What do Snoop Dogg, Clinton, Lennon, Bruni, Freeman, DeNiro and Ramsay have in common? They’re all famous, right, but not only! They all traveled in Southern Africa in the most luxurious hotels and lodges you can find. They did travel like stars.
In this month newsletter, we will tell you about their preferred hotels. From the dynamic city of Cape Town, to the remote wildlife of the Chobe National Park, with a stop at the incredible Victoria Falls, here are the most top-notch accommodations that Africa offers.
Just think about it… tempting right? Then why not try and imagine yourself like that with our special “Travel like a Star” itinerary?
Step back in time… luxury and style; you’ve arrived at the Mount Nelson Hotel. Unlike her sister hotel The Westcliff in Johannesburg, the Mount Nelson is right in the middle of the busy life of Cape Town, about 2 minutes walk from Long Street where all the night life happens. This iconic hotel remains the most famous of all in the Mother City and has kept its charm and character. Two colours come to my mind when I think of this hotel: Pink and Green! Their vast garden hosts treasures of nature. The background sets the perfect scenery for a memorable time. And what we especially enjoy is their renown Thursday evening, when all the ladies are cordially invited for a complimentary cosmopolitan. For others, it’s their afternoon tea. I have to say, I sometimes do both! Treat yourself to their Spa and enjoy their swimming pool. Yes, the towels are …. Pink!
Cape Town’s first ultra-luxury hotel in ten years takes opulence to another level! Here, the urban sophisticate can feel at home in the heart of the Waterfront, famous for its sensational views, world-class shopping and entertainment. Even the Hotel’s cuisine is designer, with celebrity chefs restaurants Nobu and Reuben on the menu. The vibey Vista Bar is a hot and happening party spot but me, I headed straight to the Wine Loft to sample some rare South African vintages! Sumptuous, spacious and well serviced describes the hotel’s 131 rooms and suites. You will want for nothing, with a dedicated 24-hour butler, nightly aromatherapy turndown service and pillow selection menu. The contemporary decor has more than a hint of South African flavour with interesting local artworks and dark woods offset against plush fabrics and furnishings in warm earthy African tones. After a hard day shopping, my oversized bath and rain shower were most welcome as was the hotel’s fantastic Spa, an idyllic retreat situated on its own island!
The Dunes Lodge is perched on top of a dune plateau, overlooking panoramic vistas in all directions and capturing the beauty of the desert in a most memorable way. Building style is a combination of wooden structures and canvas blinds, opening up to the desert beyond. The lodge reflects the ambiance of a tented camp, but provides the comfort and protection of a permanent building. Each of the nine spacious chalets with en-suite bathrooms supports a private verandah, which connects you to vast stretches of untouched sand. Sleeping with your canvas blinds open is just like sleeping under the stars. The main complex consists of two lounges, a number of sundowner decks, a fireplace, a tea deck, a library, the wine cellar and two dining rooms. The variety of recreational space makes a visit both exciting and relaxing.
As the only permanent lodge within the Chobe National Park, Chobe Game Lodge provides guests unrivalled access to all the natural beauty the park has to offer. Situated on the Chobe River, the lodge is as stunning as its surrounds and spared no expense in ensuring the stay is as comfortable as possible. I found the rooms the perfect combination of African culture and modern luxury, and the views breathtaking, yet tranquil. Recently refurbished, it now offers a wide range of handcrafted decoration and a beautiful and colored venue instead of a simple reception. With 47 rooms available the lodge is more than ready to cater to a family of getaway-seekers with a range of activities and facilities to keep everyone entertained. I loved lounging by the river and watching the traditional dancers and, of course, the lazy days spent by the pool. I also will never forget the game viewing, which is undoubtedly the main attraction here due to the abundant wildlife. It can be done in the traditional 4×4 or via a river cruise – both of which are perfect to evoke a deep appreciation for the timeless beauty of nature.
Being situated on the Zambezi River, just upstream from the iconic Vic Falls, the roaring waters and rainbow infused mist of this natural phenomenon can be experienced from The Royal Livingstone. But to get a true feel for this famous wonder of the world, there is helicopter and microlite tours, white water rafting (some of the best in the world) and even bungy jumping! Maybe when I work up my courage. But in the meantime, I opt for testing the African fusion cuisine of the hotel eight restaurants. Relaxed, casual, formal, indoor and alfresco dining… Whatever your mood, there is an establishment and menu to suit. Next? The idyllic river-side spa… Decor is all about colonial sophistication and sumptous luxury. My spacious en-suite room has its own private verandah overlooking the river, and with its cool white linens, elegant furniture and Victorian-style bath, I feel pampered and indulged…just the way I like it!
I feel like I’m on the set of Robinson Crusoe, idyllic white sands, turquoise waters, shimmering sunshine, and then I’m introduced to the exotic exclusivity of my villa. Ridiculously romantic with its four poster bed swathed in undulating muslin drapes, rich wooden floors (over 170m2 of it!), sumptuous day beds, sofas, plush marble bathroom and private deck … this is a rare kind of tropical luxury and privilege. All thirteen villas lie on the shoreline with exquisite views that energise mind, body and soul. As do those from the thatched open dining room and bar where I ease into a sofa, sundowner at the ready. You’ll find some of the best deep see fishing and dive sites in the world here (along with PADI dive instructors). But for pure relaxation there’s yoga and the spa’s superb energy and body treatments. Me? I’m in a state of natural harmony already…
The Singita Pamushana Lodge is nestled in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in south-eastern Zimbabwe and combines a life of absolute luxury and the untamed African bushveld for an amazing safari adventure. This 5-star lodge impressed me from the minute we drove up. It’s set against the magnificent Malilangwe dam and is made up of a myriad of beautifully designed thatch-roof buildings. With only six suites, the camp is very exclusive and the perfect spot for couples looking for a unique romantic setting, and don’t mind paying that little extra for the privilege. Activities at the camp range from the relaxing, like bird watching, Khoisan Art educational trips and game fishing, to the more exciting like game drives, black rhino tracking and more. I personally loved ending my days in the lodge pool, with a cold cocktail in hand and enjoying the magnificent sunset. So what’s my verdict? This lodge is just amazing and has made a major fan out of me. They will definitely see me again soon.
“The Royalty of the ThornyBush Private Game Reserve”, where luxury meets the wild, opulence meets nature, spacious yet intimate spaces, 5 star and personalized service, all of these words perfectly describes Royal Malewane. A place where one doesn’t only explore the splendour of the bush but gets to do it in style. Part of the Royal Portfolio, like its sister lodges (La Residence – Franschhoek,) no money was spared. The neo-classical style blends well with the bush, the suites boasts among their facilities, wooden decks, rim-flow pools and thatched gazebos, perfect to busk in the African Sun. You can choose to go on a game viewing activity with experience guide, or indulge in a Spa treatment, while the roaring sounds of African Wild, and birds keep you entertain, or how about indulging in the lodges “Chaine des Rotisseurs Blazon Cuisine” whatever you fancy, the Royal treatment awaits you…
Should you like it or not, you can’t have been to the Palace without leaving with a strange feeling of surprise and admiration. When you think twice, remember that there was nothing at all and that this entire extravaganza has been completely created by a very imaginative mind… What makes me want to come again and again besides looking at the baboons from my bedroom window and the incredible breakfast are the details that I keep on discovering whenever I go. As soon as I enter the drive way your eyes have so much to see during your stay that it will make this place, one of the greatest on earth. It’s not a hotel anymore, it’s a resort, it’s an enchanting world that has been recreated for you. I’ve always thought to myself that if you had to go to Sun City, you should stay at the Palace and experience it with luxury and abundance. No wonder most of the stars actors, singers and musicians have been drawn here… curious of what it was all about. And I am sure you as well…
Situated next to the historical and famous landmark, the Umhlanga lighthouse, The Oyster Box Hotel is one of South Africa’s best-loved and most distinguished hotels. Standing majestically on Umhlanga’s prestigious beachfront, with an abundance of colonial charm, sweeping views of the Indian Ocean, lush landscaped tropical gardens and direct beach access, the old world hospitality and gracious elegance is to be enjoyed by the guests. The place incorporate state-of-the-art technology to bring this legend into the 21st century, to satisfy today’s most discerning travellers who visit for business or pleasure. The stylish décor is an elegant combination of natural stones and woods; complemented by soothing, light colours and shades of the hotel’s beautiful surroundings. Guests and visitors will unwind in the distinctive charm of this grand hotel.
Shamwari meaning my friend in Shona, is the pinnacle of private game reserve and home to coveted Big 5. Stretching 25 000 hectares, over a malaria free landscape, it offers an award-winning nature experience and is one of the largest private conservation initiatives in Southern Africa. Shamwari is a place where guests can exist in harmony with nature however fleeting the moment where wildlife freely roam the landscape under the relentless African sun. Shamwari incorporates 5 Lodges, 1 villa and 1 explorer camp; each one unique with its own essence. Lodges are designed in harmony with their surroundings where guests can experience nature in sublime comfort.
by Morgane Chaix & Arsène Lefevre