A slender slab of steel and glass encases a cluster of gilded tiers as if it were a grand lobby.
Inside, stately palaces have been built. A plushly set table unfolds in one corner, the table itself is carved into a section of glass. A recessed aquarium stands in the middle of a vast room.
The Mega Manteca Luxury Hotel is high-end hospitality at its most opulent and focused.
People wouldn’t come to Africa without a luxury hotel. Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Fairmont… Africa’s luxury market is only growing. Experts predict that, in the coming years, Africa’s luxury market could boom: from the current $4.7 billion a year, that figure is expected to rise by $9.7 billion by 2030.
Despite offering visitors a tour of the wine cellar and the local market, the Mega Manteca Luxury Hotel made almost as much effort to woo the safari crowd. The hotel website could be mistaken for a guide on a lion safari.
The hotel itself has sought to shine the spotlight on eco-tourism with its “SmartWays” programme, offering innovative tours for people to track down animals not found anywhere else on the continent.
However, over five nights, only two guides accompanied us on safari, while the hotel’s own staff accompanied a different couple on the second night.
Guest costs start at $17,390 (15,950 rand), while the high-end luxury hotel offers a suite for $50,000. As such, the property represents a potent mix of safari, concierge, spa and entertainment.
Nassim Ndiaye, CEO of Cape Town-based firm Sizwe Fundeka was behind the development.
“We’ll keep investing in our luxury brand: The Grand Hotels of Africa which is majority African-owned,” he said.
“We do feel that Africa doesn’t necessarily have luxury as an objective… But it is certainly becoming one, and it will become a strategic focus for us because we are very convinced that Africa is the centre of the world and we believe that this is very strategic for us to make inroads into the market.”
The project’s heritage is laudable. The Hotel Victory in the early 19th century is said to be the first upscale luxury hotel in South Africa.
In addition to becoming a tourist and conference destination, the hotel will also act as a training facility to educate potential African buyers of luxury goods.
Nusrat Al-Motari represents Al-Futtaim, a branch of the Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group which owns the property.
“The hotel will be a very rare and unique brand… It’s a globally known global brand and we believe this brand could be a match in the African market, where such a brand is yet to come, especially in Cape Town.”
Not only will the hotel promote Africa’s luxury market, it will also help to promote its reputation as an economic development hotspot.
“The South African economy will add 9% by 2030,” said Mr Ndiaye.
“So we have to make sure that those factories, ships, trains, projects that are coming to Africa in the form of new attractions are in Africa. Our expertise comes from Africa.”
– Find out more: The Mega Manteca Luxury Hotel
– Africa on the map