New to Mantis: EPIC Hotel & Suites, Rwanda

EPIC Hotel & Suites by Mantis

We are excited to announce the newest gem in our collection; EPIC Hotel & Suites in the district of Nyagatare in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. Officially opened by His Excellency, Paul Kagama, President of Rwanda in March 2018, EPIC was developed in partnership with the Eastern Province Investment Corporation LTD. The development of this hotel falls in line with the Rwandan Government’s mission to diversify socio-economic development and build sustainable economic hubs across the country. 

An EPIC Impact

We are proud to be associated with EPIC Hotel & Suites by Mantis as it’s ethos for community development is aligned with Mantis’ objectives for uplifting the communities where our hotels and eco-escapes are located. Guests at EPIC Hotel & Suites will be able to book visits to the neighbouring farming villages where they can see traditional Rwandan agriculture in action, and experience a rural way of life. Guests will have the opportunity to buy goods to support the farmers. This support to the local economy is an added value to the many household benefitting from employment and skills development at the hotel. 

Easy Access to Gorillas and the Big Five

EPIC Hotel & Suites by Mantis is a 77-bedroom hotel with modern aesthetic appeal. EPIC is located 149 Km from Kigali International Airport where daily international flights land from various destinations with more international flights to come soon. The northern gate of the Akagera National Park is 35km away, making it easy to experience the Big Five at any time. EPIC is situated ideally as a gateway between the Volcanoes National Park and Akagera National Park, as well as the gateway between Uganda and Rwanda. 

About the Hotel

EPIC Hotel & Suites lays unobtrusively on the fertile vistas of Nyagatare.  A modern building fantastic facilities including two swimming pool, 2 tennis courts and a basketball court which all have floodlights. Wellness facilities include a fitness centre, beauty salon, spa, and sauna. Guests can dine and unwind in various outlets: The Social Restaurant, Nelson’s Bar, Pool Deck Bar and Restaurant and Atrium Lounge. Business Travellers will not need for anything when it comes to corporate facilities. EPIC has 5 executive meeting rooms, a ballroom which can seat 250 people, and each room is fitted with a spacious working desk with conveniently located plug points. 

The guest rooms are sleek with plush features and a minimalistic design. With all the bits and bobs and creature comforts you would expect in a metropolitan hotel. The hotel comprises various room types including 10 Executive Suites a Presidential Suite, and 7 Family Rooms matched with a fun children’s entertainment centre. 

 

AccorHotels and Mantis invest in the future of hospitality

AccorHotels and Mantis are excited to announce that Bulelwa Maxam and Tumelo Daniels are the recipients of the Accor/Mantis bursary to study towards a B.Com Hospitality Management at Stenden South Africa in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape. Stenden South Africa offers a Bachelor of Commerce degrees in Hospitality and Disaster Management. Stenden is a private university and strives to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds access to education with the assistance of private companies such as AccorHotels and Mantis.

Adrian Gardiner, Chairman of Mantis, said that “education is one of the five operating pillars at Mantis, who has been involved with Stenden South Africa since its inception. It is natural that AccorHotels and Mantis’ merger brings much-needed investment in education and especially here in the Eastern Cape.” Craig Erasmus from AccorHotels added that “AccorHotels is proud to welcome Bulelwa and Tumelo to the AccorHotels family and that the partnership with Stenden University was another important step in showing our intent on the continent and helping to support the growth of local capacity in the hospitality industry”.

The students will receive infrastructural support including accommodation, a laptop, and stationery. Ronel Bartlett, Student Affairs Manager at Stenden, explained that Stenden has an effective programme in place to ensure that all new students are integrated into the campus lifestyle. They will also work at MyPond Hotel which is managed by the University to develop their skills in various aspects of hotel management. This is a fantastic opportunity for real-time learning as they will work with real hotel guests in a fully operational establishment. The students are fortunate enough to be guided by Stenden graduates and previous bursary students such as Gcobisa Gwavu, Restaurant Duty Manager at MyPond Hotel. Gcobisa said that the real world learning that takes place at MyPond Hotel allows the students to gain operational and life skills as they learn to manage their time and make the most of work, studies and play. Gcobisa said that she enjoys assisting the students who, like herself, have come from disadvantaged backgrounds because she understands what their unique journey and strives to use her personal experience to help them grow into confident hospitality professionals.

The 2019 AccorHotels and Mantis bursary students began their academic careers on Monday, 28th January. They are both from a township community outside Port Alfred.

Bulelwa and Tumi on their first day at Stenden

Bulelwa matriculated in 2007 and had to immediately find work to support her family. She worked at a resort outside Port Alfred where she climbed the ranks within housekeeping, the kitchen and Front of House. When the time came for her youngest sibling to leave home and go to university, Bulelwa realised that it was time to fulfil her dreams of becoming a graduate in hospitality management. Bulelwa will play an integral part in skills upliftment in her community by introducing hospitality as a career choice among young people in the townships and training them.

Tumelo completed her schooling in 2018, and is eager to follow in her mother’s footsteps, and beyond, by becoming a professional hotelier. Tumelo says she looks forward to discovering her full potential and seeing her dreams realised. She also hopes that becoming a graduate will inspire younger family members to reach their goals.

AccorHotels acquired a 50% stake in Mantis in April 2018 and one of the results of this partnership was the formation of the Community Conservation Fund Africa. The CCFA is a registered NPC which was initially funded by AccorHotels and Mantis due to their recognition of the urgent need for the tourism industry to play a greater role in conservation and community transformation in Africa. In addition to the full bursaries, Mantis also give an annual award to a Student showing academic prowess and an interest in improving communities in and around Port Alfred. On Monday, 28th January this award was given to Zimbabwean-born second-year Disaster Management student, Ashley Miller. Ashley showed great commitment to her studies and proved to a reliable team player in her class. Her contribution to community transformation in 2018 showed her up as a deserving candidate for the prize for 2019.

 

 

Join the Ultimate Conservation Voluntour 2018

See South Africa’s “Big 7. Leave with a stronger understanding of conservation issues, knowing that you have made an important contribution to the protection of these species.

Worldwide Experience, founded by Mantis director Paul Gardiner, launched the Ultimate Conservation Voluntour in 2017. This 12-day boutique voluntour is an unforgettable opportunity to view the “Big 7”, to learn about the conservation threats that these and other species face, and to be a part of the efforts to conserve them and their habitats.

A dedicated guide will host your entire Voluntour, ensuring that you have a learning adventure filled with fun. And that you leave with a stronger understanding of conservation issues, knowing that you have made an important contribution.

The Ultimate Conservation Voluntour is hosted at Mantis Collection or similar properties. Starting in Cape Town, you will follow the famous Garden Route of South Africa, staying in Mantis hotels or similar, and concluding the tour at the spectacular Founders Lodge by Mantis in the Eastern Cape. Along the way, you will gain exposure to selected conservation projects within our portfolio, giving you an incredibly diverse experience incorporating elements of:

  • Wildlife conservation
  • Marine conservation
  • Conservation management
  • Game reserve activities
  • Tree planting
  • Community projects
  • Environmental awareness
  • Exploring the beauty & cultures of South Africa
  • The chance to see the “Big 7” (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, whales, and great white shark)

For more information about accommodation and the itinerary, visit Worldwide Experience.

This voluntour is presented in association with our adventure travel partner, Freewalker Adventure Travel.

Planning a holiday in Europe? Here’s your itinerary…

Just imagine exploring Europe on an adventure built around these hotels … All exceptional places to find yourself, all discovered by Mantis, all nominated for World Travel Awards.

In a world of diminishing rarity, Mantis helps you discover and experience the truly exceptional and rare.

Treehotel, in Sweden, is a unique experience where guests sleep in pine-tree-suspended rooms of whimsical, contemporary design. Treehotel is nominated for Europe’s Leading Design Hotel 2018 Award.

Tree Hotel, Sweden

Also in Sweden, Icehotel is in line for two World Travel Awards: Europe’s Leading Green Hotel 2018 and Sweden’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2018.

Ice Hotel, Sweden

The Draycott Hotel, in the heart of London’s Chelsea, has been nominated for England’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2018.

Draycott Hotel, London

In Paris, Hotel Keppler, just minutes away from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysées, is up for France’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2018 Award.

Hotel Keppler, Paris

And Iconic Santorini, a boutique cave hotel on an exquisite island in the Aegean Sea, is nominated for the award for Greece’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2018.

Iconic Santorini, Greece

For trade rates, please contact Sales Manager, Danie Davids on danie.davids@mantiscollection.com

Looking for accommodation in Port Elizabeth? Check into The Windermere

Visitors to Port Elizabeth in South Africa will love the new-look The Windermere by Mantis. Accommodation here is just five minutes from the airport and even closer to the best beaches!

Expect comfort, space and exceptional service in a relaxed, yet discreet environment. The recent upgrades include new carpets in all bedrooms and a revamp of the dining room.

Guests are welcomed at the front door and taken through to the outside lounge area where they fill in their registration cards while enjoying a cup of tea, coffee or juice and cake with our compliments.

After a walk on one of the nearby beaches and a swim in the warm Indian Ocean waves, relax, kick off your shoes, lie by the pool, sit on your private terrace, or chill on the patio while enjoying complimentary afternoon refreshments from our snack corner.

Understated, with elements of contemporary chic and extra-large bathrooms, our 10 spacious bedrooms are equipped with the little luxuries and conveniences demanded by the discerning traveller.

Look forward to a lovely breakfast to start your day. Other meals served here are light and easy, and if you want a gourmet experience, we recommend the exceptional dinners and lunches served at our sister hotel No. 5. We are happy to arrange transport to No. 5 by Mantis, where guests can also enjoy a spa treatment.

Discover The Windermere…

 

The Founders Experience: A soul-reviving safari in the malaria-free Eastern Cape

The biggest draw card are our Big Five game drives under the wide open skies of the Eastern Cape. But what makes a safari at Founders so special is that we are people of this place who love to share our insights into the conservation, culture and cuisine of our heartland…

The intimacy of Founders Lodge enables us to curate an exceptional experience for each guest staying in our 6 suites.

Authentic South African cuisine is made with love by our chef Louise, who creates delicious dishes with freshly harvested produce from our garden. We serve her wholesome soul food in different locations around the lodge so that every meal is a memorable experience with a different vista from your last repast.

You will be so taken with her creations that you may like to join one of Louise’s cooking and baking lessons in our traditional farmhouse kitchen. Unlike many great chefs, Louise is happy to share her culinary secrets.

The 400-hectare Founders Reserve is set in a rare biome that exists only in this part of the Eastern Cape. Our guides grew up here and are extremely knowledgeable about this endangered topography, home to flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. There are no predators on Founders Reserve, which facilitates insightful interaction and astonishing experiences within the environment that we are working so hard to conserve.

Founders Lodge was designed to give guests a sense of place and belonging. Whether you are in reclusive or social mood, the Lodge bends to fit you. All the communal spaces and guest rooms lead onto the peaceful indigenous courtyard garden, while each suite has a private verandah with never-ending views over the bushveld and out to the open African skies.

Founders offers the perfect balance between individual privacy and homely comfort, and our new managers, Mike and Leoni, can’t wait to make you welcome.

To find out more, please visit the Founders Lodge website.

Gourmet restaurant dining in Port Elizabeth hits new heights

Foodie Sam Venter attended the launch of new gourmet menu at No.5 by Mantis. Savour these sublime dishes in her wonderful review below. Better still, come and experience it for yourself!

Picture the scene: a dimly lit cellar where the gleam of silver candelabra and the sheen of wine glasses waiting to be filled reflect off a long, polished wooden table.

The furnishings are plush, antique; the art on the walls enigmatic. Sounds are muted. Racks of wines rest in temperature-controlled isolation behind a wall of glass.

A trio of chefs enter to present their masterpieces.

For a moment there, we could be anywhere in the world; the chefs most likely presenting some classics of European cuisine, perhaps with their own interpretation or a contemporary twist, a foam here, a jelly there.

Instead, what arrives are sushi and sashimi, with springbok rather than salmon, and avo in place of wasabi; pork cheeks, wildebeest fillet, oxtail potjie; rooibos tea married with fine cognac; pap and chakalaka along the way; and guavas in a dessert of rum-infused pannacotta.

We’re not in London, Paris or Singapore, but in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, being introduced to the seasonally updated menu at the Mantis Collection’s No5 boutique hotel in Brighton Drive.

Head chef Wayne Myburgh and his team of Anele Sopeni and Sipho Mbovane, put their heads – and palates – together to produce an array of world-class dishes inspired by various cultures, with distinctly South African flavours.

Myburgh said the menu was reviewed and updated every three months, with this latest incarnation showcasing the “South African fusion” direction that he is pursuing, with plenty of experiments along the way.

They include his Afro-Asian version of sushi, with “inside-out” rolls featuring smoked springbok carpaccio alongside tender seared springbok as sashimi.

Braised pork cheeks – a starter that could well serve as a main – are slow cooked, super soft, melt-in-the-mouth, given local flavour with paptert and a spicy chakalaka ragu.

The chefs’ attention to detail is clear in the selection of mains we sampled – oxtail potjie becomes a hearty filling for handmade ravioli, accompanied by an incredible oxtail jus that must have been simmered slowly over hours to achieve its glossy richness and intense flavours.

Lamb shank is no ordinary lamb shank – it’s been roasted with boerewors, which adds a subtle, unexpected dimension of flavour and is proving a big hit with diners at No5.

The standout dish? Wildebeest, perfectly cooked – a tender, juicy and slightly pink seared fillet – is served with wild mushrooms cooked with rooibos tea and cognac, a wild mushroom puree and the rooibos featuring again in the aromatic gravy.

Dessert is just the right ending, a play of flavours and textures – crispy biscuit, creamy rum panna cotta and guava ice cream, with a smear of guava cheesecake. Subtly sweet and delicious.

No5 general manager Beverley Zonneveld and Mantis Collection founder Adrian Gardiner hosted the media in the hotel’s cellar’s private dining room to share the new menu this week.

Guests can book the cellar for private functions, or enjoy the hotel’s fare in the stylish Jazz Room restaurant.

THIS REVIEW WAS PUBLISHED IN THE WEEKEND POST ON 10 FEBRUARY 2018. PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK TO READ IT ON THE HERALD LIVE WEBSITE.

Discover more about No. 5 by Mantis.

Sweet dreams are made of this

On the northern tip of Nungwi, the highest rated and most pristine beach on Zanzibar island, lies Nungwi Dreams – a brand new, 5 star luxury boutique hotel…

Zanzibar is famous for its tranquility,  breadth of cultural and eco experiences, biodiversity of animal species, water sports and beautiful white-sand beaches.

And on the northern tip of Nungwi, the highest rated and most pristine beach on the island, lies a brand new 5 star luxury boutique hotel. Launching in June 2018,  Nungwi Dreams by Mantis is a secluded and luxurious hideaway with access to a pristine and private beach, and all the adventures and experiences of a Zanzibar holiday.

Nungwi Dreams’ collection of luxury suites & villas combine elegant contemporary architecture with local Swahili and Arabic design elements to create an exceptional Zanzibar retreat, without compromising on the contemporary luxuries and conveniences you receive at home.

Choose from the Presidential Villa, Beach Front Villa, Junior, Deluxe and Two-Bedroom Suites. Each features a private balcony and/or terrace; plush sofas, beds and seating areas; modern bathrooms with monsoon rain showers – and all the technology you need such as LED TVs, built-in bedside USB chargers, and complimentary high-speed WiFi. Everything has been designed with comfort in mind.

Just a short walk from the hotel you’ll find an NGO community based conservation project preserving the green turtle population of Zanzibar. You’ll have the opportunity to feed these gentle creatures as well as swim in their natural salt water lagoon with them.

Step off the terrace onto the fine white sand edging crystal clear turquoise waters or explore the many other pristine beaches across the island, each with it’s own unique character.

Experience kite-surfing, snorkelling, diving, tours to Mnemba Island marine reserve, deep-sea fishing and the chance to swim with Kizimkazi’s dolphin pods. Catch a glimpse of red Colobus monkeys and, if you’re lucky, the legendary Zanzibar leopard in the Jozani Forest and marvel at the 50 species of butterfly and 40 species of birds. Visit the famous spice market, Prison Island and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stone Town.

Return from days spent discovering on the island or soaking up the tranquility of the private beach, and slip into the infinity pool. Relax at the beach bar or pool bar, then enjoy world class cuisine at rooftop restaurant.

Zanzibar, also referred to as The Spice Island, is an archipelago approximately 46 kilometres off the coast of Tanzania. Its name was originally derived from the Persian language, and it was used by Arab, Persian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian, and Chinese merchants as a base for their voyages. Over decades, control of the island has passed between the Portuguese, Arabs, Germans, and finally the British before it gained independence. The main commercial capital, Stone Town, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

Nungwi Dreams by Mantis is an exceptional place to find yourself, whether you are looking for a peaceful retreat or a wealth of new experiences. It is also the perfect place to end to a safari in Tanzania. Find out more at the Nungwi Dreams website.