I’m sure I’m not the only one who is guilty of planning a holiday as soon as I get back from one! Having spent the festive season in Dubai this year, I did feel a yearning for a taste of Africa, which got me thinking, if I can’t be in Africa, there have to be other ways to experience the feeling of home, so I gathered this selection of hotels from around the world which all have one thing in common; contemporary African design at heart. Whether it is the minimalistic approach by Sussorro in Mozambique, or the explosion of pattern and colour at the 25 Hours Hotel in Paris, you can enjoy African design wherever your travels take you in the next holiday season!
Described by “A Hotel Life” as “warm minimalism done so sustainably right”, this collection of design-led Bungalows was dreamed, designed, and built by Zimbabwean-born owners Adam and Sarah, with their locally based builder “Shumba” and a team of local tradesmen. This hotel made it to the top of the list because of its design aesthetic and commitment to sustainability, and most importantly it is 100% African-made. Every single item was hand selected by the owners and created by African artisans, from the woven baskets from Zimbabwe to the Senufo stools from Ivory Coast, and lounge chairs handwoven on-site in Mozambique.
25 hours hotel Terminus Nord (Paris)
This Parisian hotel is a maximalist cacophony of colours as delightful as an African bazaar. The room designs are based on 5 vibrant colour schemes with walls unapologetically painted in primary colours, and equally loud contrasting ceilings for a complete sensorial experience. When you’re not looking at a brightly colored wall, your eyes will be drawn to the pillows and bedspreads made out of African wax print fabrics handmade by artisans in Togo. The ‘La Sape’ Bar design concept is a celebration of the flamboyant attire worn by the Congolese Dandies and stays true to the colorful soul of the hotel.
Menjangan Dynasty Resort – Bali
You’d be forgiven if you woke up in Menjangan and thought you were in a luxury African Safari tent, because the look and feel of this Dynasty Resort gives exactly that! This glamping resort takes safari lodge chic to Bali with 24 beach camp tents that capture the ambiance of the classic safari club style with glass doors, natural materials, and muted colours harmonised with blackened steel elements. The only thing you’ll miss at this resort is the African wildlife!
Lopesan Baobab Gran Canaria (Canary Islands)
The clue is in the word baobab, a tree that is native to Madagascar and Mainland Africa. This 5-star luxury resort has unique architecture, inspired by the African continent. It features a 21-meter-high wooden lodge, reminiscent of African Boma’s and carries through the concept with restaurants named after African recipes, ingredients, and plants such as ’Akara’, ‘Pili Pili’ ,’Marula’ and the ‘Baobab’. With its lagoon pools and safari-lodge styling, stone walls, reminiscent of Great Zimbabwe ruins, and muted earthy colour palette, this luxury hotel brings a warm taste of Africa to Gran Canaria.
Whitby (New York)
This upper Eastside 86-bedroom and suite hotel was designed by Firmdale Hotel’s design director Kit Kemp in her characteristic English style, however, the star of the establishment is the bar and restaurant which is decidedly upbeat and modern, creating a vibrant atmosphere for its patrons. The space is an intentional mix of colours, textures, design and art with Carla Kranendonk’s “standing lady” artwork presiding over the African fabric upholstered banquette. When speaking of the painting, Carla says “I made her because I wanted to make a strong African/Caribbean lady and she is standing in front of lots of photocopies of photos of musicians from Africa and the Caribbean. On her skirt is an image of Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur and orator. He had a dream to bring all the Black Americans back to Africa and this has inspired me.” The choice of light fixtures and collection of baskets ties the design together to make it decidedly African inspired.
Next we will be on the hunt for contemporary African design inspiration in Dubai, so stay tuned.