Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Humewood Hotel...a trip down memory lane

Although the name has changed, the hotel is often still referred to as Humewood Mansions. This charming three star establishment is situated at the quiet end of Beach road,yet within walking distance of the major beach front tourist attractions.
I asked Dave Snuggs, the current General Manager to fill me in on some of  the history of this landmark hotel.
“Originally only the central section of the hotel that was built (as a double story building) and the road that ran past the front of the hotel was a dirt road.(There is no recorded date of this build as plans were required to be submitted!) 

Circa1925 the two wings were added to the hotel that substantially increased the number of rooms and added an extra story to the building on the side wings. At that time the majority of rooms were serviced by communal ablution facilities, a challenge that was placed on management some years later to rectify! 

In 1985 an elevator was added and the challenge of providing en-suite bathrooms for every room was tackled”.

I lived in Port Elizabeth until I was 25 and I passed this hotel on many occasions without the need to have a look inside, so staying here was a first for me.

Although my room was sea facing, I was not fortunate enough to have a room with a balcony...but it did not really matter as my windows opened wide and I was able to watch the passing parade below.

There are tea and coffee stations in the rooms and chocolates were left on the pillows...the room that I was in had two single beds, but there are double bed rooms available.

Rather than try to describe my room,I will let these pictures speak for themselves!

Breakfast is served in the coffee shop which is light,airy and has a sea view.The breakfast is standard hotel fare but on my first morning there were scones that unfortunately did not reappear on my final breakfast.

All the staff that I interacted with were extremely helpful and it is no wonder then that the hotel motto is: “The friendliest hotel in the friendly city”!
The hotel seems to cater for a lot of elderly British guests often on extended(3 month) stays, so it must be doing something right!

I had the buffet dinner in the Sandpiper Restaurant on the second evening of my stay. Or I should say I tried to have dinner in the restaurant, but as I was wearing shorts and the dress code(which was enforced due to International visitors) meant that I was able to access the buffet, but  I had to eat alone in the coffee shop.Not that I minded, but I did feel like I had been banished from eating with the grown-ups. Next time I will pack a pair of jeans!
The buffet menu seems to be geared towards that particular market, with roast beef and GREAT roast potatoes on offer the night I almost ate with the “big people”...
But just a suggestion...don’t put the vegetarian dish in the same warmer as the meat.The serving spoons can easily be mixed up...

Painted in green and white, the exterior of the building gives it an “olde worlde” charm, reminiscent of the English beach side hotels that can be found along the British coastline.

Even the passages hark back to a gentler time, when cell phones and the Internet did not play any part in our daily lives...talking of Internet, there is one guest Internet computer available as there is no connectivity in the rooms at present.

Along the front facade of the hotel is a seating area that offers a great place for sundowners...or if the weather is good I an certain that you would be allowed to enjoy your breakfast there.
What the Humewood Hotel lacks in amenities, it certainly makes up for in charm and grace.


There is a lounge on the ground floor that all the guests can enjoy,or if you are a member of the SAGA group, a private lounge awaits with tea and coffee nogal!

To quote Dave Snuggs again,"What is unique about this hotel, most certainly in Port Elizabeth, is the fact that the same family who were responsible for building the hotel are still the owners, now third generation”.
If you are heading down to Port Elizabeth for your holiday break, stay a while at the Humewood Hotel...a real trip down memory lane!
Web site: www.humewoodhotel.co.za


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