Eco Chic in Mozambique – Luxury Lodges Showcase Sustainable Style

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Azura at Quilalea, which opened in November 2011, underwent a six month renovation project redeveloping the entire infrastructure, expanding facilities and upgrading the nine luxurious villas in keeping with its pristine environment in the very southern part of the Quirimbas Archipelago. The new lodge is a true eco boutique retreat. The accommodation has been revamped in Azura’s trademark subtle yet stunning way, with natural furnishings and pure African elegance. The villas are built from natural coral stone and makuti thatch, and are open-plan and spacious with stylish décors of wood, cotton and locally sourced materials such as rope, pebbles and rattan. Conscious of its stunning setting and the need to preserve it, Azura at Quilalea has embarked on a unique energy saving project. All of the villas have an energy control system whereby guests can choose their own energy consumption through a wall switch at their villa, opting for either ‘ECO’ or ‘LUXE’; Eco resulting in power for the bare minimum requirements for the room, such as basic lighting and fan, or Luxe providing all mod cons including Aircon.Further south along the Mozambique coastline, Quilalea’s sister property, Azura on Benguerra Island (opened 2007) was hand built by the local community, and blends designer modern chic with all that is traditional in Mozambique. This includes beautifully carved beams, polished wooden floors and artisan artwork faultlessly finished off with the creature comforts of a five star boutique hotel.

    Azura is an ethical lodge, owned and operated in partnership with the local community, with a vision to harness the power of responsible tourism for the benefit of the local people, whilst conserving the unique cultural and biological diversity of Benguerra Island. Even before the building plans were finalised or the first brick laid, a dedicated team of environmental specialists were appointed to identify valuable and essential local projects that Azura could support.

    The actual building of Azura was done by hand using a local workforce of some 350 people, many of whom were trained up from their previous lives as subsistence fishermen. Extensive use was made of natural materials, transported to the island by dhow to reduce the amount of fuel utilised in the process. A state of the art sewerage treatment plant was installed to recycle the water thereby preventing damage to the environment often seen in the area by the use of soakaways.

    The accommodation at Azura includes 16 spacious beach villas all just a stones throw from the beach. Nestled amidst the indigenous trees and bushes, each villa offers a private sanctuary for the ultimate in relaxation, furnished with cool designer contemporary cottons and textures of Africa, designed in complete harmony with their surroundings.

    Coral Lodge 15.41 (opened in June 2010), a contemporary beach lodge in Northern Mozambique, was created by renowned Dutch designer Edward Van Vliet. An interior designer by trade, Van Vliet has added luxury hotel design to his portfolio, which is where he has made his mark. When creating Coral Lodge 15.41 he set out to combine the latest in luxury and comfort with an authentic feel of Mozambican style and pureness. Thanks to his use of natural colours and mix of wood and textures the lodge blends effortlessly with its surroundings. Van Vliet’s ethos of creating a ‘beautiful world within worlds’ and of resisting ‘decorative overkill’ but rather of combining traditional design and natural materials with innovative techniques, is apparent in the eclectic nature of Coral Lodge 15.41. A huge part of the design philosophy was the desire to embrace and preserve the wild, rugged and untouched Varanda nature reserve which surrounds the lodge. Privately owned, La Varanda is full of pristine beaches, dunes and mangroves.

    Workers from the local community joined builders from Maputo and South Africa in constructing Coral Lodge, bringing their expertise in thatched roofing and setting tiles in the traditional way. They continue to contribute to the maintenance of the lodge.

    Coral Lodge 15.41 comprises 10 villas, each with a surface area of about 100m². To further enhance the area’s natural setting the villas have been built on top of the dunes to give incredible sea views and a continuous breeze. For complete privacy and relaxation the minimalist villas include various sitting areas, a spacious bedroom, separate bathroom with huge bath and shower and large veranda with comfy chairs and daybed for lazy afternoons.

    Daniel Fountain / 04.04.2012

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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