September heralds Heritage Month; a month set aside to celebrate our nation’s diverse culture and extraordinary heritage. This is also the month where South Africans celebrate tourism, an industry that was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a brand, ANEW Hotels & Resorts celebrates its heritage, culture fusion, and brand unity by honouring the environment of each of its unique properties.
ANEW Hotels & Resorts recently celebrated its fifth birthday. The brand launched from a family business originating in 1952 and is known for having a culture driven around its solid values and its heritage deeply rooted in South Africa. ANEW’s Social Media Manager, Madri Mostert shares some of the extraordinary cultural facts about the brand’s properties and how each one truly honours its environment and history.
The history of ANEW
Within one hour from Port Shepstone and two and a half hours from Durban, lies ANEW Hotels & Resorts’ first property, ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest. This amazing venue offers comfortable accommodation at the foot of the Ingeli Mountain range near Kokstad. From hiking through the serene forest to indulging in the rich scenic setting, endangered species and lush vegetation await in this beautiful stretch of nature. It has a rich and enticing history.
Ingeli Forest began as a roadside motel, built by Len Louwe in 1973. He owned vast timberlands and a sawmill in the nearby area. “In its early days, Ingeli Forest built up a good reputation with commercial travellers through excellent management and the promotion of the Kingdom of Ingeli with its very own passport. The passports of each visitor were stamped at each visit, and once fully stamped, visitors and their partners would receive a free weekend at Ingeli,” says Madri.
The Armour family, who own timberland and treatment plants in the area, purchased the motel in September 1992 after it became apparent that it had significant potential. In recent years the motel was then renovated and refurbished, adding new rooms, restaurants, a conference centre, and a chapel, which transformed it from a motel to a lodge and ultimately to a resort. By adding trails for walking, running, and mountain biking, ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest now attracts more families and promotes the use of its various trails through the indigenous forest. Oprah Winfrey has also been a guest at Ingeli in the past”, continues Madri, “it is the proverbial jewel in ANEWs crown”.
Hluhluwe Resort, rich in culture
ANEW Hotel & Resorts’ second property, ANEW Hotel Hluhluwe (The Old Lady), includes a five-star safari lodge that used to be the family home of current partners, the Eliot family. It guarantees a true cultural experience of the area and heritage for guests. Here the group employs residents from the area, who can truly amplify their guests’ experience, like the completely self-taught safari team. For example, Cela Manyanga, includes interesting historic facts & tales to enlighten the trip and gives a unique take on the area and its unique heritage. In addition to the game drives, ANEW Hotel Hluhluwe celebrates the rich heritage of Zululand by giving local youths from the community a platform to do Zulu dancing,” says Madri. “Here we honour our environment, by including people from the area to share with guests their heritage in a beautiful setting.”
The Hluhluwe property also features a tree of life, expected to be about 100 years old, situated close to the swimming pool. Madri continues: “Every day during the lockdown, Sadira Nayager (General Manager) went to switch on a light at the bottom of the tree to signify life and that life is still in abundance. The hotel is more than just a hotel, it’s a home for its employees as well – and truly such an immersive experience.”
The tale of Hunters Rest
With its perfect balance of comfort and adventure, ANEW Resort Hunters Rest is situated at the foothills of the majestic Magaliesburg Mountains in Rustenburg, in the North West. “Hunters Rest is an experience that embodies what a resort is all about. Family-oriented and great for couples, it has everything you need on the property, and the service is outstanding,” Madri says. “What is amazing about Hunter’s heritage is the location of the resort. This stunning property is based very close to The Cradle of Humankind,” she adds.
Adding a bit of history, Madri continues: “In 1929, a dam was established in the Hex river near Rustenburg for irrigation. Olifantsnek Dam can be viewed from the viewing deck at ANEW Resort Hunters Rest, which lies a 2,5km hike up the mountain on the hotel’s property.
The grand old dame, ANEW Hotel Hilton
The ANEW Hotel Hilton is an architectural jewel built in 1936 in the heart of the historical Hilton village. The property’s signature Tudor-style facade has become a beacon of connection (and celebration) for many local and foreign travellers who frequent the KZN Midlands Meander. The corridors of this renowned property have many stories to tell, and the walls are adorned with thousands of pictures peeking into the lives of guests who have enjoyed holidays, family visits, conferences, wedding receptions and all kinds of celebratory parties there. The signature timbered lines have become the personification of professionalism, and to this day, this unique property exudes a sophisticated old-English feel. The hotel is currently undergoing extensive refurbishments and the restaurant on the property will be renamed to its original The Copper Kitchen.
ANEW Hotel Green Point
One of the latest additions to ANEWs list of properties is most definitely one of the group’s most modern properties. ANEW Hotel Green Point gives you the experience you want when visiting Cape Town. Completely different in look-and-feel to the other properties in ANEW’s portfolio, the hotel is within walking distance from the V&A Waterfront and many famous local landmarks such as the Green Point Urban Park, Sea Point Promenade, and a host of other experiences. The rooftop deck offers visitors magnificent views, and the expertly designed modern rooms are environmentally friendly. With its close proximity to the Green Point stadium, it is a must-stay for any domestic or foreign traveller looking to explore Cape Town.
The ANEW legacy continues
ANEW Hotels & Resorts added its 15th property to its portfolio this year with ANEW Resort Vulintaba Newscastle and the group is continuing on its upward growth trajectory. The brand’s continued growth is a testament to its respect and appreciation for its various properties’ culture and history. The team aims to continue to innovate and leave a lasting impression both in South Africa and beyond, by honouring each environment they are set in.
About ANEW Hotels & Resorts
ANEW Hotels & Resorts has evolved as a family business that started in 1952. Family culture and attention to detail are firmly grounded in their people, and the group prides itself on the personal touch. The ANEW Hotel & Resorts Group owns and manages various properties in South Africa, with a vision to grow the brand by acquiring additional properties and management contracts in strategic locations.
The brand has managed to achieve incredible growth over the past two and a half years, in the midst of a pandemic, and continues to look for opportunities to provide premier products for local and international business and leisure market segments throughout the country. They conduct their business within legal and ethical parameters and strive to provide customers with world-class service.
ANEW boasts 15 properties across South Africa, in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West, and the Western Cape, each offering guests a truly unique South African experience. KwaZulu-Natal, known as the Kingdom of the Zulu, features a series of unforgettable retreats. ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest is surrounded by Kokstad’s impressive peaks in the mountains. Get up close and personal with the nation’s wildest creatures at the Big 5 hotel or lodge in Hluhluwe. At the edge of the Midlands Meander, and established in 1936, is the ANEW Hilton Hotel which combines old-world charm with highly rated friendly, and efficient staff. ANEW Hotel Ocean Reef is situated on the Zinkwazi beachfront, offering guests direct access to the beach and lagoon via a private walkboard. Alternatively, stay at ANEW Resort Vulintaba near Newcastle and enjoy a picturesque country escape.
ANEW Hotels & Resorts received The Inspiration Award at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022 as the organisation that has for the past two years inspired Africa’s travel Indaba community by the way in which they have challenged the odds to rise up and shine. Visit https://anewhotels.com/ for more information.
Submitted by Eclipse Communications