled into a modern, first-class Boutique Hotel and Spa. And that is where the resemblance stops. 

The four imposing steam towers are still cleverly visible, but with industrial and eclectic decor, the stylish five-star Turbine hotel exuberates comfort, elegance, and class. A unique surprise lurks around every corner, from the colourful ‘old’ machinery and pipes to the modern rim-flow pool with canal views. With one-of-a-kind objects painstakingly preserved and exhibited, each suite is unique, unforgettable and surprisingly romantic.

The best hotel on Thesen Island, The Turbine Hotel & Spa

The 90-seater Island café restaurant is enveloped with the original turbines while the outside terrace tables overlook the canals.

The highlight of our stay was the scrumptious breakfast-for-two delivered to our balcony by Cynthia and Likhona. Their signature spinach and salmon omelette is the best we ever tasted!

And if you need some rest and rejuvenation, book a relaxing treatment (from massages to facials) at their superior spa, which even features a Rhassoul steam room. We can highly recommend their massages. Ask for Thembinkosi; she is excellent!

The amazing kitchen staff (Cynthia and Likhona) setting up an unforgettable breakfast in our room
The reception area of the Turbine Hotel, with glass floor featuring the original turbine engines below
The reception area of the Turbine Hotel, with glass floor featuring the original turbine engines below
The unique interior of the Turbine Hotel. The dining area features the olf Turbine engines
The unique interior of the Turbine Hotel. The dining area features the old Turbine engines
The whimsical interior of the Turbine Hotel. The old turbine engines and equipment is painted in bright colours to create a chic and modern atmosphere
The whimsical interior of the Turbine Hotel. The old turbine engines and equipment is painted in bright colours to create a chic and modern atmosphere. The Turbine Hotel creates an atmosphere that makes guests feel as if they are in an exquisite art gallery.
The al fresco terrace of the Bistro Bar
The al fresco terrace of the Gastro Pub at the Turbine hotel
Bernie at the entrance of the Turbine Hotel & Spa
Bernie at the entrance of the Turbine Hotel & Spa
The friendly Spa ladies

What type of accommodation is available at The Turbine Boutique and Spa?

We stayed in Canal Room with many whimsical touches and incredible canal views
We stayed in Canal Room with many whimsical touches and incredible canal views

Nolukholo, the friendliest lady from the front desk, accompanied us to our room and explained the many activities in and around the hotel.

Turbine Hotel offers guests a choice between 17 standard rooms, six luxury rooms, a honeymoon suite and two self-contained suites adjacent to the hotel. Instead of room numbers, each room is carefully named after its location. 

We stayed in the canal view room (202) with the most incredible view; it is easy to feel you have stepped into a postcard. Our spacious room had an en-suite bathroom featuring a bathtub, shower, and double vanities. Our coffee and tea station had everything we wished for and was topped up daily.

We loved the cosy balcony from which we could enjoy a refreshing glass of champagne and even their delectable breakfast.

A bonus is that some of the most beautiful boutiques and restuarants are within walking distance of the hotel.

The exterior of the Turbine Hotel and Spa, Thesen Island Knysna
The exterior of the Turbine Hotel and Spa, Thesen Island Knysna

Best features of The Turbine Hotel on Thesen Island

The stunning rim-flow pool next to Island Cafe Restaurant
The stunning rim-flow pool next to Island Cafe Restaurant

There are many exciting activities available such as Ocean sailing charters, scooters, the Motorcycle Room, Oyster tours, and many more. Inquire from reception about an all the activities on-site or nearby.

We have been on several charters before, but this one is in a class of its own. From that moment, we were greeted by the super-experienced and professional skipper and owner, Neil van Deventer. His formidable team, comprising Mirandie the hostess and Andre, the deckhand, ensured we were treated like royalty. 

We booked a trip with Lara Bella, who smoothly navigated her way through the Knysna heads and back, circling the lagoon to give us the ultimate sunset experience. On board, you will receive a complimentary ice-cold glass of champagne and a delicious braai on board prepared by the team. And if you’re lucky like us, you might spot some whales. The charters leave from Sirocco jetty, only a few meters from the Turbine Hotel. 

We encourage you to step on board any three of their fleet of catamarans named Ocean Rhythm, Lara Bella, or Luna Bella, and you are guaranteed to feel revitalised by the beauty of the sunset and ocean.

If you still wondering what to get someone special for Christmas, they sell great gift vouchers!

If you have not watched our Instagram reel about our trip with Ocean Sailing Charters, please check it out now. 

Must visit attractions near The Turbine Hotel on Thesen Island, Knysna

Good to Know

Due to the hotel’s location (on the lagoon’s banks), no children under 12 can be accommodated.

How to make a booking at The Turbine Hotel?

Contact numbers:+27 82 551 3019

WhatsApp: +27 (0) 44 050 3500

Email address: book@turbinehotel.co.za

Website: https://www.turbinehotel.co.za/rooms/

How to get to The Turbine Hotel on Thesen Island?

From Knysna Central, navigate to Long Street, the main road onto Thesen Island, and then make your way onto Sawtooth Lane (a rather strange name for a street, don’t you agree?). The Turbine Hotel is centrally located near Thesen Harbour Town, which is an easy stroll away.

Some of our favourite moments at The Turbine Hotel and Spa on Thesen Island

Enjoying our morning coffee against this magnificent Back drop - Views of Thesen Island and the canals
Enjoying our morning coffee against this magnificent Back drop - Views of Thesen Island and the canals
Petra enjoying sunrise on our magnificent balcony of the Turbine hotel on Thesen Island
Some of the activities on offer nearby the Turbine Hotel
Some of the activities on offer nearby the Turbine Hotel
Imagine enjoying a heavenly breakfast on your balcony
Imagine enjoying a heavenly breakfast on your balcony
If you're fascinated by the history of this hotel, there are many artifacts and documentation on display at the hotel
If you're fascinated by the history of this hotel, there are many artifacts and documentation on display at the hotel
The stylish lounge area of the Turbine Hotel on Thesen Island
The stylish lounge area of the Turbine Hotel on Thesen Island

Top 10 things to do in Knysna

Here is our list of top 10 things to do in Knysna:

  •  View the Knysna Head from the lookout point (Follow the road to Barview Cresent – there is an allocated parking area, walk on foot to the view points) The East Heads is easier to access.  The only way to see the West Heads up-close is by sailing charters from the Knysna Lagoon.
  • Do whale watching from May to December.
  • Take a cruise on the Knysna Lagoon
  • Visit Knysna waterfront
  • Go to Brenton-on-Sea for the best sunset views
  • Swim at Buffalo Bay
  • Explore the beautiful boutiques around Thesen Island
  • Learn to surf at Victoria Bay
  • Do Beach hopping; our favourites are Brenton-on-Sea and Buffalo Bay.
  • Try the famous Knysna Oysters.

No Hurry To Get Home is another great travel blog with  more tips for you about things to do in Knysna

What is next on the blog?

Subscribe to our blog to ensure you don’t miss our follow-up article, which gives you an insider’s view of the luxurious St James of Knysna.

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About Author

As a freelance travel journalist and seasoned business professional, Bernie van der Linde has made it her mission to explore the world's most unique and luxurious destinations. With a PhD in business studies from the University of South Africa, Bernie has channeled her passion for travel, web design, and writing into founding the travel blog Travel Buddies Lifestyle. Here, she shares her adventures alongside her best friend and travel business partner, Petra, who seamlessly translate and compile articles relevant to their German and European audience.

Bernie's love for exploring new places has taken her to some of the world's most exotic locations. Whether gazing out at the glittering skyline of Dubai or enjoying the tranquillity of a private beach in Mauritius, Bernie is always looking for unique experiences that will inspire and entice her readers to travel.

Through her thoughtful writing and unparalleled passion for travel, Bernie van der Linde has made a name for herself in the world of travel writing. Her knack for uncovering hidden gems and sharing her experiences with her readers has made her a trusted source of inspiration for those looking to explore the world in style.

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