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 owns timberland and treatment plants in the area, purchased the motel in September 1992 after it became apparent 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 ANEW’s crown.”
Hluhluwe Resort, rich in culture
ANEW Hotels & 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 and 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 their heritage with guests 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 Hunters’ 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 on 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 historic 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 modern ANEW Hotel Green Point
One of the latest additions to ANEW’s list of properties is most definitely one of the group’s most modern. 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 of 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 Cape Town 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 in 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 in which they are set.
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 it has challenged the odds to rise up and shine.