Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for May, 2007

Leading Africa in the luxury stakes: Thanda walks away with the coveted ‘Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge’ award

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Thanda Private Game Reserve has been deemed the most luxurious destination in Africa, winning ‘Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge’ in the 2007 World Travel Awards ceremony at a gala evening in Abu Dhabi. The award comes only three years after the five-star lodge opened its doors to the public and bears testament to the strong emphasis the lodge places on customer service and unparalleled luxury. The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 to recognise and reward outstanding achievements within the global travel industry and is endorsed by  celebrities and press around the world. The only private game reserve in the world to hold exclusive membership with The Leading Hotels of the World, Thanda’s superlative facilities include a decadent main lodge, authentic safari-style tented camp and award-winning wellness centre.

Other nominees in Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge included Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana, Mnemba Island Lodge in Tanzania, Sabi Sabi and Ulusaba Private Game Reserve.

A Word from the CEO

I would like to congratulate the whole team at Thanda for achieving another outstanding award, the prestigious World Travel Award for ‘Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge’.

It gives me great pleasure and tremendous pride to accept this award alongside Thanda’s Marketing Director, Anita Vernes, and the Lodge Manager, Bianca Shaw.

When Thanda won the 2006 World Travel Award for South Africa’s Leading Safari at an event that took place in Turks & Caicos, the goal was set to walk away with the African title for 2007.

An accomplishment such as winning Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge would not be possible if it were not for the many talented, committed, passionate and outstanding staff who make Thanda what it is. From the chefs who present the meals, the hosts and waitrons who are forever smiling, the porters, trackers, guides, housekeepers, maintenance staff, security, wildlife, the reservationists, the marketers and of course the managers who take responsibility for ensuring that service excellence is exemplified on a consistent basis.

Team work makes the dream work and the Thanda team is no exception. When the owners of Thanda, Christin and Dan Olofsson first set the benchmark that they wanted Thanda transcend private safari lodges in South Africa, I don’t think any of us knew what the journey would yield. I am a firm believer that five-star standards can be taught at the many excellent hotel schools in the country. Seven-star service excellence however, striving to be the “Best of the Best”, requires attitude, a state of mind that transcends what is normally taught and expected. Being able to deliver on this promise of world class service in the middle of the African bush requires that the needs and wants of the guest always have to take priority over everything else.

Whether it is just a helpful smile, or pre-empting what the personal preferences of guests are, making sure that everything from arrival to departure is checked and reviewed, with the right attitude- that’s what makes the difference. It is deliberate, it doesn’t just happen.

I would like to thank the owners Christin and Dan Olofsson for their unwavering support and commitment to making it possible to provide world class accommodation and making sure that every required detail was thought of and properly funded. To our marketing team who display unbelievable belief in promoting and selling the product amidst tremendous and very worthy competition, to the very talented hospitality staff led by the gifted Bianca Shaw, who amaze guests with their “Thandarize” philosophy and attention to detail, to Richard Phiri the master chef, Thabani Gumede who is forever dependable, Truman Ndlovu who inspires guests with his story telling and so the list goes on and on. Well done, I am extremely proud of you all.

Lastly and most importantly, I would like to thank the trade who voted for Thanda. Without your support, not only would we not have won this award, but Thanda would not be the success that it is today, barely three years after opening its doors to the world . To the organisers of the World Travel Awards, well done on another very auspicious awards ceremony at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.