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First look: andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge’s makeover

First look: andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge’s makeover

andBeyond’s flagship lodge in South Africa, Phinda Mountain Lodge, is reopening with a brand-new look. The first lodge to be opened by the conservation-led luxury experiential travel company, which now owns or operates 29 properties in Africa and South America, andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge has received an elegant makeover that allows it to meet and exceed the expectations of today’s luxury safari traveller.

The largest lodge at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and an old family favourite has been meticulously overhauled to offer an intimate experience steeped in its Zulu heritage. While the makeover draws inspiration mostly from the reserve’s collection of rare Zulu beadwork, the introduction of blue to the colour theme also acknowledges the lodge’s proximity to the Indian Ocean and nearby Sodwana Bay.

Clever use of space has even further enhanced the lodge’s dramatic hilltop location, with subtle changes opening up the guest areas, particularly the new feature bar, which celebrates artisanal spirits and South African wines. The updated dining rooms boasts a pizza oven and interactive cooking area where the abundant produce of KwaZulu-Natal is prepared. Child-friendly menus and the freshly installed waffle station further celebrate the lodge’s status as a family favourite.

The deck of the lodge’s guest area has also been extended, with an elevated walkway now linking it to a brand-new rim-flow swimming pool, gym and massage sala. The decks follow the contours of the land, wrapping around and taking full advantage of the height of the site to offer spectacular 180-degree views of the surrounding landscape. A breakaway meeting room and private lounge caters for guests who wish to combine business with pleasure. An elegant new wine cellar is available for private dinners for special occasions.

The guest suites have also been updated, with the dividing wall removed to allow more light and create a pleasing flow to the space. Beautifully appointed personal bars now hold not only a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks but also tea and coffee making facilities. A sunken lounge features a built-in sofa carefully positioned to maximise the view. Patterned, natural fabrics used for the curtains and headboards create a rich, sumptuous feel. The pattern of the freshly installed parquet flooring echoes the handmade herringbone shower tiles that mimic the geometric designs of Zulu basketware. Vintage Zulu beadwork creates bright accents throughout the suites and guest areas.

The Family Suite, which includes two rooms for adults and two for children, has also received a new look in keeping with the changes to the remainder of the lodge. In addition, it now has a covered patio, where guests can relax and enjoy outdoor dining regardless of the weather.

The lodge has been reopened in a staged approach, with some of the guest suites ready for occupation by mid-June and the main pool, gym and spa scheduled to open by end September.

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