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Wine Sunset at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

Sunsets and Oysters at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island

In Hotels, South Africa, Travel by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch1 Comment

We traded the sunsets and wine of the Cape Winelands for sunsets and oysters on the Knysna Lagoon when we stayed at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island. As far as trades go, this wasn’t a bad one.

Sundowner Snacks at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

Enjoying sundowner snacks and wine at The Lofts Boutique Hotel caps a wonderful day in Knysna.

After driving five hours up South Africa’s southwestern coast, we felt a million miles away from the Cape Winelands. In fact, as we pulled off the N2 and drove over the bridge from downtown Knysna to Thesen Island, we felt like we were on the Maryland shore but with better sunsets and plumper oysters. If you’ve been to the Maryland shore, you’ll know what we mean.

Knysna Oyster Video

Knysna South Africa, a coastal town known as the Pearl of the Garden Route, has epic views and an ideal climate, though we believe that this nickname is also related to the quality and quantity of the oysters available at restaurants in Knysna. We loved them so much that we filmed a Knysna Oyster video.

Knysna Oyster Fest on The Garden Route

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The Lofts Boutique Hotel Review

Hotel Entrance at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

The quaint entrance to the Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island provides a sneak peek of the picturesque Knysna Lagoon.

Located in the historic Boatshed building and fully renovated just a few months before our visit, The Lofts Boutique Hotel is stylish yet comfortable and offers a level of customer service that is attentive without being overbearing. And the views! Perhaps the best part of staying at this hotel is the magical view of the Knysna Lagoon at sunset.

Knysna Lagoon Sunset

Staying at The Lofts Boutique Hotel provides a front-row view of the colorful sunset over the Knysna Lagoon.

The Boatshed is an architecturally interesting building with high ceilings, cool shops, a popular café and plenty of places for hotel guests to relax with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. We loved walking on the catwalk rafters and peering down at the industrial building filled with gift shops and comfortable seating areas. The owners of the property used the 2016 fire to their advantage to create a captivating, open, modern space.

The Room

Bed at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

The Lofts Boutique Hotel’s Honeymoon Suite not only had great views of Knysna Lagoon but also a comfortable bed too.

The Lofts Boutique Hotel has a mix of suites, rooms and self-catering apartments. During our time in Knysna, we stayed in a loft-style suite with sweeping views of the Knysna Lagoon, a big bed, a flat-screen TV and unlimited Wi-Fi. Though the room would be perfect for couples on a South Africa honeymoon, it was also perfect for an established married couple like us.

Room with a View at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

The Knysna Lagoon views never stopped in our room at The Lofts Boutique Hotel.

We were tempted to lie in bed all day admiring the lagoon view through our room’s massive picture windows – let’s face it, we were tired after ten days of eating and drinking in the Cape Winelands. However, we couldn’t pass up on touring Knysna with its lovely vistas and savory seafood.

The Facilities

Splash Pool Sunset at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

The porch at The Lofts Boutique Hotel in Knysna provides glorious sunset views during a stay on South Africa’s Garden Route.

Though the hotel rooms are both stylish and comfortable, The Lofts Boutique Hotel provides a full experience for visitors to Knysna. First and foremost, the hotel’s splash pool is a tranquil oasis with an awesome view of the Knysna Lagoon – especially in the morning and at dusk. The hotel also has a canoe and bikes available for active guests as well as a variety of board games for less active guests.


Sunset through a Wine Glass in Knysna South Africa

The sun set over Knysna Lagoon and through our wine glass.

True confession: We didn’t use the canoe or the bikes during our visit. We didn’t even use the board games. However, we don’t feel like we missed out on a thing because we took full advantage of The Loft Boutique’s biggest asset – its sunset view by the splash pool.

For two glorious nights, we chilled by the pool with glasses of Chenin Blanc. One night, we shared the cheese plate pictured above while we watched the sun set over the Knysna Lagoon through our wine glasses.

Breakfast at Ile de Pain

Counter at Ile de Pain Bread on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

Located in the funky Boatshed building on Thesen Island, Ile de Pain features Austrian style pastries and amazing European style bread.

Since The Lofts Boutique Hotel does not have an on-site restaurant, the hotel provides guests with breakfast vouchers to dine at four local Knysna restaurants. One of the restaurants, Île de Pain, is located just steps away from the hotel.

Breakfast Sandwich at Ile de Pain Bread on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

More than just a pretty space, Ile de Pain Bread serves satisfyingly tasty food for breakfast and lunch.

Based on its name that literally translates to Island of Bread, we suspected that Île de Païn would have good bread. Husband and wife team Markus Färbinger Liezie Mulder did not disappoint us with their freshly baked bread nor with the rest of their food.

Apple Strudel at Ile de Pain Bread on Thesen Island in Knysna South Africa

Don’t miss the apple strudel at Ile de Pain. It’s the bakery’s signature pastry.

We enjoyed breakfast items like Fruit Pizza and Brioche French Toast so much that we stopped in the café one afternoon for coffee and apple strudel, the cafe’s signature pastry. We may have also bought some treats for the road, but that’s another story.

Knysna Oysters

Freshline Fisheries Oysters in Knysna South Africa

Oysters are plump and meaty in Knysna. We ate these beauties at Freshline Fisheries.

A visit to Knysna must include oysters.

After eating tapas and oysters at the aptly named Tapas and Oysters on Thesen Island for our first dinner, we dreamed about oysters and then ate them again the next day at Freshline Fisheries. Plump and meaty, Knysna oysters have a sweet taste that stood on their own.

We added Tabasco for an extra kick because we love the Louisiana hot sauce. Once you watch our oyster video (see above), you’ll understand.

Nearby Attractions

Barge at Sunset in Knysna South Africa

There’s no need to be bored in Knysna unless that’s the plan.

You won’t be bored when you stay at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island. Here are just a few of the ways that you can spend your free time:

The Lofts Boutique Hotel staff can assist you in planning any or all of these activities.

Transportation and Logistics

Cappuccino at Ile de Pain in Knysna South Africa

We like to drink cappuccinos when we plan our logistics. This one from Ile de Pain was a winner.

Getting to The Lofts Boutique Hotel

The drive from Cape Town to Knysna is under six hours, making The Lofts Boutique Hotel a perfect destination on a drive up (or down) the Garden Route. We recommend renting a car for the journey so that you can stop along the way at spots like Mossel Bay and George.

If travelers are not comfortable with driving on the left side of the road, other transportation options include travel by bus or plane (via the nearby George airport). Though there are train tracks, taking a train is not currently an option.

When to Plan Your Visit

Thanks to its geographic location, Knysna and Thesen Island have a moderate climate with favorable weather all year long. Days are longer and the temperatures higher in the summer, making the months of January to April extra desirable.

However, the annual Knysna Oyster Festival (10 days and 200,000 oysters) occurs during the winter. Decisions, decisions…

Headed to Cape Town? Check out our Cape Town Food Guide, Cape Town Coffee Guide and our Top 25 Things to Do in Cape Town.

Book Your Thesen Island Hotel

Click here to research rates for your Knysna accommodation on Thesen Island at The Lofts Boutique Hotel.

Start Planning Your Trip Now

We thank The Lofts Boutique Hotel for hosting us to facilitate this article.

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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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  1. Nice article with a lot of information. Really want to visit this island. keep sharing these kinds of articles.

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