Prana Lodge, the Eastern Cape’s premier boutique hotel in Chintsa East on the Wild Coast, has received another two awards: the World Luxury Hotel Award 2018 for Global Winner – Luxury Beach Retreat and the national Lilizela Tourism award for Best Hotel in the Eastern Cape 2018.
“The world award in our category is our second,” said Gail Davidson, Prana’s owner.
Over the nine years it has been in business, Prana has won countless local and national awards, all displayed in the reception area.
They include Tripadvisor’s Best Hotel for Romance in 2017 and first place in the Africa and Middle East category for the Luxury Travel Guide Awards 2016.
Success, said Davidson, was about teamwork.
“We hire people from the local village wherever possible, and they make up most of the 60-strong staff. We look for attitude ahead of skills, and train the latter,” she said.
When Prana was launched, Davidson and her daughter, Megan van der Berg, marketing director, started by doing every job at the hotel.
Neither had any training or experience in the hospitality industry. She said their initial success was a direct result of “the wonderful support from East Londoners”, who still account for 70% of the turnover.
The results are obvious from the awards and accolades, and “they are all about our people”.
The intense focus on training is also evident in one of Prana’s main attractions, the food.
“Our chefs are artists, the plating is beautiful. One of the chefs, a local man, started in the scullery, and today he could get a job in any kitchen.”
Another standout area is the wellness centre. Appointments for the health packages are booked well in advance, and most of the team are “highly skilled local women”.
“We are fortunate that our December holiday season is already booked out. That’s because of our people and the Prana spirit.”
By: Ted Keenan – DispatchLIVE