Port Elizabeth has much going in its favour. The friendly city on the Sunshine Coast is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean and is part of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality. Home to twenty Blue Flag Beaches, it is also referred to as the ‘Water sport capital of Africa.’ A beautiful city in its own right, it is also a wonderful base to travel across the Sunshine Coast and a great gateway to the Garden Route. We explored the city and used it as a portal to other destinations.
When deciding where to stay in Port Elizabeth, the Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth hotel was an obvious choice for us. It is one of the best hotels in the city and its first international, luxury branded five-star hotel. The hotel celebrates its 10th birthday this year.
Comfort, hospitality and luxury merge beautifully here. Conveniently located in the upmarket suburb of Summerstrand, it is just 10 minutes from the airport and 300 metres from Hobie Beach, with many other beaches within close proximity.
Designed to capture the spirit of the bay and blend in with its surroundings, the hotel exterior consists of a modern glass structure which reflects the blue sky and sea. The interior design is a sophisticated urban style with vibrant red, black and white features. The 18-storey hotel has 173 comfortable rooms and suites with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.
My previous experiences with Radisson Blu had left me with high expectations and Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth did not disappoint us. After a warm welcome at the hotel, we were escorted to our rooms on the 14th floor. Our family had two adjacent rooms which could be accessed by a single door to form a suite. Ours was a business-class room while the kids had a twin room. The rooms were decorated in soothing earthy tones. They had huge beds, workstations and seating areas.
High-speed, complimentary wireless internet, Nespresso machines, and other mod cons were provided. Floor to ceiling windows indulged us with sweeping views of the ocean and the city and I spent a significant amount of time admiring them. The bathrooms featured open-plan bathtubs with enclosed toilets and showers.
Generous welcome baskets filled with delicious snacks and drinks as well as games to keep the children entertained, awaited us. My children wasted no time in enjoying their goodies. We found ourselves torn between wanting to relax in our comfortable rooms and going out to explore our surroundings.
In the mornings, we indulged in buffet breakfasts at the Tabu Grill, the hotel’s in-house restaurant. Eggs, freshly smoked Norwegian salmon, delicious buttery scones with whipped cream and jam, and freshly squeezed orange juice were some of the dishes we relished.
The restaurant opens onto the wooden pool deck, which is a great meeting and sundowner spot, with its sleek couches and great views. If it’s a workout you want, then you can get one at the hotel’s well-equipped fitness centre. Personally, I prefer to skip the workout and head for the spa.
The name ‘amani’ means ‘peace’ in Swahili and I enjoyed a relaxing spa treatment at the in-house Amani Spa. My skilled therapist Melissa treated me to one of the spa’s signature treatments, the Kurhula Body Ritual – a luxurious massage coupled with a revitalising mini facial. It was just what I needed at the end of a busy week of travelling. The spa also has a Turkish Rasul Steam room.
Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth is not only a great business hotel, it is a great family hotel too. Children of all ages are welcome and complimentary cots are provided for the very young. We saw many families there apart from ours, during our stay, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. I found the friendly city so much more peaceful and relaxing than chaotic Johannesburg, and the Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth was the perfect place to stay there.
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