A three star hotel with a four star service, that is what ANEW Hotel Hluhluwe & Safaris offer their guests.
When I was invited to experience the launch of their new hotel I could not contain my excitement. I get what they mean when they say 4 star, because once you drive in you are surrounded by opulence and luxury.
The ANEW Hotel Group was established by two KwaZulu-Natal businessmen, Clinton Armour and Patrick Eliot. Their other offering is Ingeli Forest & Spa on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast.
Arrmour and Eliot are at the door ready to welcome us. During a light lunch, Armour tells us that their vision is to create a hotel brand that is “personal, distinctly different and unique in its own way.”
Formerly the Protea Hotel Hluhluwe, the hotel has received several soft refurbishments. The five star lodge will allow families and groups to enjoy a true bush experience. It will launch next month (October).
Inside my twin room, I am confronted by the warmth of the small town, with beautiful artworks adorning the walls. The theme of grey, green and white fill the room, providing a sombre to the stay. The rooms are equipped with free WiFi, a flat screen television and tea and coffee making facilities.
Like any new hotel, the smell of renovation is fresh in the air. The hotel corridors are laden with stunning wildlife art, the same animals that could be found in the town.
My favourite was an elephant mural outside the hotel’s car parking. While not a game reserve, the hotel has incorporated game drives as part of their offerings. Guests wanting a game drive will be transported by a vehicle to a game reserve close by.
Other activities that one can enjoy include Emdoneni Cheetah Project, whale-watching or fishing at St Lucia Estuary and diving at Sodwana Bay.
What I loved about my stay is the personal touches by the hotel. Staff went out of their way to make guests feel at home.
Their food is top class and their breakfast spread can be compared to a five star offering. They do not skimp on quality either. In other words, every meal laid out is made with love.
Boma dinners, which we enjoyed on our first night, can be arranged. Filled with zulu dances, bonfires and soothing music, I recommend one to anyone visiting.
Their desserts were delightful, enough to want me going in for seconds.
I suggest a visit, if you want to be close to the bush while enjoying the amenities that a hotel has to offer.
*Clinton Moodley was hosted by NEW Hotel Hluhluwe & Safaris.