Check In – Sleeper Magazine – January / February 2012
Inge Moore worked on numerous hotel and casino projects for South African hotel group Sun International, before moving to the UK where she now heads up HBA London / The Gallery – the London office of global hotel design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates.
Where are we?
In Africa on a huge plain surrounded by wild animals, but we also have the ocean on one side and a sweeping sky above – this isn’t a real country, but a combination of what is best about nature and hospitality.
How did you get here?
On an open bi-plane – scarf flapping in the wind and wearing leather-trimmed flight goggles.
Who are you sharing your room with?
My life partner and best friend, B.
Is there anything you would like waiting for you in your room on arrival?
The room has an arrangement of fresh, handpicked wild flowers, scented candles, and a cocktail shaker ready with the perfect Mojito.
Who’s at the concierge desk?
There is no concierge desk, everything is family style. You speak directly with the manager and any of the staff can get whatever you want or need within seconds.
And the manager?
Charles Oak manages the property and has thought of every detail for impeccable service delivery. Charles is the former GM of The May Fair and is now with the wonderful Heckfield Place in Hampshire, one of our current projects.
Describe the hotel building, your room and the view...
My room is a corner suite with floor-to-ceiling glass walls on three sides providing 180 degree views. It’s a stand-alone structure, so there are no noises from the neighbours except for the animal variety. No air conditioning, but it is naturally ventilated and built from local stone and timber. There is excellent high-speed Wi-Fi that is free and connects instantly since I want to stay in touch with my team and clients. The view is framed by dark timber beams and soft sheers for privacy. Each glass side is perfectly aligned with a breathtaking vista – to the east I can see the sun rise over the African plains, and the room has a big daybed to wake-up on and a beautiful trunk set-up with a Lavazza coffee machine; to the north – Mount Kilimanjaro, a lunch table and an infinity-edge private pool; and to the west is the ocean. On the shoreline are two loungers and a drinks trolley filled with a gorgeous collection of cocktail shakers and all the ingredients you could possibly need.
Who designed it?
It was put together by Coco Chanel; everything has a texture that is so sensual you want to touch it.
What’s the restaurant / bar like?
It’s the perfect home kitchen – a large central table with a huge real fireplace on one end; Sub-Zero fridges; a wood-burning oven and an amazing wine collection with each bottle labelled with a small chalk board swing tag that describes the flavours and tells you interesting details about the wine.
Who are you dining with this evening?
1. My B for love
2. My sisters for family
3. The Girls – my four best girlfriends – for the soul
4. Stanley and Livingstone – to tell us stories about their great adventures
5. Peter Beard – to tell us about the arts and saving the wild
Who’s manning the stoves?
An exquisite-looking local woman with the most amazing smile; you can see she loves the fresh food she collected from the markets this morning, and she has magical hands that turn the produce into something really special that smells fresh and zesty.
And what’s on the menu?
Starter: Fresh oysters on ice with lemon and chilli sauce.
Main: Corn on the cob with lime-zest butter, a fresh grilled lobster served with a tomato and herb salad, and home-baked bread.
Dessert: Handmade vanilla ice cream with espresso poured over it, as served at the River Café. Later on, there is a cheese platter.
Would you like something to drink with that?
Veuve Clicquot champagne with the oysters. Boekenhoutskloof’s The Chocolate Block syrah with the main, Port with the ice cream.
What music is on the iPod on your in-room docking station?
1. Ella Fitzgerald Sings With Her Friends
2. Soundtrack to The English Patient
4. Trumpet player Lew Soloff
And a book at bedtime?
No reading – instead, stargazing while laying on a cashmere blanket in the grass.
What’s in the mini-bar for a night cap?
A Dalwhinnie scotch with lots of ice and water for me, on the rocks for B.