Hotel Verde

South Africa has many impressive hotels and among them is Hotel Verde. The hotel is situated in Cape Town near the airport and it is South Africa’s greenest Hotel. Hotel Verde has won many prestigious awards and is an inspiration to other South African businesses to go green. Travelling Mystery Guest did a short interview with them to share their story with the hospitality industry.

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“Verde” means green in Italian. Is this where the name, Hotel Verde, originated from? 

It is Mario Delicio, along with his wife Annamarie, who are the owners and directors of Hotel Verde. They are originally from Italy, so this is where the Italian influence comes from, particularly in our restaurant, called Nuovo. It was the Delicio’s daughter, Anika, who came up with the name, Hotel Verde, to pay homage to the family’s Italian heritage and the hotel’s sustainability concepts.

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Hotel Verde opened its doors in 2013 and you have already won a few awards. Was it difficult at the beginning to convince consumers to be more eco-friendly? 

Hotel Verde Cape Town has been designed green – we hold a double LEED platinum certification by the United States Green Building Council, which looks at both design and construction, as well as daily operation and maintenance. A guest’s carbon footprint is reduced simply by staying at our hotel, so it hasn’t been difficult to encourage guests to be Eco-friendly. In most cases the choice to stay with us is already a sustainable decision. If they wish, guests can make their stay even more sustainable by using our energy-generating gym equipment, opting to take the stairs over the elevator, or reusing their bath towels. We also have a guest incentive program that rewards guests for going the extra mile in this way. By making Eco-friendly choices during their stay, guests can earn Verdinos and each Verdino is equivalent to R5, which can be redeemed against purchases at the hotel during their stay.

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Being quite the trendsetter in South-Africa, are you planning to expand? 

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Our parent company, Verde Hotels, offers sustainable hospitality solutions with a turnkey approach. They currently operate within Africa and are developing a resort in Zanzibar, which will open in late 2017. This will be the second hotel under the Verde Hotels brand.

 

 

Was it expensive to start the hotel? Considering all the special equipment that you use?

The green budget of nearly 11% makes it possible that today, Hotel Verde Cape Town can operate the hotel at only 35% of water usage and a 35 % of power usage of a conventional hotel of the same size. It is therefore the best investment in the long term.

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Are you continuously adding new ways to preserve the earth? 

As technology progresses, new and more efficient practices are made possible. We are always on the lookout for improvements at Hotel Verde and continually strive to regularly review daily operations in an effort to go greener. An example would be our approach to the current water crisis in the Cape – we have created additional signage to encourage guests to save water and only refill conferencing water bottles on request, among other implementations. For our brand, the newest example would also be the new Hotel Verde Zanzibar, which in some areas have equipment even more efficient than what was purchased 5 years ago for Hotel Verde Cape Town.

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Who / what was the main inspiration for the start of Verde hotels? 

The Delicio family believes that we all have a responsibility to the planet and should live sustainably; it was this thinking that inspired them to conceptualize not only a hotel, but Africa’s greenest hotel. Each member of the family has had a hand in making Hotel Verde the way we know it today and our staff ensure that our values and sustainable practices work towards staying Africa’s greenest.

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Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

A special thank you to Taryn Hickson, Marketing and Brand Manager at Hotel Verde, who agreed to the interview.

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Die Kruger Nationale Park

Die Kruger Nationale Park is nog altyd ‘n baie gewilde toeriste aantreklikheid – nie net vir buitelanders nie maar ook vir Suid-Afrikaners. Een van Travelling Mystery Guest se mystery guests het onlangs by Satara gebly en ‘n staptoer in die park gedoen. Soos gewoonlik het die wildtuin, met sy verskeidenheid dier- en plantspesies, nie teleurgestel nie.

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CAPE WINELANDS SHOULD BE TARGETING DOMESTIC AFROPOLITANS FOR GREATER GROWTH, SAYS EXPERT

Cape Point

“Cosmopolitan Africans (*Afropolitans) could boost the annual South African economy by more than R2 billion and grow tourism. That is if they are given appealing reasons to travel within the country,” says Jerry Mabena, CEO of Thebe Services that owns the Thebe Tourism Group.

Mabena will be telling delegates just how this can be achieved at the upcoming Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference, taking place at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch on 20 September.

His various qualifications, including a degree in industrial psychology and economics from Rhodes University, have equipped him well in his integrated, strategic and forward-thinking approach to business. He has held senior executive positions at Telkom, Kagiso Exhibitions and Events, as well as the Thebe Investment Corporation. His career started at Unilever as a graduate trainee.  In his current capacity as CEO of Thebe Services Division, Mabena looks after Thebe Investment Corporation’s stake in organisations such as the Thebe Tourism Group that owns Club Travel, Cape Point Concession and Tour D’Afrique, as well as Kaya FM, the 2017 commercial radio station of the year, also known as the home of the Afropolitan.

Dusk in Paarl

Afropolitans are global in their outlook, straddle the divide between African and Western cultures, and have the disposable income for travel, yet they are largely ignored by the local travel and tourism industry, he contends.

“South African Afropolitans, who are part of the post-Struggle generation, are sophisticated consumers plugged into global trends.  They have the means and appetite for travel and discovery.  As with any other Millennials, they are digitally connected, value experiences over commodities, are knowledgeable about wine and fine dining and are waiting to be targeted.  Why are travel marketers ignoring these high-income earners who could also potentially serve as ambassadors for brand South Africa? Cape Winelands tourism providers should be going out there to find out how to talk to Afropolitans and give them what they want.  And when they get it right, the knock-on effect for the individual rural Winelands economies will be significant.”

The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference, now in its second year, is convened by seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Margi Biggs.

Margi Biggs

She says that this year’s forum will include a range of top speakers, in addition to Mabena. Other big names are CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona; Don Shindle, an expert in customer service from Napa, California’s renowned wine tourism epicentre; Dr Robin Back, a US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US; as well as world-renowned US lifestyle TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female Master Sommeliers in the world.

Robinson’s address will cover festival sponsorships and themed wine region promotions for Delta Airlines’ Sky Club.

Biggs says delegates will come away with new insights on customer experience and loyalty. The programme will also cover such topics as virtual reality, food chain sustainability, attracting new markets (even within South Africa), and PR trouble shooting.

Biggs believes that travel and tourism can potentially contribute significantly more than it currently does to South Africa’s national GDP.  The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127,9bn, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP.

Trainees and professionals working in the Cape’s wine, food and tourism industries are encouraged to register to attend the conference. A fee of R3 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate will apply, up until 18 August.  Special discount is available for SAACI, SATSA, SITE and Cape Town Tourism members on request to specialt@iafrica.com.

For more information on the conference, or to register online, visit www.wineandfood.co.za.   

* The term, “Afropolitan” was coined in 2005 by author and photographer Taiye Selasie.

 

Social media:

Twitter and Facebook: @winefoodconf

Travelling Mystery Guest’s Favourite Coffee Shops

Given the nature of our business, we all obviously love coffee shops and restaurants. Travelling Mystery Guest consulted our mystery guests to compile our top 5 favourite coffee shops. We encourage you to visit these lovely places to see for yourself why we love them.

  1. Exclusive Books Hyde Park Corner

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Being a book lover and an old fashioned millennial, this shop offers something special. The book section is surrounded by a coffee shop and in between the shelves there are old couches where people can sit and read. You can buy a book and go and read it whilst enjoying some coffee. It’s a gathering of bookworms and the vibe is very welcoming to anyone who, like our mystery guest, is a book fanatic.

2. Afroboer 

This coffee shop is popular due to various factors; their quality coffee, the delicious cakes and fresh pastries. Our mystery guest especially loves the décor.  The inside of this restaurant is lovely, with high ceilings and wooden floors that creates a beautiful space. Afroboers location is also quite central, making it accessible for all their customers! Be sure to visit this place for a true African-Boer experience!

3. Woolworths at Menlyn Maine  

teapot-598122_1920Though we all are quite accustomed to Woolworths stores, our mystery guest enjoys this particular branch because of their wide variety of teas and their delicious white hot chocolate. Woolworths also has very nice food. Menlyn Maine is still a relatively new shopping centre with a lot of nice shops attracting customers, thus Woolworths is located in the ideal setting.

 

 

 

 

4. Pltfrm at the Pretoria Gautrain Station

This cute little coffee shop is located in Pretoria Central Business District near the Gautrain station. The layout looks very cozy and it’s a café type coffee shop. Pltfrm’s has a lot to offer, including craft beer, wifi, outdoor seating and live entertainment. This café has a rustic look and is perfect for delicious coffee and some yummy food before jumping on the Gautrain. Our other mystery guests are surely going to visit this restuarant!

5. Aroma Coffee in Lynnwood

Aroma

Image credit: www.aromacoffee.co.za

Most students and people living in the Brooklyn and Hatfield areas will be familiar with this coffee shop. Together with its adjacent attraction, the Aroma Gelato store, a dynamic duo is created. With the small street-like café vibe, it’s really cozy and the coffee is delicious. One will definitely be craving ice cream when leaving there, so why not pop in next door and grab a sugar cone! This place is very well suited for a casual gathering of a small group of friends.

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

 

British Airways boosts seats to Lagos

Refurbished Boeing 747s offer more seats, lie-flat beds, state-of-the art inflight entertainment, enhanced interiors.

British Airways is increasing the number of seats to Nigeria, introducing its newly refurbished Boeing 747-400s to Lagos from September.

The aircraft are larger than the Boeing 777s which the airline currently operates and will add an extra 343 seats a week on the busy route between London and Nigeria’s commercial capital.

As well as a refreshed interior, with the look and feel of British Airways newest aircraft, and state-of-the-art entertainment system, the revamped 747s also have a larger Club World cabin, with 16 more lie-flat beds.

British Airways

The refurbished jumbos are already in service on routes including New York, Chicago, Johannesburg, Dubai, Boston, Riyadh, Kuwait, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC.

Kola Olayinka, British Airways commercial manager in Nigeria, says: “We know customers who fly in these aircraft appreciate the improved interiors, with their mood lighting, updated  seating and the new entertainment system.”

The aircraft are equipped with Panasonic’s next-generation eX3 entertainment system, which will give customers a choice of over 1,300 hours of entertainment, including more than 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, high-resolution screens, with touch and swipe functionality, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.

As part of the upgrade, customers in World Traveller Plus will now have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe. In addition, World Traveller customers will have their own USB sockets to power phones and tablets.

New seat foams have been installed in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus to increase customer comfort and updated seat covers fitted to match those on the A380 and 787.

Seats on the new Boeing 747 service are on sale from 19 July 2017. The flight numbers and schedule will remain the same with BA75 departing Heathrow at 11:30 and landing in Lagos at 17:55. The return service operates as BA74, leaving Lagos at 22:55 and arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 05:25 the following morning.

British Airways has also launched its multi-million pound investment plan to benefit its customers with a focus on excellence in the premium cabins and more choice and quality for all.

Four hundred million pounds will be spent on Club World with an emphasis on improved catering and sleep, and a new seat in the future. At Heathrow a First Wing check-in area with direct security and lounge access has launched, and lounges around the airline’s network are to be revamped and improved. The Club Europe cabin has also been introduced on UK domestic services and all customers can look forward to the latest generation Wi-Fi across British Airways’ long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years.

TMG’s top 5 travel boots!

Travelling can be hard on your feet, especially considering the activities some tourists are interested in. Travelling Mystery Guest has done some online window shopping and we have chosen our top 5 favourite and fashionable boots for men and women! They are available from Poetry, Old Khaki, Cape Union Mart, Due South and Outdoor Warehouse.

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  1. Women

Caitlyn boots

Caitlyn Boots , Poetry R1499

Rare earth dana boots

Rare earth Dana Boots , Poetry R1399

Rare earth kath boot

Rare earth Kath Boots , Poetry R999

Caterpillar irenea boot

Caterpillar Irenea Boots ,  Poetry R1499

Caterpillar Lillian leather boot

Caterpillar Lillian Leather Ankle Boot , Due South R1999

2. Men

Caterpillar oatman boots

Caterpillar Oatman Boots , Cape Union Mart R1499

Caterpillar grayson

Caterpillar Grayson Boots , Outdoor Warehouse R1850

Arthur jack corbin boots

Arthur Jack Corbin Shoe , Cape Union Mart R1399

Arthur jack ronan boots

Arthur Jack Ronan Boots , Old Khaki R1399

Hi tech Men's altitude V Waterproof boot

Hi-tec Men’s Altitude V Waterproof Boots , Outdoor Warehouse R1895

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys 

Would you like some tea?

Everyone has a preferred hot drink. Whether it’s strong espresso, sweet Milo, malty Horlicks or the classic cappuccino, with the weather forcing us under a blanket, Travelling Mystery Guest wanted to take a look at what interesting and relaxing teas there are. Some teas have beautiful colours and it might just help to brighten up the grey mood accompanying winter.tea-1132529_19201. Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus

This tea has a crimson or deep magenta colour. It almost looks like some sort of soda, except it’s much healthier. Some of the health benefits of Hibiscus tea include lowering high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also assists with digestive system problems and strengthening your immune system. When dieting, this tea can help to speed up your metabolism to help you lose weight faster. It is also rich in vitamin C, which aids in wound healing and dental gum health. You can drink this tea hot or cold and some sugar or honey can be added to sweeten it up.

 

 

 

2. Black Tea

Black tea

Black tea usually has a more intense flavour than other teas like green tea. This is because black tea is more oxidised.  Black tea is already a very popular tea because of its various health benefits. It is said to help with digestive problems, low concentration levels and poor blood circulation. The colour of the tea itself is not actually black, which one would expect given the name, but the oxidised leaves are, in fact, black. The tea has a dark reddish colour and in China, this tea is actually referred to as “red tea”.

3. Earl Grey Tea

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Most people are familiar with this Earl Grey tea and personally, it is one of my favourites.

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Bergamot

This tea is flavoured with the oil of bergamot, which is found in the bergamot orange peel. This gives the tea its orange-blossom-like aroma. This tea also has an unexpected beauty hack – bergamot is one of the products that promote hair growth, so for anyone who is a fan of tea and who desires long and luscious hair, why not drink some Earl Grey?

4. White tea

white teaThis tea’s leaves are minimally processed (from the Camellia sinensis plant). Its name originates from the fact that there are fine white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, and this gives the plant a whitish appearance. As with the other teas, white tea also has a few health benefits. These include antioxidant properties, anti-aging properties and white tea can also aid in preventing excessive thirst among people with diabetes.

 

5. Blue tea

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Being more of a coffee drinker myself, I was quite intrigued to learn that there is a bright

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Butterfly pea blossom 

blue coloured tea out there. The tea gets its blue colour due to the presence of blue flowers often blended with white or black teas. Of course, the more flower petals in the tea, the brighter the colour (which can range from light yellow to deep blue). The most common flower used is the butterfly pea blossom. If ever given the opportunity, I will definitely try this one!