It seems as if a number of global hotel brands shared a common goal for 2013 — make an impression in Africa. As some companies mark their return to the world’s second-largest continent after an extended absence, others are debuting hotels for the first time. From splendid resorts in the middle of a wildlife park to lavish retreats with oceanfront views, Africa is ready for its luxury travel close-up.
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Tanzania
Serengeti National Park is regarded as one of the finest in Africa, if not the world. With the attention to detail and overall sense of place established at this resort, people will soon say the same thing about this remarkable new address. Having opened on Dec. 3, this Four Seasons is the first in Sub-Saharan Africa. The lodge immerses you into the Serengeti safely and satisfyingly with elevated wooden walkways weaving through the property, a two-story great house with outdoor dining, open-air sundecks in all 77 rooms and an infinity pool overlooking a water hole frequented by elephants.
Before now, this hotel imprint had never opened an African property. But with its 30th entry worldwide, it’s making a splash on this island nation on the continent’s east coast. Steeped in colonial history, the 172-room escape celebrates its Victorian roots with flowing colonnades and vast terraces. Six restaurants — the dining experiences range from the spicy Simply Indian to the French-inspired La Manoir Dining Room — also speak to the nation’s diverse past. As for the unforgettable views of the Indian Ocean you get from nearly every point of the resort, well, those speak for themselves.
Hilton Alexandria Corniche, Egypt
Opening new properties in Egypt is an old hat for Hilton. When this beautiful hotel starts welcoming guests sometime in 2013, it will mark the 19th Hilton in the country and second in Alexandria. But while the first address was a downtown location, this new one will be a beachfront property in the city’s most upscale neighborhood. Corniche will fit in nicely with the tony surroundings because the 158 rooms will be stylishly appointed, the five restaurants and lounges will be filled with rich flavors and the views of the Mediterranean Sea will be simply priceless.
The Boardwalk Hotel & Spa, South Africa
When an already popular attraction (Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World) in a bustling area (Nelson Mandela Bay) expands, there’s reason to celebrate. At a cost of a billion rand (about $120 million), the hotel project is said to be the largest single entertainment and tourism venture ever in the area. Fashioned after boardwalks made famous at the turn of the 20th century, the structure certainly evokes the earlier times with its mid-century décor and bijou balconies in the sea-facing rooms. Still, the 140-room property feels modern with 24-hour room service, a 32,000-square-foot convention center and an Africology health spa.
Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons and Hilton Worldwide