Turbine Boutique Hotel Thesen Island Knysna Garden Route

Turbine Boutique Hotel

The 5-star Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa is situated on Thesen Islands in Knysna. The intuitive architecture pays homage to the old power station it once was.  

Accommodation comprises luxury hotel rooms, standard rooms, a honeymoon suite and two expansive self-contained suites adjacent to the hotel.  Group bookings are welcome for weddings, small conferences, and events. The hotel is also home to the Island Café Restaurant with tables overlooking the canals, pool deck or nestled between the original refurbished turbines. The Gastro Pub offers classic pub meals with a delicious twist and lagoon sunset views.  

The Turbine Spa has a wide range of treatments for day visitors as well as hotel guests and, the hotel’s very own adventure centre, the Turbine Water Club, arranges a variety of water and land-based activities such as lagoon cruises, forest walks, city tours and bicycle hire.

Contact details:

Reservations Tel: 044 050 3500 

 Email: reservations@turbinehotel.co.za   


 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/turbinehotel/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheTurbineHotel

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/turbinehotel/

An interesting and steamy history

Knysna has a rich history spanning sailing ships, gold discovery and timber extraction to arguably become South Africa’s favorite holiday destination.

The Khoisan people originally inhabited the area until Dutch Settlers arrived in the 17th century. Knysna’s documented history began in 1804 with the arrival of George Rex, rumored to be the illegitimate son of King George III who subsequently opened shops, established a port and a timber business that exported hardwoods around the world.

The Thesen family moved from Norway to Knysna in 1870 and founded numerous business entities in the town, and in 1904 Charles William Thesen bought Paarden Island (now named Thesen Islands) and began processing timber on the Islands in 1922. Wood waste from the timber mill was subsequently used to start a power station which generated electricity from turbines and this eventually supplied the towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay with electricity until the mid 1970’s.

The various structures were relocated around the island, often without documented plans, and were part of the Eskom power grid for many years. The current power station site, which now hosts the Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa and Island Café, was built in 1939/1940.

Alarge industrial conglomerate, Barlows, purchased the logging operations on the Island in 1974 …read more about the history of Thesen Island and the Turbine Boutique Hotel.


A perfect place for pleasure, leisure and art aficionados is one of South Africa’s most unusual hotels, the quirky 5-star Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa.

Here, at the Turbine, you can always expect the unexpected…  situated on Thesen Islands, Knysna, this former power station, built in 1939 was transformed into the visually intriguing Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa in 2010. All the industrial trappings of the old power station – the gigantic generators, the electrical turbines, the original wood boiler and a multitude of exposed pipes and gauges and other pieces of machinery remain, and now these sensitively restored elements blend effortlessly with the modern, vibrant interior design.

“Come to the Turbine and you’ll be captivated by its unique decor and history, its quirkiness and eccentricity, and its art – a visual sensory feast awaits you,” says the Turbine Hotel’s general manager, Chris Schutte in announcing the Turbine’s latest update to its Art Collection.

“The Turbine has long been a proud supporter of our talented local and South African artists, and we’re honoured, once again to have our latest, updated collection curated by Corlie de Kock of the Knysna Fine Art Gallery.”

Corlie de Kock, a contemporary South African Artist and director at Knysna Fine Art, one of Knysna’s leading contemporary art galleries, uses a specific approach in creating the collections for the Turbine, carefully selecting works that blend with the culture of this unusual hotel.

“The current collection at the Turbine is both contemporary and decorative and has been selected to enhance the aesthetic of this unique space,” she explains.

“The collection includes contemporary and moody waterscapes (oil on canvas Light Surge and Passage) by Greg Schultz, abstract compositions out of multi-coloured ribbons by DP Ferreira, large colourful oils (Great Expectations, String of Pearls and Dissipation) by Jacqueline Griffin-Jones and works by photographer Glen Green and paintings by Herman van Wyk with a focus on our unique African continent, amongst others. This eclectic collection is accessible to a wide audience and is guaranteed to provide a unique experience.”

This wonderful collection adorns the walls of the Turbines’ bedrooms, foyer, courtyard and other spaces turning them informal art galleries – and if you see something that you like or fall in love with, you can buy it and take it home with you.

Yes – there is always something happening at the 5-star Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa – from an electric past to its eclectic present it has successfully combined elegance and flair with comfort and relaxation and is now a surprising sanctuary for holiday-seekers and art-lovers.

The 5-star Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa is situated on Thesen Islands in Knysna. The intuitive architecture pays homage to the old power station it once was. Accommodation comprises 26 rooms – luxury and standard rooms, a honeymoon suite and two expansive self-contained suites adjacent to the hotel. There are excellent conference facilities for business visitors – two conference rooms with free Wi-Fi, full audio-visual facilities and tailored catering packages. The recent installation of a generator ensures that load shedding outages are a thing of the past. Group bookings are welcome for events, weddings and small conferences. The Turbine’s 90-seater Island Café Restaurant, with inside tables nestled between the original turbines and its outside tables overlooking either the canal or the pool deck, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also monthly food and wine pairings. The vibey Gastro Pub offers classic pub meals with a delicious turbine twist on-tap draught beer, a comprehensively stocked cellar and glorious lagoon sunset views – perfect for the ‘Happy Hour’ every Friday evening with live music line-up of local musicians. The Turbine Spa has a wide range of treatments for hotel guests and day visitors and the hotel’s very own adventure centre – the Turbine Water Club – arranges a variety of water and land-based activities such as lagoon cruises, forest walks and bicycle hire.

Knysna Fine Art is a prestigious South African gallery with an international reputation and clientele. It operates from the historical Thesen House in Knysna and there are few galleries anywhere in South Africa that can boast of such a beautiful and spacious location. Whilst the Knysna Fine Art gallery focuses on South African artists, the gallery often exhibits the works of international artists, displaying a number of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. The gallery also works closely with a number of dealers and collectors and has sold works by a number of high-profile South African artists. 6 Long Street, Knysna, +27 44 382 5107.

May 2022

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