Imagine a cruise-ship-shaped Art Deco hotel perched on a peninsula jutting into the aqua waters of Vilanculos bay.
This is the gorgeous Dona Ana Hotel. More than sixty years ago, Señor Alves built and named this hotel for the love of his life, Dona Ana. A woman famed for her glamour and gracious hospitality. Today this grand old building has been restored to cool candy Deco perfection while continuing to reflect the personality of its namesake. The exterior is bedecked in fresh sugared almond pastels complete with a low-key illuminated sign that feels very South Beach, Miami. Swooping curving architecture delivers the cruise-liner inspiration.
As I gazed from my balcony at a 270-degree sea view, I felt a fleeting Kate- and-Leo moment sweep over me before turning back for “mais uma cerveja”. The interior design cleverly incorporates the hotel’s Deco-era heritage, its Portuguese history and its place on the east coast of Africa. This mélange of cultures is mixed in an entertaining and harmonious style. The luxury liner influence becomes ever more overt at the fabulous poolside bar where to refuse a cocktail seems foolish. Happily refueling and hydrating are a priority at The Dona Ana. Lunchtime saw us horizontal on the loungers teaming 2M beers with beef koftas, crab samoosas and prawn spring rolls. Breakfast is a bespoke affair.
Quaffable coffee is delivered in satisfyingly massive plungers. Eggs are made to order with the fluffy generously overfilled omelettes being a highlight. Humberto and Madallah made sure we left feeling overfed after having devoured just one more homemade pastry or two.
Even if you spend very little time in your sleeping quarters, they remain a treat at dawn, dusk and during the wave-kissed night. Suites and rooms are dressed in tranquil white and mink tones making a fitting backdrop to the real star of the show. A sea view to indulge the senses, soothe the stresses, defy the possibilities of blues and fill gigabytes of memory cards.
The Dona Ana Hotel is situated in Vilanculos which is less than two hours flying time from Johannesburg. This is the perfect platform from which to launch or finish your Mozambican holiday.
While you are in Vilanculos, do not miss The Casbah…
With a North African name, a sunhat-shaped roof, feet-in-the-sand rustic benches outside, tiffany lamps inside;
The Casbah is a happy study in contrasts that works as surprisingly as a magic carpet. Lying low on a beach of achingly beautiful vistas, this beach bar is unmissable. The hat-shaped roof is surrounded by Bedouin-tent-meets-Crusoe-beach-design and the unaffected bar comfortingly takes centre stage for thirsty travellers, kite-surfers and bikini’d beach floppers. Add a braai on Friday nights with pap and wors to an ever-changing tapas menu featuring items as sophisticated as deep-fried broccoli dusted in parmesan and rolled-in-bacon bits. Now you know why we love the cultural casserole that is Africa.
If you’re overcome with the romance of the moment and find yourself popping the question, The Casbah can arrange the ultimate in beach wedding bells.
Find them in Vilanculos Bay, Mozambique
About the Author: Janet Norman is a Cape Town-based writer and blogger with her head in the clouds. She is constantly in search of the quirky, the surprising and the extraordinary. She has high hopes, she loves horses and she loves to smile. See Janet’s Blog: www.alwaysjumpingneverlanding.com