South Africa’s most generous and luxurious accommodation – the African Suite at The Palace of the Lost City – has been given a bespoke modern refurbishment which sees it retain its quintessential spirit of African elegance.
Since the Sun International five-star hotel opened its doors at Sun City 30 years ago, the African Suite has hosted world leaders and celebrities including Michael Jackson, Elton John, Tina Turner and Adam Sandler.
The 332m² suite has two en-suite guestrooms, each with its own seating area, a main lounge and dining room, cocktail bar area, guest toilet, study and butler’s kitchen. The “house in the sky” also boasts a 245m² terrace with a jacuzzi, day beds and loungers.
“We have modernised the suite but maintained the essence of The Palace’s origins which is African expression,” said interior designer, David Muirhead, of David Muirhead & Associates who answered the hotel’s brief. “It is penthouse living at its very best – it is an understated African luxury which evokes a sense of peace.”
The suite’s front door opens into the open-plan lounge and dining room, with glass windows opening onto the terrace, beyond which lie mountains covered in lush natural vegetation.
“We have drawn our inspiration for the space from the colour of the landscape which the suite overlooks and which is reflected in the interior colour, that is called misty mountain.” It is this soft green hue which Muirhead explains is responsible for the suite’s cocoon of tranquillity and calm.
The walls are clad in a multitude of original artwork by local artists, including botanicals by Sibonelo Chiliza, photographs by Charles Johnstone, oils by Sue Martin and a colourful but gentle piece by Fatima Moosa. Other works include those by Bokang Mankoe and Luke Batha.
Many of the original furniture items have been retained, but all soft furnishings as well as bathroom sanitarywear are new, and proffer a sense of understated luxury. The doors and windows are dressed with velvet curtains by Ardmore Design, a local luxury lifestyle brand with a focus on skills transfer and training. Ardmore also designed the gold wallpaper which is used in the guest toilet.
Traditional African prints can be busy and loud, but Muirhead & Associates used the colours of nature and prints which eschewed a sense of peace and harmony – an escape from the hustle, bustle and action of Sun City outside the suite’s doors.
“This is penthouse living which would suit the requirements of a family or business associates – it feels like a magnificent home. When you enter, a sense of peace descends. I’m thrilled with the final product, and think Sol Kerzner would have been too,” Muirhead said.
Much of the design, manufacture and installation was done using local artisans, including a chandelier which was made in the Cape. Muirhead paid tribute to the team involved with the suite’s redesign – from contractors to project management to artists and manufacturers – saying they had worked to exceptionally high standards while meeting tight deadlines.
The Palace General Manager, Nico Myburgh, said the African Suite was unquestionably luxurious. “The only question remains now is to see which big name celebrity will be the first to enjoy a stay in its palatial surroundings.”
Set in tropical gardens with water features, The Palace recently opened the Royal Spa to pamper the Resort’s guests.