Hotel Prana Lodge Private Beach Estate and Spa Hotel 0 star
Easyexperts
Chintsa East, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa Cape Town, South Africa
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Similarly to most of the other lodges we have visited in South Africa, Prana is a luxury property with impressive accommodation, top wellness facilities and a stunning setting. However it is different in that it is located on the coast and not in a game reserve. Close to the town of East London in the Eastern Cape, Prana is a sublime retreat where both couples and families can relax in the most tranquil of settings with all the amenities they could wish for: spacious, well-appointed rooms, a superb Thai spa, beautiful communal areas and a wonderful staff. What's more, the food is top notch and you are just five minutes away from spectacular beach views at the look out. Ideal for a weekend out during your South African tour or to experience something different from safari or the wine routes, Prana is quite simply a great place to be!

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  • Well located
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    Location 3.0 /10

    The lodge is situated in a forest by Chintsa Bay, in the province of Eastern Cape in southeastern South Africa. It is only 40 or so minutes from East London Airport and can be reached easily car road from there. It is around a four-hour drive from Port Elizabeth and double that if you are coming from Durban.

    Accommodation 9.70 /10

    Seven spacious sumptuous suites make up the inventory at Prana. Although decorated individually according to the colour of the precious stone or mineral they are named after, all the rooms have the same generous amenities and are tastefully outfitted with a range of fabrics, decorative objects and furniture pieces. They comprise, in an open plan design, both a bedroom and sizeable sitting area, as well as a separate oversize bathroom and of course a terrace with a private swimming pool. The bedrooms all boast queen size beds, dressed with beautiful linens and a marshmallow soft plaid whose colour corresponds to the room's name. Surrounding the beds are oriental carpets while on the bedside tables are places candles and an alarm clock, with a fabulous wooden trunk at the end of the bed. A desk also sits in the bedroom which has a great angle-poise lamp while just behind the bed, before the bathroom is a ton of closet space and where you'll find the safe, bathrobes and hot water bottle. Other amenities include the flatscreen televisions and international plug adapters.

    The living spaces are extremely cosy and comprise sofas and armchairs, each with blankets, all placed on rugs, as well as some elegant furniture such as occasional tables and sideboards filled with decorative pieces, flowers and complimentary sherry amongst other things. At the rooms' entrances you'll find a minibar and wet bar complete with biscuits, dried fruits, miniatures and tea and coffee facilities. The walls of the space are adorned with watercolours and other pieces of local art while items such as umbrella stands and carvings lend a more homely feel to the affair.

    The generously-proportioned bathroom has both a huge walk-in shower and a deep soaking tub, each one with its own luxurious toiletries and little presentation of flower petals. At the double vanities there are a couple of bottles of complimentary water, a make-up mirror and roses (in addition to the orchids elsewhere in the bathroom). Just outside is an outdoor shower while on the private terraces with lush plants are seating areas, sun loungers and a plunge pool.

    Overview 9.90 /10

    The long narrow path flanked by bushes leading down to the lodge opens slightly at the end where there is enough space to get out your vehicle and walk a few steps into the cosy, light reception area where a large round coffee tables sitting on an oriental rug is surrounded by armchairs and sofas to collapse into after your long drive. Decorated with candles, flowers and elegant pieces of wooden furniture, it is here where the formalities are taken care of by the courteous staff. Off of this room is the honesty library where copper pots, carvings, CDs, DVDs and videos are intermingled with books on a wealth of subjects. There is also a flatscreen television here as well as a laptop which guests are free to use.

    Round the corner from the welcome area is the pool and lounge. The former, a smart affair with spotless surrounds and spotlights lit at night, has elegant loungers by its side each with a small table and a candle giving atmosphere from nightfall. Just behind the pool is a covered relaxation area with stylish homemade furniture, adorned with cool coloured cushions and decorated with orchids and small decorative objects which is a pleasure to inhabit during warm evenings before and after dinner. If you prefer to be inside then head to the lounge and bar with its floor-to-ceiling windows and bare timber roof structure (also homemade). With flowers on every surface, traditional wooden games and lighting and music pitched at just the right level, this is another great pre- or post-dinner venue (to be shared with Eddie the dog!).

    One of the main pulls of Prana is its wellness facilities. The Thai-themed spa centre boasts two massages rooms, a sauna, steam, yoga deck and jacuzzi as well as w host of massage, reflexology, facial and body treatments carried out with the highest quality of products by the sweetest of Thai ladies in fisherman pants, to background music and the sound of trickling water from outside. Upon arrival you'll receive a home-made welcome tea of lemongrass and pendle leaf before having your treatment. Once prepared in the changing rooms, you'll be taken to one of the rooms or sat in a chair in the entrance hall for foot scrubs before being invited to shower outside surrounded only by the forest. Meditation, yoga and relaxation walks along the beach are also offered and use of the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi is complimentary when you buy a treatment. Packages are available.

    Another great feature of Prana Lodge is the viewing deck which looks onto the beach down below. In order to reach it guests simply follow a boardwalk path from within the lodge through the forest and past the owners' private house. Perfect for watching the sunrise, there are several loungers as well as a giant beanbag for your comfort posed on the deck at the end of the path.

    Getting around the lodge is easy and the paths are well let at night. You'll come across various different animals along your way through the lodge such as guinea fowl, snakes, lizards and monkeys, none of which are dangerous. If you ask nicely (and they have time), Tim and Gail will even show you around their workshops where much of the lodge's furniture is produced.

    Food and drink 9.20 /10

    The dining experience at Prana is a first class one. The day could not get off to a better start than with the regal breakfast served by the charmingly timid waiting staff. Before we had even ordered our hot breakfast, we were presented with an enormous fruit salad with mint leaves and rose petals accompanied by a hearty smoothie of banana, strawberry, orange and mango. One excellent touch as the welcome note inside the menu which read: "Good morning! We trust you had a pleasant night's sleep and may the rest of your day be one of peace and joy!"

    Lunch and dinner are both overseen by the talented Jaycee Ferreira, a chef whose inventiveness and presentation is every bit as awe-inspiring as the flavours he produces. We were lucky enough to experience the seven-course tasting menu one evening, the highlights of which were the lightly smoked fresh salmon salad with berry balsamic syrup and Asian greens, the grilled fillet of beef with potato galette, fine beans roasted cherry tomatoes and port jus and the poached pear in spiced red wine served with gorgonzola to finish.

    The location for each meal can vary depending on the weather and the number of people in the lodge at any one time. There is a rather formal main dining room just off of the pool which features a meticulously laid table surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and a chandelier overhead. If you prefer to eat at your own table or in your room this of course can be arranged upon request.

    To know

    Prana, is owned by Tim and Gail Davidson and they are helped out by their daughter and son-in-law Megan and Sean ven den Berg. Tim, a lawyer by trade, built the lodge himself with the help of some local workers and they continue to add on to the property as well as to create much of the furniture and fittings found throughout Prana. Gail, a former nurse, midwife and life coach, runs the place flawlessly together with the rest of her family and the staff which comes from the local area.

    Equipment

    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      spa

    • Swimming pool

    advantage

    • Gorgeous setting
    • Design/décor
    • Wellness facilities
    • Quality of food
    • Service

    disadvantages

    • Long way down to beach

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10