2019 – A Year In Review

As we enter a new decade, South of Africa fondly looks back at its achievements of the past year. We compiled a list of our top 10 moments from 2019.

10) West Coast Photo Session

Following the opening of the new Spa in 2018 at Abalone House, a new photo session was arranged for early 2019 to not only capture the new look of the Africology Spa, but also the new changes at Abalone House and the Abalone Pool Villas. Photographer Peter Atterbury, long time collaborator of South of Africa, was behind the lens yet again to capture the essence of these 5-star properties in Paternoster.

9) Lovebird opens at Birdsong Cottages

2019 year kicked off with the opening of Lovebird, a stone chapel turned to thatch-covered stone cottage at Birdsong. The romantic 1 bedroom unit offers a private bathroom, open plan living and dining area, kitchenette, deck and sparkling splash pool overlooking the valley below.  The unit has been met with rave reviews by guests and has become one of Birdsong’s most sought after units.

8) New SOA Booking Platform

In July 2019 a new central booking platform was introduced to guests that offers a global view of the entire South of Africa collection’s availability. This new booking platform allows potential guests to choose which hotel they would prefer to book at by comparing pricing and availability. 

7) New-look Conference Rooms at Elephant Springs

Elephant Springs’s 3-star conference venues are extremely popular with delegates and 2019 saw the completion of all three its venue’s renovations. The Kambaku, Shawu and Mafunayne rooms were all upgraded during the course of the year and boasts a new look. These venues have been met with praise from conference goers and it resulted in the facilities receiving their first ever Lilizela Tourism Awards nomination in 2019!!

6) Abalone House goes “Smart”

In October the 5-star Abalone House in Paternoster announced the introduction of Netflix and Showmax in all hotel of its hotel rooms. Following the success of this at the sister property Abalone Pool Villas, the 5-star boutique hotel offers the complimentary digital streaming services to all guests who now stay here.

5) Birdsong’s Sunbird unit gets kitchen / living area facelift

Hot on the heels of the Lovebird unit’s opening, the Sunbird thatched rondavel at Birdsong Cottages in Modimolle had its living area and kitchen completely renovated with a brand new look. Sporting the same style as introduced at Lovebird, the dark grey and black-themed kitchen became a hit with guests in 2019. Further upgrades to the cottages at Birdsong is planned for 2020.

4) Shangri-La introduces Executive Family Rooms

In 2019 the renovations at Shangri-La continued with the upgrading of the hotel’s rooms. During the process, a new room type established itself as a necessity for guests who travel together as families of 4 pax. The new offering, titled Executive Family Rooms, consists of two interleading bedrooms, each with their own private bathroom, and a shared private patio or balcony. Shangri-La opened three of Executive Family Rooms through the course of 2019 with the potential of adding more in the future.

3) Elephant Springs Hotel renovations continue

2018 saw major renovations at Elephant Springs with the total revamp of the hotel main building, restaurant and bar, as well as select hotel rooms. 2019 saw the continuation of the hotel’s bedrooms, with an impressive 50 rooms completed by the end of the year. The remaining 4 Family Hotel Rooms will be upgraded early in 2020 with additional entrances and an extra bathroom, which will give these rooms the dual option of being sold as a unit or as two separate rooms. A new deck was also introduced at the Hotel with a slat roof, similar to the new slat roof added to the bar’s street side deck. The Apartments at the property are also scheduled for upgrade during 2020 following the completion of the hotel rooms.

2) TripAdvisor Awards

Two of South of Africa’s hotels, namely the 5-star Abalone House & Spa and the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, became recipients of the 2019 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, making it Abalone House’s 8th consecutive win since receiving its first award in 2012, and giving Shangri-La it’s fifth award, having received this honour for 4 years in a row from 2012 – 2016. 

1) South of Africa wins big at Lilizela Tourism Awards

2019 saw South of Africa take home two provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards. Compared to 2018’s 4 nominations, this year saw the group lead with a massive 7 nominations – one for each of its Tourism Graded properties – including first time nods to Bid Huisie in Prince Albert, Funky Stay in Modimolle and Elephant Springs in Bela Bela. The Abalone Pool Villas won at provincial level for a second year in a row, and Modimolle Funky Stay Backpackers raked in its first provincial win.