Escapism can come in very handy, especially in the challenging times we are facing at the moment. When asking people what their favourite spare time activity is, travel is often at the top of the list. The further away the better!
As ambassadors of African design, we thought it was about time to explore hotels around the world that incorporate an African aesthetic into their design scheme.
I know it is impossible to define African design, as our continent with its 54 countries is diverse and differs from part to part. But we tried finding places that represent these elements in a way that we found culturally relevant and inspiring.
And guess what, we found so many great hotels, that there will be a part 2 later this year. Stay tuned!
25hours Hotel Terminus Nord, Paris
‘As colourful as an African bazaar: a cosmopolitan mix of cultures and urban refuge at Gare du Nord’, reads the description on the website of the 25Hours Hotel Terminus Nord.
The independent hotel owned by the 25Hours Hotel Group is situated in the heart of Paris in walking distance from the Gare du Nord in the 10th arrondissement, a picturesque quarter that is home to a diverse range of people from many nations.
The room designs are based on five colour schemes, each consisting of a unique mix of patterns, colours and materials. Custom wallpaper with patterns of African origin is mixed with other global-inspired colour combinations and patterns. Pendant lamps made out of recycled PET plastic bottles combine traditional weaving techniques from different corners of the world, complementing the vibrant rooms. Pillows and bedspreads made out of African wax print fabrics hold a special meaning for the hotel: the items are handmade in Togo by an association that supports young local women by helping them establish a secure livelihood for themselves and their children.
In the bar, ‘La Sape’, the movement of Congolese Dandies was decisive in determining the design concept. The interior is inspired by African music from the 1960s-1980s. Old album covers and art revolving around the Sape movement are on display. In keeping with this, the bar is masculine and elegant, embellished with patterned fabrics reminiscent of the Sapeurs’ suits and clothing.
In summary, with its original concept, 25Hours Terminus Nord reflects the vibrancy and flair of the 10th arrondissement in Paris and with its African-inspired design, makes it a perfect destination for travellers, who want to escape traditional hotel design for some extra inspiration.
Sanctuary Baines Camp, Botswana
Set in a grove of trees, and surrounded by papyrus beds, Sanctuary Baines’ Camp is built on raised platforms high above the Boro River in a private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, in Botswana.
The local community was encouraged to collect cans, with a fee paid for every can, which was recycled to form the backbone of the camp’s structures. The eco-friendly property was built using only commercially grown wood, with the addition of over 150,000 recycled aluminium cans incorporated within the walls to provide insulation.
We love the indulgent main area that extends out of the Boro River. The dining and lounge areas are minimalist chic, using traditional African furnishings to create an authentic African feel.
One&Only Nyungwe House, Rwanda
One&Only Nyungwe House is located in southwestern Rwanda on a tea-plantations on the edge of the iconic Nyungwe National Park. The park itself covers approximately 1020 km² of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs, and is one of the last mountain rainforest habitats on the planet.
Situated in five striking wooden villa clusters, the treetop-skimming, luxury suites and rooms are secluded in untamed surroundings, accommodating all adventure seekers and paying homage to Rwanda’s beauty and heritage.
The luxury resort features 21 rooms that mix fresh, contemporary design with African design influences, embracing local Rwandan art, craftsmanship and motifs throughout the design of the luxury resort
The sustainability philosophy is incorporated through responsibly-sourced timber and natural fibres. Rich culture is incorporated into the design journey with intricate details and regional curios, with traditional, geometric Imigongo artworks decorating the rooms.
Enjoy exceptional dining and selected beverages are included in your stay, two signature resort experiences can be chosen daily or visit the spa for the resorts signature treatments including African potato – rich in anti-inflammatory and immune-strengthening properties – and marula oil.
Bogobiri House, Lagos
Bogobiri House in the old part of high-brow Ikoyi in Lagos is much more than a sixteen room boutique hotel. It offers its visitors a unique opportunity to interface with the creative soul of Africa's most vibrant city.
With its open mic nights and regular art exhibitions, Bogobiri House has become a hub for the promotion and appreciation of art, music and local knowledge whilst not compromising its core values: first-class service, security and your utmost comfort.
African-themed in the best taste, this 16 room boutique hotel in Ikoyi offers a refreshing local experience. Guests can relax to live music most nights with an Orishirishi Take-Away on site.
Hotel Californian, Los Angeles
Celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the multi-award-winning Los Angeles-based interior designer renowned for his broad range of styles and eclectic, transformed the Hotel Californian, that was originally built in 1925 and destroyed in an earthquake to its former glory, making the 121-room hotel a magnet for Hollywood celebrities, international visitors and locals alike.
The rooms of the Hotel Californian honour the iconic Spanish Colonial Revival and North African influences with a modern take on comfort and luxury.
Each individual guest-room is distinctly unique in its design, providing a different, captivating experience during each stay.
Featuring over 1 million tiles—many hand-painted and flattened in Morocco—Hotel Californian’s design is as dazzling as the natural beauty of the American Riviera, in an entirely unexpected way.
The Moore, New Orleans
Much like the Moorish people, New Orleans is a mix of many cultures and subcultures that all come together to create one of America's greatest cities.
The first hotel from Homage Hospitality, a black-owned US hospitality group, The Moore hotel is a homage to the futurism of otherness, foreignness, and history-making meeting a radical imagination.
Located on the historic Canal Street, the property has 4 suites and mixes African-American art, with warm wood tones, African-inspired patterns and historic relics that give the space depth character telling a unique story.
Homage Hospitality Group, a boutique home and hotel developer offering cultural accommodations for curious travellers was founded by Howard University alumni Damon Lawrence and Marcus Carey in 2016 and the Moore hotel opened its doors in summer 2018.
The aim was to create a new experience for guests by curating an inhabitable installation. The concept is meant to mix history with futurism through art and curated multicultural artefacts and furniture.
Kanuhura Maldives, owned and managed by Sun Resorts, is a place where surreal beauty, elegance and luxury blend in harmoniously with the breathtaking nature of the Maldives Islands. It offers a tasteful celebration of luxurious island living with a sense of bliss, enhanced by vibrant colours and natural materials.
And we are very proud that our African-inspired designs, the Eva Sonaike cushions and pouffes are part of this $42 Million design project and can now be spotted in the restaurant, bar spa and games room of this luxury resort!
With the deft touch of former Gold Key Designer of the Year Inge Moore, President of Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) international's European division, who directed the design of some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, spas and restaurants, Kanuhura follows a Gypset concept in a uber-luxury setting with colourful African design elements.
If you love hotels, also check out our article on The 7 Best Boutique Hotels In West Africa.