South Africa expects to grow its tourism numbers to 21-million by 2030. While the number sounds extensive, in light of a sluggish local and global economy - there is no taking away from the amazing attractions and rich cultural heritage that it offers as a business and leisure destination.
With that said, exceptional and varied accommodation is part and parcel of a world-class destination. With many fantastic offering already in the mix, there are quite a few new developments visitors and locals can look forward to.
From expanding the visitor experience in South Africa's flagship national park to giving visitors to our cosmopolitan cities a limited services offering that encapsulates only the must-have frills, excluding the unnecessary fuss - these are a few exciting developments taking place across SA.
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Design-focused hotel opens downtown Cape Town
Gorgeous George, a cool downtown hotel in the heart of Cape Town, officially opened in April this year. Created out of two beautifully restored heritage buildings, it’s the first hotel in Cape Town to join the Design Hotels stable, a hand-selected worldwide collection of privately owned and operated hotels.
Originally built by the United Building Society, the hotel’s entrance is Art Deco, while the conjoined building boasts traits of the New Edwardian style of the 1940s. The biggest challenge in marrying the two buildings was their different heights, and the solution gave rise to the tower that hosts the rooftop pool, and allowed for the bar and restaurant to be on the same level as the pool. There’s also a first floor events space that can accommodate up to 150 people seated banquet style.
The uniting design embraces each building’s architectural features, while at the same time allowing for different moods depending on the viewer’s perspective, for instance, one façade has window frames of steel while another has the original oak surrounds. Interesting concrete and steel structures are incorporated throughout the hotel.
Kruger Shalati Train Bridge hotel to open in December
The new Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge is set to be a chic, unique stay option opening up in December, offering the ultimate in bush experiences.
The fixed train hotel will be built on top of the Selati Bridge in Kruger National Park above the Sabie River, where the first visitors to the park once made their stopover before its roads were built. The train, in its stationary position with an external walkway attached to the bridge structure, allows the Kruger Shalati rooms to be much larger than the expected traditional train compartment-style room - complete with floor-to-ceiling windows.
The Afro-chic hotel will have 24 en-suite rooms able to sleep 48 guests, with another seven rooms in adjacent Kruger Shalati Bridge House accommodating 14 beds on land next to the bridge.
PICS: The new luxury train hotel on Kruger's Selati Bridge will make your jaw drop
Tsogo's budget brand set for Joburg and Cape Town
Tsogo Sun Hotels is celebrating 50 years of hospitality in SA, as the country’s biggest hotel group. The company was founded in 1969 with the launch of six Southern Sun Hotels by SA Breweries and Sol Kerzner, today it consists of 110 hotels and a 60% interest in Hospitality Property Fund.
As a brand Tsogo Sun continues to innovate, now extending its portfolio in the budget stay offering with its new ‘limited service’ hi Hotels. Similar to the group’s other select service brands, Sun Square, Garden Court and StayEasy, the first development is underway in Montecasino, with a 123-room site that will launch in December.
A second hotel planned for Silverstar Casino in Muldersdrift during 2021.
Guest booking with this ‘Limited service hotels’ typically are looking for the basics, excluding things like large conference facilities, banquet halls and internal restaurants.
PICS: The R40K a night Presidential Suite and more stunning new rooms at The Westin Cape Town
17th Century, lifestyle hotel opening in Cape Town
Labotessa, a 17th-century congregational church now turned lifestyle hotel, will open in Cape Town in August 2019.
Originally built in the early 1700s, the intimate, seven-roomed property is one of the oldest buildings in South Africa. As the debut project in the Labotessa portfolio by first-time hoteliers Jan Fourie and Johan du Plessis - they have "melded heritage and old-world elegance with visionary new world design".
Situated in a restored national monument structure in the heart of the city, it is the only hotel on historic Church Square. This landmark lifestyle property expects to blend luxury and personal service with the independence of residential living.
Each of the hotel’s seven spacious suites features private elevator access, a balcony and sweeping views of the city, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. On the ground floor, guests and locals can enjoy the newest outpost of Starling’s, a beloved local cafe utilizing organic and ethically sourced ingredients.
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First Club Med headed for SA
Club Med has been eyeing South Africa for a beach resort development for more than a decade and Durban has been pegged as the set location - with the estimated R1bn resort to be built at Tinley Town, just 10km from King Shaka International Airport in KwaZulu- Natal.
The Club Med is expected to open by 2022 and have 350 rooms and 50 villas located on 30 hectares.
Landowner, Tongaat Hulett Developments, has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Club Med for the development of the first international-branded beach resort in Southern Africa, with the resort to form part of its ambitious new mixed-use resort town development. Reports indicate it will be built on a secluded southern side of the Umhlali River on prime land, currently home to fields of sugar cane. It has direct beach access and overlooks the Indian Ocean.
Added to this, Durban is expecting to see major economy-boosting tourism projects, with Economic development and tourism MEC, Sihle Zikalala outlining the "north coast Blythedale Coastal Resort, valued at R350m", with added tourism projects planned for the city of Durban, including "a R40bn Point Waterfront revamp".
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