With long weekends beckoning and travel restrictions lightened, luxury getaways are back — and the boutique art hotel No5 by Mantis in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) ticks all the boxes.
No5 by Mantis is an immaculately restored Art Deco building in Summerstrand’s Brighton Drive, one block from the best beach in the city.
For me, it’s No 5’s dizzying array of art that sets it apart from other five-star hotels. Andy Warhol, William Kentridge, Sam Nhlengethwa, Maureen Quin, Duncan Stewart, Anton Momberg, Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Hanneke Benade are names more often seen in national, and international, art galleries — but here, you’ll find their works on display as you venture through the hotel.
No5 owner Nelson Mandela Bay businessman Adrian Gardiner — who put the Eastern Cape on the map as a luxury safari destination when he founded Shamwari Private Game Reserve — is a long-standing environmentalist and patron of the arts and has put more than 200 pieces from his private collection on display. Each piece has been carefully curated into the interior design, giving the space less of an art gallery feel and more of a natural home comfort with exquisite taste feel.
I also love the indulgence of No5’s Mountbatten Cinema, modelled on Prince Charles’ private cinema in Clarence House, London. No adverts or clambering over other bodies! If you are one of its 14 guests curled up with popcorn, it feels like snuggling on the sofa at home — except that home belongs to a Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk with five-star service.
The food is also delicious. At the Jazz Room, the wildebeest fillet is a best-seller, and the linefish is sourced daily from the deli at the harbour. Both the Jazz Room and the Cellar (with a classy vinoteque) are open to members of the public.
Then there’s the stylish and cheeky Salon Privé, a Havana-style cigar lounge where you can kick back and enjoy a wee dram of Lagavulin 16 as you puff on your Montecristo or Romeo Y Julieta.
There’s plenty to lure you in. Take a dip in the pool, sweat it out at the gym, or wind down at the spa — which has been remodelled as a medi-spa, and is re-opening on April 1. SA’s first TITE Medi Spa by Camelot is a hybrid of relaxing massages and beauty treatments combined with the procedures and expertise of an aesthetic clinic. Chemical peels, anti-wrinkle injectables, fat-freeze treatments and IV therapy are on the menu — all in plush privacy.
Seriously, whose body doesn’t want pampering after the year we’ve all had?
Cluster GM Tracy Lancaster is quick to reassure potential guests about Covid-19 protocols at No5 by Mantis, outlining changes such as scrapping the breakfast buffet.
“These changes have been crucial in maintaining the safety of both our guests and our team. Our guests are provided with their own personal protective equipment (PPE) packs for ease of mind and our rooms are meticulously sanitised and sealed prior to check-in,” says Lancaster.
“Guests booking a long stay for medi spa treatments will be offered a healthy menu designed in conjunction with their health needs, and we will be offering a juicing menu.”
If you do want to venture from this oasis of luxury, then a few hundred metres away you can have a flutter at the Boardwalk casino, and the stunning Humewood Golf Course links is a short drive to the south. No5 is also a convenient stopover en route to other luxe Mantis properties in the Eastern Cape — think Founders Lodge, and Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve — but we’ll bet that you won’t want to leave.
• No5 by Mantis is at 5 Brighton Drive, Summerstrand, Gqeberha, 041-502-6000