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Hotel Londolozi Private Granite Suites Hotel 0 star
Easyexperts
Sabi Sabi, South Africa -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

At the top end of the Londolozi collection of lodges, Private Granite Suites is pretty much as good as it gets in terms of an all-round African safari experience. This intimate luxury camp, which is aimed at honeymooners or small groups celebrating something special, boasts stunning, generously proportioned rooms, a highly-tailored, personalised service and classy contemporary design and décor. With the option of making use of the facilities at its sister properties and benefiting from a fantastic team of rangers and a huge traversing area, this is one of the finest lodges around. For an unforgettable romantic safari experience, this is the place to be.

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    • Hotel Londolozi Private Granite Suites

      Londolozi Private Granite Suites   -   © Briag Courteaux_EasyVoyage

    • Hotel Londolozi Private Granite Suites

      Londolozi Private Granite Suites   -   © Briag Courteaux_EasyVoyage

       
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    Location 7.0 /10

    Private Granite Suites is located roughly in the centre of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park to its east. Set on the banks of the Sand River, its position gives guests that extra opportunity to view the areas animals. Londolozi has its own airstrip which is served by a daily flight by Federal Air from Johannesburg as well as by short flights from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) which in turn receives scheduled flights from Cape Town and Durban. Coming by road from KMIA takes around two and a half hours, while expect to be in the car for between five and six hours if you're coming from Jo'burg. Getting to Founders from Hazyview and Nelspruit will take roughly one hour and two and a half hours respectively. You should enter Sabi Sands via the eponymously named gate where a small entrance fee will be applied to each vehicle.

    Accommodation 9.70 /10

    There are just three suites at Private Granite Suites meaning that you can enjoy all the discretion and privacy you deserve during your honeymoon or special occasion. Completely independent from one another, they offer a whopping 85m˛ of pure luxury on the banks of the Sand River. You enter through the salon and are hit instantly by the enormous stone wall-framed picture window opposite which they call here 'nature's television' (there is no man-made television at the lodge). So as to be able to take in the view, a sofa, complete with plump cushions and a blanket is placed before the window, while a glass coffee table with books fills the gap between the two. If you're going to be installed for a long time then help yourself to a drink and snack from the minibar at the back of the room. The final feature of the living space is the glass-topped desk with African jewellery and animal skin stationary which also looks out over the wilderness outside. Next door is the bedroom itself containing just a king size bed dressed in fine linen and with a crushed velvet headboard and cushion, which is the leitmotiv throughout the suite. A wingback chair and classic angle poise lamps on the bedside tables complete the room. Behind the bedroom is an oversize storage area and before you reach the bathroom is a space with a coiffeuse and exercise ball. You'll find of course a safe, bathrobes, hairdryer and mosquito-repelling products to hand. The spacious bathroom, full of natural light, features a huge walk-in monsoon shower with glass walls, a deep freestanding soaking tub with sleek fixtures bath salts and his and hers sinks on separate sides of the room. There is even room for an elegantly striped wingback chair! The bathroom extends outside onto the deck with both an outside shower and bathtub which lies just before the Sand River. With a private plunge pool to boot, the setting couldn't be better. The 1926 Body Range is the name for the personalised toiletries found in the bathrooms. Named after the year in which the Vartys arrived in the area, it has as its main ingredient avocado oil and is bottled in recyclable amber glass.

    Overview 9.70 /10

    Being an intimate lodge of just three suites, Private Granite Suites' infrastructure is relatively small. The only communal area is the main lodge itself as there is no swimming pool or other facilities on-site. As at all of Londolozi's lodges, the welcome is as sincere as it is heartfelt. Luggage is taken straight to your room by the smiling staff members while you are escorted down to the spectacular tall, thatched main lodge which is divided into three distinct parts. The first, which is flanked by light grey stone walls, centres around an Nguni animal skin rug. Wingback chairs and a chunky wooden table featuring African carvings are placed by its side. The second area is the main lounge, straight out of a luxury home decoration magazine. Elegant sofas and armchairs boasting Ralph Lauren scatter cushions are arranged around carved coffee tables and animal skin pouffes inviting guests to sit down and relax with one of the many books on the shelves just behind. To one side of the room is a working fireplace bordered by impressive black and white elephant shots while to the other side is the communal dining table and well-stocked bar from which guests are free to help themselves. There is even a selection of cigars for those who appreciate the finer things in life. Lamps, North African bracelets and chaise longue complete the perfect picture. Finally, the third part, the deck, looks on to the Sand River and you can see from time to time elephants playing the water.

    Many of the other facilities available are to be found over at the Varty Camp. First of these is Londolozi Life, the wellness centre, situated right next to the camp's tranquil pool. Designed by a holistic therapist to be in harmony with the elements, it combines philosophies from east and west and offers various massages Swedish, Thai), aromatherapy and Reiki healing. Therapies can equally be taken within the privacy of your own room or on your deck. Right by the massage centre is the yoga deck where every day at noon a free yoga class is held for guests at any of the Londolozi lodges. If you prefer to have a private session, as well as pilates, this can also be arranged. Those who feel the need for a workout can take advantage of the small fitness room at Varty Camp, which has both cardio machines and free weights.

    Aside from the twice-daily game drives, which are carried out by some of the most enthusiastic, knowledgable and genuinely lovely people who could wish to meet, additional activities for adults include film viewing in the John Varty Cinematography Centre, local village tours, tracking, fishing and much more. Varty Camp is also the location of the shop, Londolozi Living.

    The camp overall is in fine condition and all areas are kept clean and tidy. One great advantage of the camp being so small is that the absolute maximum number of people in one 4x4 will be six, although it is highly likely that you will have one to yourself. Wifi is complimentary and available in designated areas only.

    Food and drink 9.70 /10

    The standard of the cuisine at Private Granite Suites, as with everything else, is of an extremely high standard. Every possible effort is made to use locally grown ingredients, free range game and herbs from the kitchen garden. Many of the recipes used have been handed down by past Varty generations and the inventiveness of the others is to be admired. Breakfast at the lodge is taken either on the deck overlooking the Sand River or out in the bush. The deck is also the venue for lunch while, given that there is no boma, dinner is served at the lodge too, although private dinners are very common due to the nature of the guests staying here. On occasions, and if agreed upon, some dinners are taken communally with the rangers and/or managers joining in. As average stays at the lodge are longer than most, you will most certainly experience a meal in each of the venues offered, including, if you so wish, within your own suite on the deck. In addition to the main meals, you will be given hot drinks and a snack during the morning game drive and a tipple and another snack during the evening drive.

    To know

    Londolozi has a rich history going back 85 years. Starting out as a family estate, after precarious beginnings in the safari industry, it has today become the blueprint for private game reserves all over the continent. Meaning ?protector of all living things' in the Zulu language, Londolozi more of a vision than a simple safari experience. In fact Nelson Mandela described it as "a model of the dream I cherish for the future of our country.'" Brothers Dave and John Varty's goal was to prove the viability of wildlife paying for conservation in a country whose land was once torn apart by racism, fences and division. But it is not only the animals which are central to the dream. Londolozi also invests heavily in people, specifically those from the surrounding communities. Their Learning Centre provides locals with the skills necessary to fulfill their potentials and become part of what is called the Londolozi family. The lodges also work with charities such as The Good Work Foundation and Save the Rhino Trust investing in both the South African people and its wildlife. You can read more about the fascinating history of Londolozi in Dave Varty's book 'The Full Circle'.

    While viewing (especially of leopards) is good all year round, the dry winters lend themselves particularly well to sightings as less plant life means less chance of the animals being hidden. And remember, you should not walk around the site unaccompanied at night as you never know what beast is lurking around the corner. If you need to move around, call a torch-bearing member of staff who will gladly escort you where you wish.

    The Private Granite Suites can be hired in its entirety in which event children under the age of 16 are permitted.

    Equipment

    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      massage, (off-site/in-room)

    advantage

    • Intimacy
    • Staff/service
    • Design/décor
    • Room size
    • Large traversing area
    • Leopard spottings
    • Quality of food
    • No under-16s allowed

    disadvantages

    • No under-16s allowed
    • No on-site wellness/fitness facilities

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10