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WELCOME TO OUR DÉCOR WORLD – An interview with Suzie van Niekerk

Tell us more about the Umngazi refurbishment?

The recent refurbishment was a great success.

It was born of the need to completely renovate and upgrade the main kitchen, which necessitated closing down the hotel for 6 weeks in May/June. It was therefore decided to use this time prudently and upgrade as many bungalows as possible, plus other areas of the hotel, during this shut-down period. 

The main kitchen, dining room, the pool and tennis court repaint, plus 30 of the 69 bungalows were done during this time. The balance of bungalows will be refurbished as and when there are gaps in the reservation schedule. 

Our softs décor upgrade focussed on the spa, the public areas (lounges), the dining room and the bedrooms.

Obviously the main objective of the refurbishment was to remodel and overhaul the kitchen. State-of-the-art equipment and refrigeration was installed, the floors were redone and an ultramodern kitchen was created, which has enhanced hygiene provisions.

Returning guests will also notice a refreshing new look in the dining-room complete with newly-screeded floors, a brand-new buffet station as well as new full-length, glass doors and windows, which let in more light and enhance views.  The children’s dining room was also refreshed. 

Basil’s Bar now sports a new counter and certain furnishings and the lounge floor has also been extensively redone after the addition of colourful furnishings and artwork.

The tennis court and swimming pool have both been resurfaced or repainted, in keeping with the general revamp of all the public spaces.

The thatching contractors took the opportunity of restoring many of the roofs during this period, as well.

It also made sense to overhaul and refresh as many bungalows as possible during this time, with particular attention being paid to floors, doors, windows and bathrooms.

Umngazi’s flagship double story-honeymoon bungalow (number 47) has been “reborn”! Similarly, the Emlonyeni bungalows and the three adjacent honeymoon suites have “revelled” in the revamp, with the addition of wider decks to allow guests to relax, while soaking up the sun.

 

What was your main Umngazi inspiration?

My inspiration came from the beautiful, vibrant ocean. It sustains life in every shape, colour and form. I wanted to capture the ocean in my decor. The essence of fun, vibrancy and a feeling of freedom go hand in hand with a visit to the beach. One is surrounded by natural beauty – it’s a feast for the eyes and soothing for the soul. It creates an overwhelming sense of relaxation …and inspiration. The Wild Coast is a special place.

 

Tell us more about the fabrics and artwork you chose?

I chose fabric with texture, colour and different patterns. Most of the fabric is imported and I wanted it to set Umngazi apart from the “standard” hotel décor. We made bold choices but did not compromise on elegance, quality or the overall family, holiday feel of the hotel.

Our artwork at Umngazi has benefited considerably from a generous contribution by Karin Goss of her underwater images, photographed at various tropical hideaways in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Karin has a great passion for scuba diving and a natural talent with a camera. We could not resist using her under-the-ocean images as the colours are spectacular and awaken the room! We couldn’t complete our ‘look’ without her underwater-world story. Most of the images were captured on their travels around the islands of Indonesia (Raja Ampat and Sulawesi), Micronesia and the Pacific.


Please can you tell us a bit about yourself…what inspires you and what do you enjoy most about being a decorator?

Nature, music, art, fashion, friends and my family inspire me.

The colour of nature has no rules; it’s a harmonious utopia of colour.

My career gives me the opportunity to share my passion with others. I give a little piece of myself away with each project I immerse myself into. Art is not to create perfection, but to make a difference to the lives of my clients. It changes the way they live in their homes, and makes their homes an extension of who they are. 

I am incredibly blessed to be part of the Umngazi family and look forward to creating more fun and beautiful spaces down there that make us all proud.

 

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