Yes, finally, Part 2 is here, and we have explored some more jaw-dropping African-inspired hotels for you! As recognised in Part 1, due to the challenging times we are in, travel is at the top wish list when it comes to peoples’ need for an escape. And one thing African-inspired design does is to use authentic, raw and expressive art forms that liberate us from our hectic modern lives; making us feel like we can finally breathe and leave all worries behind! It is impossible to put African design into one box with the incredible diversity across its 54 countries, but we love the inspiration and cultural relevance of the designs that can be seen in some of the hotels we choose for you. So, let’s jump right in, starting with:
Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, Botswana
The Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, a luxury and timeless African-style hotel, is located in the heart of the Chobe National park, Botswana. The design of the lodge not only celebrates local artisan craftsmanship, but its atmosphere also reflects earthy tones that pay homage to the natural surroundings of the landscape as well as showcasing the high density of elephants that this part of Botswana is known for.
Designed by the Muza Lab, a luxury London-based hospitality design firm, this magnificent hotel features twelve unique luxurious tented bedrooms housed on wooden platforms. Each room offers an expansive panoramic view of nature and wildlife, while in front of the huge lime-washed timber-railed and netted daybeds you can find rattan-style seating that truly connects you to nature and Africa. Ivory tones string chandeliers as lighting even add to the beauty and the roofing is a traditional African thatch roof. Each bedroom has its en-suite bathrooms, which are equipped with locally sourced hand-made pottery basins.
The design of the Spa is nature-inspired with a simple white painted floor, a sage green colour palette and wicker furniture featuring a beaded chandelier which allows for a natural feel yet a contemporary look.
Dining at the Savute Elephant hotel offers a unique experience itself with a circular African traditional ‘Boma’ dining with a bonfire at the centre. The restaurant serves the finest local flavours and signature African-inspired dishes.
“Overall, the redesign aimed to give guests an experience as a modern-day explorer in the heart of Africa, which will allow them to return to their homes with once-in-a-lifetime memories and stories to share with others”, stated the renowned interior designer, Inge Moore from Muza Lab. The furniture and fittings, artefacts and collectables as well as glassware and tableware are all from African suppliers such as Cane Time and Weylandts, Toguna and Amatuli. With all this, it is safe to say that Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge acts as a hub of African-inspired design as not only does it evoke a sense of adventure and discovery, it gives a sophisticated and fresh look which is right up our street here at Eva Sonaike.
Casa Cook Hotel, Rhodes
Located on the magnificent Greek island of Rhodes, this adults-only boutique hotel offers a stylishly laid-back and cosy atmosphere with its bohemian and African-inspired minimalist design. The design blends natural elements such as wood and natural colours in keeping with the surrounding landscape of rocky hills and olive groves. In this earthy, deeply comfortable haven, a piece of Africa can be found as its nature-eccentric features such as exposed stone walls, rough throws, woven straw pouffes and sculpted wooden stools manages to comfortably draw on the ethereal energy of the Tsambika mountain around which it is situated. All rooms are provided with the ambience you need to unwind as they are fully decked out in warm earthy tones and thoughtful touches. The rooms open up to a bed with a pebbled headboard and on the walls hang throws in muted tones whilst the floors are adorned with circular roughly pruned weaved mats lying underfoot. With retro wire chairs, rough cotton and a low-slung wicker lampshade above the beds, the Casa Cook Hotel Rhodes exquisitely creates an organic yet contemporary and classic feel.
Lopesan Baobab Resort, Gran Canaria
At first glance, the Gran Canaria Hotel gives a striking impression due to its captivating landscape of crystal lagoon pools, glamorous gardens and magnificent mountains. Named after the ancient and native African Baobab tree, the African Savannah’s tree of life, the five-star Lopesan Baobab Resort immerses its visitors in a spectacular and luxurious African-style lodge design. Its interiors imitate African elements with palm-shaded grounds, log-crafted footstools in the reception area, and a central lodge richly decorated with African motifs. The unique architecture and décor are an opulent blend of luxurious glamour and cultural African influences which offer an ethnic charm, modernity and refinement to the hotel.
The terraces on the upper floors are created with carved wooden beams and the rooms with snakeskin bed heads and traditional African colours that add that African touch. The overall earthy warmth of the décor in combination with its lagoon-style pools flowing past caves and waterfalls allows you to enter a hidden tropical paradise where you can get the ultimate relaxation and escape from everyday life. Overall, this luxury hotel seems to meet the African style criteria, but we have to question the line between appreciation and appropriation. Not only are some of the designs quite cliché, some of them, such as the snakeskin headboards do not necessarily show an appreciation of African style but rather try to ‘fit in’ to what a cliche of African style should look like.
Bambara Hotel, Hungary
Who knew you could find a piece of Africa in Eastern Europe? Surrounded by a large forest you find the Bambara Hotel in Hungary with its interiors designed in an African-inspired style with carvings, objects and artefacts. In this large 76-room building, each corner is richly decorated in a West-African style; your eyes will be bombarded with African artefacts, ceiling adornments, wooden chair designs and carved African art pieces. Love it or hate it, we question whether this design is unique and original or too suggestive of what Africa is from the lens of an outsider’s perspective. The design appears a little randomly put together as a lot seems to be going on. However, the interior and layout of each room are spacious, functional and practical. The Mali-inspired architecture as well as the walls at the ends of the beds are adorned with African ornaments giving the rooms an African atmosphere. Despite this, you won’t regret popping into the San Toro Restaurants where you can sample traditional African dishes, as well as the specialities of domestic and international cuisine.
Overall, the hotel not only offers a great escape from reality but also gives visitors who wouldn’t be able to visit the African continent a glimpse of what African design has to offer.
Bushman Café Hotel, Ivory Coast
Located in a quiet part of Abidjan, Ivory Coast you find the Bushman Café Hotel. This budget boutique hotel includes eight richly designed bedrooms. The walls are adorned with African art and exhibitions done by commissioned Ivorian artists. From paintings and sculptures to handmade furniture carefully covering all areas of the hotel. The design is eclectic and modern yet traditional. Each piece of art and furniture stands out in its unique way. The hotel evokes a feeling of living in a museum! Rooms are bright and spacious, with murals, four-poster beds and stone-tiled bathrooms which are all African-inspired and thus welcome lovers of the African culture. Not only is the hotel a place of art and culture in its surroundings, but each piece of furniture is also an object d’art inspired by different parts of the world. Included is also an international fusion restaurant that offers both Western food and authentic Ivorian meals. Overall, the hotel offers both a local and modern African concept, which we would love to explore on our next visit to Abidjan.
The Bar at the Whitby Hotel, New York
Part of the Firmdale collection by London interior designer Kit Kemp, The Whitby Hotel is a celebration of colourful contemporary art and design. There are 86 individually designed bedrooms and suites, each with floor-to-ceiling windows, many with a private terrace and stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. And with all Interiors designed by Kit Kemp in her award-winning modern British style, which we adore here at Eva Sonaike.
When it comes to African influences, The Whitby Bar & Restaurant is the place to look out for. A rich and colourful, airy room with high ceilings, an impressive 30-foot pewter bar and beautifully upholstered banquettes in African-inspired fabrics in bold colours. Kit installed woven baskets that float from the ceiling above the bar and commissioned Dutch artist Carla Kranendonk to create an art piece in her signature colours featuring an African woman in colourful attire. Tall warehouse-style windows and doors lead through to a sunny orangery with vaulted ceilings and skylight, bathing it in natural light.
Casa Brigitta, Corfu
And we couldn’t end this post without introducing you to Casa Brigitta our Creative Director Eva Sonaike’s luxury holiday villa on the sunny Greek island of Corfu. Not classified as a hotel, but a perfect escape for parties of up to 9 people.
Casa Brigitta is located in Kommeno Bay, one of Corfu’s most desirable residential areas with upmarket properties discreetly positioned behind electric gates.
From its elevated position, nestled above the narrow coastal lane which meanders its way around the small peninsular, Casa Brigitta enjoys the most magical views of Corfu town and overlooks Kommeno Bay, one of Corfu’s most picturesque bays, where you can also find our private floating jetty, perfect to relax and swim from in the crystal clear water.
Furnished with Eva Sonaike’s signature African style combined with an antique and Mediterranean feel, the villa is bright and airy with high ceilings. Super spacious property with 4 light-filled bedrooms and a large open plan living room with a bar-end gallery kitchen, modern wet rooms, spread over three floors comfortably sleeping up to 9 guests, Casa Brigitta is a perfect choice for larger families or a group of friends.
Along with the stunning views, the villa also benefits from a large dining veranda overlooking the bay, perfect for al-fresco dining and an infinity swimming pool set in stone patios where with stylish sun loungers and parasols overlooking the turquoise Ionian Sea from above.
Know for her bold use of colour and pattern, Eva Sonaike went a gear down in Casa Brigitta, as the crisp white interiors with beige textured details are a great canvass to let the lush outside speak for itself. Every room in the house has sea views and with the colours being so exuberant, the villa didn’t need much colour on the inside.
But of course, you will find Eva Sonaike’s colourful African cushions dotted around the house, alongside other beautiful pieces with her fabrics, such as the Scandinavian-style benches that were upholstered by a local upholsterer, handmade décor pieces, such as the woven raffia fans, the stool in the living room and wall plates you see across the house, that is all sourced from skilled craftspeople in West Africa.
Casa Brigitta is the perfect location for those looking for a beautifully designed villa with picture-postcard views and within easy reach of the sandy beach and the historical UNESCO Corfu Town. If you want to experience it for yourself, check out the website, where you can find further information on availability and booking.