When Dr Reuel and Mumsy Khoza, directors of Hoyohoyo Hotels & Resorts, first dreamed of establishing a hotel to showcase the beauty of Graskop, their vision centred on the creation of a space that spoke equally to the area’s cultural and natural wealth.
Who better to turn this vision into a reality than Donald Nxumalo, the visionary behind Donald Nxumalo Interior Design and one of the most respected names in South African design circles?
Nxumalo’s reputation is well-earned, he is known for his contemporary interpretation of the African aesthetic, his designs effortlessly combine this unique influence with urban chic. The result is unfailingly a look that oozes sophistication without losing sight of intuition, his designs resonate with guests on a fundamental level.
While the COVID-19 pandemic had meant the project was put on hold, the hiatus only served to strengthen the Khoza’s passion for their project. More than a hotel, Angels View was to be their legacy, an ode to its magnificent location and a tribute to the family’s history. This manifests in features like the names of individual suites, which bear the ancestry and heritage of the Khoza and Theledi clans, as well as the strong reflection of Tsonga culture in Nxumalo’s vision for its interiors and within the ten luxury Earth Grotto suites.
The light installations in Mumsy’s, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, and other common areas, are a case in point; hanging shade lights that call to mind the knee-length, pleated Xibelani skirts that are part of traditional dress for Tsonga women. Meanwhile, in the library, sculptures of fish, a symbol of knowledge, transformation, creativity, eternity, and femininity hang on the walls – another nod to cherished tradition. This intimate space reflects Dr Khoza’s respect for intellect and learning and offers the ideal hideaway for visitors needing a quiet space to pause with their thoughts.
Nxumalo has also paid homage to the environment, most notably through a palette of emerald green, rusty orange, beige and yellows – hues that characterise the landscape in this very special part of the world. Features like alcoves in the restaurants, cleverly fashioned to resemble hornets’ nests, are another reminder of Mpumalanga’s astonishing natural terrain.
Both the design and the location of the hotel encourage guests – corporate and leisure alike – to nurture their connection with nature. For instance, the hotel’s rooms (which range from the 10 Earth Grotto suites to the four-bedroom Khoza house and two one-bedroomed suites complete with mini kitchens and private balconies) are adorned with beautiful murals in lieu of headboards; a unique take on décor that strengthens Angels View’s sense of place. The Earth Grotto suites are especially noteworthy in this regard, with rammed earth walls – made from natural soils – and domed roofs amplifying their authenticity.
Nxumalo’s passion for the project is tangible. “I understand the significance of Angels View for the Khoza family, so to be trusted to bring their vision to life is an immense privilege,” he comments. Clearly, he shares their sense of wonder about the setting – and who could blame him, given the splendour of nearby sites like God’s Window. “I really wanted to capture the magic that exists here,” he says. Small wonder, then, that he paid minute attention to detail, commissioning young designers from Johannesburg to create the magnificent bird sculptures, woven screens, and geometric wallpaper that lend the hotel its signature look and feel.
“This part of Mpumalanga begs to be explored. There are so many facets to this region, apart from its natural beauty, and I hope that visitors enjoy using Angels View as a base to explore it all,” Nxumalo concludes.