The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) sets quality criteria for the grading of tourism products. A 5-Star Premium status was introduced in 2019, for those establishments in South Africa that exceed 5-Star status in terms of product luxury, quality and service. To date just a handful of hospitality establishments in South Africa carry the prestigious 5-star Premium status.
PREMIUM GRADING OF HOSPITALITY ESTABLISHMENTS
TGCSA has operated since 2002, as a business unit of South African Tourism. The introduction of 5-Star Premium status last year is an important step towards recognizing exceptional hospitality products, and maintaining such standards – because 5-Star premium status is awarded for one year only, and thereafter establishments must be re-assessed for renewal of the status.
Important for travellers to bear in mind, though, is that not nearly all of South Africa’s super-luxury, unique lodges have opted for TGCSA grading, perhaps because they feel that grading criteria, even now, just do not do full justice to lodges at the pinnacle of exclusivity. Or perhaps the thinking is that categorization per se entails comparison to others and therefore runs counter to absolute one-of-a-kindness. There are, in fact, a plethora of lodges that have not gone the grading route, but undoubtedly far exceed expectations in terms of uniqueness and top quality service, experience, food, location, and more. Nonetheless, 5-Star Premium is a most noteworthy status.
IN MPUMALANGA: LION SANDS IVORY LODGE
Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is a splendid safari lodge in the Sabi sand Private Game Reserve in Mpumalanga. Guest villas are beautifully positioned at the place where the Sabie and Sand rivers meet. These stunning bush retreats offer private lounge, patio, deck and pool. Luxury you will find in copious quantities. Another special feature is that Kosher cuisine is freshly prepared on site at Ivory Lodge. Guests can elect, at an additional cost, to spend a night of their safari under the stars at either Chalkley or Kingston Treehouse, both utterly luxurious close-to-wilderness experiences. The wildlife safari experience is top quality. Mail us.
Cheetah Plains is a splendid and contemporary safari destination in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Three exclusive-use Plains Houses make sublime bush homes for small private groups and families. Each designer-crafted house offers sumptuous, king-bedded suites; formal lounge and living room; dining area; expansive sun deck, day bed and heated swimming pool; wine gallery and chef’s kitchen. Each house accommodates up to 8 guests. Spa and gym facilities are available for use between the twice-daily safaris in a game reserve that shares an unfenced 50-kilometre boundary with Kruger National Park. Mail us.
IN HOEDSPRUIT AREA: ROYAL MALEWANE
Royal Malewane is an ultra-luxurious safari lodge in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve on the Western Border of The Greater Kruger National Park. Here, all the opulence of a bygone era is captured, and alongside that are all the finest modern comforts. Stay at either the grand, classic Main Lodge or at The Farmstead which is more contemporary. Enjoy a superb wildlife experience. Mail us.
IN HOEDSPRUIT AREA: KAPAMA KARULA
Kapama Karula is a sleek and luxurious safari camp hidden away along the banks of the perennial Klaserie River. Open-plan living areas are chic and contemporary, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors inviting the light and the wilderness in. The Karula Library & Media Room and the pool deck are special features of the camp. Ten superior suites and two family suites offer superb luxury in a beautiful riverside setting. All the suites have their own leisure decks and pools. The Karula Spa and Fitness Centre offers a range of spa treatments and body workouts. Mail us.
IN CAPE TOWN: THE SILO HOTEL
The Silo Hotel is an extraordinary contemporary hotel in Cape Town, lording it above the V&A Waterfront. Thoroughly modern and state-of-the art, this hotel has been built in the grain elevator section of a historic grain silo complex. The hotel occupyies six floors above Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) which houses Africa’s largest collection of contemporary art. The Silo Hotel is a one-of-its-kind celebration of art, style, architecture and design. Mail us.
IN CAPE WINELANDS: LEEU ESTATES
Leeu Estates is the flagship property of Leeu Collection and the only hotel in the Cape Winelands to date to have been awarded 5-Star Premium status. Superb rooms and suites feature bespoke furniture, wool-and-sisal carpets, and textured layers of linen, horsehair, leather, wood and stone. Marble-clad bathrooms are equally luxurious. Top-level French-inspired dining happens at Le Chêne in the Manor House. Mail us.
Birkenhead House is a prestigious beach hotel in Hermanus, elevated on top of jagged cliffs to overlook the ‘whale nursery’ Walker Bay. Contemporary décor is a blend of beach-house character and quirky opulence. Mail us.
Mail us to book these and other exclusive hotels and lodges in South Africa, or speak to us on +27 21 797 7122.