Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
4 minute read
23 Jun 2021
12:53 pm

Top post-lockdown hotel renovations you need to know about

Renate Engelbrecht

Lockdown has seen a lot of innovative post-lockdown hotel renovations.

The Saxon Hotel Villas and Spa's well-known lobby. Image: Supplied

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused havoc among all industries, with the tourism and hospitality industry being the industry that has probably been hit the hardest. Still, many hotel teams utilised lockdown positively to improve their offering with innovative hotel renovations.

Hartford House refurbishments

The Kwazulu Natal Midlands’ Hartford House has undergone rather extensive hotel renovations during lockdown, offering guests a whole new experience of this historic manor house, built in 1875.

The operational flow of the hotel has been changed up a bit, moving all operations to the manor house, which makes things a lot easier for the Hartford House team. With the changes in the manor house came a new bar, which boasts a lovely colonial feel, as well as a new boardroom and a lovely reception area, which had always been apart from the manor house.

Some of the offices have been changed into lovely garden-facing rooms and they have renovated all veranda rooms, garden suites, pool suites and the executive suite.

Hartford House’s hotel renovations were focused on maintenance, refreshed interiors and attention to detail. They are currently in phase two of three, renovating the lakeside suites and the wellness centre will take priority in phase three.

Hartford House's new bar

The brand-new bar at Hartford House. Image: Renate Engelbrecht

Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa

During its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Joburg-based Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa have made a couple of hotel improvements on its already glamorous interiors, including the iconic Saxon reception area, Qunu Restaurant, the Cigar Library and the Olive Bar.

The well-known Dean Simon artwork, “Foresight and Hindsight – The Five Faces of Mandela” has been given pride of place behind the hotel’s reception desk. Qunu restaurant’s new look features a dramatic mural by Justin Badenhorst from Nomad. It was painted from a photo taken at the Saxon’s sister property, Shambala Private Game Reserve. They’ve also renovated the restaurant’s floor with a liquid marble flooring technique which combines well with the restaurant’s new colour palette. The restaurant also boasts a brand-new bar.

Managing Director, George Cohen says: “I look forward to welcoming guests back to the Saxon to share these exciting improvements with everyone. We have truly missed being able to offer our inimitable Saxon Journey…”

The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa reopened its doors to the public on 1 May 2021.

The Saxon Hotel's Qunu Restaurant

Qunu Restaurant’s liquid marble flooring technique is a great conversation starter. Image: Supplied

Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse’s clever conversions

What had been the bar and lounge for many years, posed as the perfect spot for Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse’s new Copper Pot Coffee Shop. “We found that with the loosening of the lockdown restrictions, a lot more day trippers to Highmoor were stopping in looking to have teas and lunches,” says General Manager, Dave Ward. They saw the opportunity for some innovative hotel renovations and converted the bar and lounge into what is now a lovely coffee shop boasting all kinds of treats, including the views.

The owners, Richard and Mouse Pointon’s homestead was also converted into the most exquisite self-catering unit to accommodate larger family groups looking to travel (and isolate) together.

There are also some Picnic Pods in the pipeline for Spring. These will be located on the banks of the Little Mooi River, accommodating couples or families who would like to experience Cleopatra, but keep their distance from other guests.

Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse's Copper Pot Coffee Shop

Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse’s new Copper Pot Coffee Shop boasts lovely views. Image: Renate Engelbrecht

The Capital Zimbali’s extensive revamp

The Capital Hotels and Apartments has recently been confirmed as the business rescue practitioner’s preferred bidder for the popular Zimbali Resort, which is now up for a R40 million hotel renovation.

The resort will be transformed into what The Capital Hotels and Apartments believes is the way forward, with more flexible, apartment-style suites offering guests the choice of staying in and preparing and sharing meals in a private living space.

The refurbishment project will also focus on public areas like the restaurants and pool areas.

A soft opening is planned for November 2021, with The Capital Hotels and Apartments hoping to be ready and running at full capacity for peak season in December. According to Managing Director, Marc Wachsberger, The Capital Zimbali will offer only the best of what guests have come to expect from the group, including exceptional service, elegant, sophisticated apartments, free, high-speed, uncapped WiFi, laundry services and parking. That’s in addition to the resort’s magnificent setting.

These are but a few of the many hotel renovations to explore locally.