Royal Malewane is one of those special places that in magazines may seem only like an African dream. In reality, it is just as exquisite and welcoming as one could imagine. Tiffany Dowd muses over her recent stay at the mother jewel in Liz Biden’s Royal Portfolio crown, Royal Malewane.
Watching the sunrise as I landed in Johannesburg flying overnight from London was a dream. With a quick layover and a short flight to Hoedspruit on South African Airways over the beautiful and rustic terrain, I couldn’t believe I was finally here. John from the Royal Malewane, who would be my trekking guide the next few days, welcomed me at the tiny airport and took me on the quick half hour ride to the lodge. Little did I know the safari would begin even before I arrive at the Royal Malewane, I spotted two giraffes alongside the road and even a warthog and several impalas on our drive to the lodge!
The rooms at Royal Malewane are breathtaking with high ceilings and are tastefully decorated with a four poster bed with wisps of mosquito netting. Beautiful interior details are all selected by the owner, Liz Biden, who creates a magical sense of place at each of her hotels. I was particularly fond of the subtle African touches, oriental rugs, beautiful soaking tub with spectacular views and indoor and outdoor shower. More beautiful details such as working fireplaces, lovely orchids, flowers from the garden decorating the bathroom and minibar full with lovely snacks can be found. There are even power converters for several outlet types. The gorgeous pool and sitting area in each room is the perfect place to enjoy lunch. Dinner in the evenings is highly romantic. Beautiful candles light the rustic chic settings, and the chef prepares a special menu each night over a firing grill.
Guests are taken on two game drives a day, one early morning and the other in the early afternoon through to the evening. It was hard to believe that I saw the Big Five within 24 hours, but I did. On safari, we spotted the white rhino, cape buffalo and a pride of lions. The guides and trackers were knowledgeable sharing the very best of the Thorny Bush Preservation. We even stopped to have a lovely drink at sunset which looked painted in the skyline. As the night drew on, the stars came out twinkling bright and we continued our trek until we returned home to Royal Malewane. The staff were waiting for us with warm hot chocolate and when I retreated to my room, housekeeping had drawn a warm bath for before dinner. I was in heaven.
In between game drives, you can spend the afternoon reading, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful spa. Inviting day beds make it the perfect place to relax before venturing out into the wilderness again.
Royal Malewane makes you feel like this is your own home in the African wilderness. The staff were so accommodating, the service was very personalised and the lodge size was very intimate. Of all the hotels I’ve stayed in around the world, this one made me cry when leaving out of sheer happiness. I am definitely going to be returning again next year!
About our guest blogger: Tiffany Dowd is founder & President of Luxe Social Media, a company dedicated to advising luxury travel and luxury brands on social media marketing and online strategy.
If you are interested in booking a stay at Royal Malewane then get in touch with our Africa experts on 020 7843 3500 and they can help you to plan your dream South Africa safari holiday today.
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