A stay on Thesen Island at The Turbine Boutique Hotel

On my recent weekend trip to Knysna I was fortunate to stay in the heart of Thesen Island – at Turbine Boutique Hotel.

This unique boutique hotel delivers stylish 5 star luxury and is ideally situated for those looking to stay centrally with the convenience of having adventure activities, exclusive shopping and vibey restaurants on their doorstep.

This was my first stay on Thesen Island and I can certainly see the appeal. Aside from the beauty of being located on the edge of the enchanting Knysna lagoon, we were able to enjoy a variety of activities on Thesen Island itself and then walk back to the hotel for a nap, shower, spa treatment or meal when desired!

The Turbine Hotel & Spa, a converted power station with four imposing steam towers visible from afar, is also one of the most interesting hotels I have stayed in. Originally built as a power station in 1939, the last day of operation as a power station was 26 June 2001. The site was sold to the current Hotel owner and operators, Geoff Engel and Dandre Lerm-Engel, in September 2007 and after three years the one of a kind hotel opened on 12 August 2010.

I loved how all the old machinery that was used in this power station has been lovingly restored and forms an integral part of the hotel’s industrial chic aesthetics. You eat amongst massive turbines in the restaurant and there are brightly coloured pipes that form part of the funky décor at every turn. The industrial feeling of bare bricks and huge whitewashed walls is the perfect backdrop to the gorgeously designed interiors that include all sorts of unusual instruments placed around the hotel as a reminder of its’ history.

At this centrally located Knysna boutique hotel, no two rooms are the same, each has a unique character that reflects the natural beauty of the setting. Spread across six different wings – the Garden Wing, the Lagoon Wing, the Lookout Suites, the Regatta Wing, the Forest Wing, and the Thesen Wing – there are a choice of 17 standard rooms, 6 luxury rooms, a honeymoon suite, and 2 self-contained suites adjacent to the hotel.

The décor of the Lagoon Wing makes use of soft aquatic hues and pale greens of the eelgrass and reeds that line the famous estuary, while in the Regatta Wing you’ll find nautical tributes. All rooms boast large, comfortable king-sized beds and en-suite bathrooms with a separate shower and bath. Each of the rooms provides luxurious amenities such as a flat screen TV, WiFi, a fully-stocked mini bar, and a tea and coffee station.

My room, the Reed Suite, was situated above the pool deck and offered stunning views of the canals.

Located within the property is the Turbine Spa offering guests a wide variety of relaxing treatments from massages to facials and a Rhassoul Steam Room.

There are two restaurants on site – the excellent Island Café offers a few seating options – choose to enjoy lunch pool-side and enjoy the view of the canals from the deck or sit inside amongst the art- and steel-work.

The Gastro Pub is the perfect spot to catch the latest sports match while sipping on something from the extensive drinks menu or enjoy a light meal as the sun sets and the music lifts.

During our stay we were able to enjoy a few of the most popular Knysna activities offered by on-site Turbine Waterclub, including a sunset cruise on the Knysna Lagoon and kayak hire around the canals.

They can also arrange forest walks and we ventured out in our spacious Ford Tourneo to enjoy an early morning “circle in the forest” walk near Rheenendal at the site of Dalene Matthee’s memorial.


With a fascinating history, quirky interiors and an exciting local art collection, the Turbine Hotel is a destination in itself and certainly one that will stand out in my memory long after my stay.


Special offer

Take advantage of this special offer for stays at The Turbine Hotel from 1 May – 31 August 2021.

Rates below are per night per couple sharing

Week nights (Sun – Thurs)

Standard: R 1 500.00

Luxury: R 1 800.00

Suite: R 2 100.00

Weekends (Fri & Sat)

Standard: R 1 800.00

Luxury: R 2 200.00

Suite: R 2 500.00


Contact details

Tel: +27 (0) 44 050 3500/ +27 (0) 62 403 0493

Email: book@turbinehotel.co.za

Web: turbinehotel.co.za/contact/


TH 36 Sawtooth Lane
Thesen Islands
Knysna, South Africa

GPS Co-ordinates: 34.04861º S; 23.048708º E

Google PlacesThe Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

  1. Hi

    I always enjoy your blogs! Thank you for the info on Turbine Hotel. We have been wanting to visit Knysna for the longest time!

    1. Hi Edwina. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m so pleased you found this post valuable. I know you’ll have an amazing stay at Turbine. Knysna is one of my favourite places!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.