The ANEW Hotel Hilton   

The ANEW Hotel Hilton   

by Leigh Lippert

I must have driven past the ANEW Hotel Hilton a couple of times a week but had not had reason to go in since lockdown opened up. The gardens looked lovely, and certainly the outside of the Tudor Style hotel looked refreshed. Such it is with many tourist places, they look good but the real test is what being inside feels like. I was lucky enough to experience this after an invite from the Midlands Meander Group to visit the Hotel.

So began a visit of warmth and smiles, expertise, and complete commitment to making the visitor’s time as comfortable and happy as possible. A place built on staff many of whom have worked their way up through the ranks, and who openly express their enjoyment of their work and wish to be part of the hotel for many years to come.

I wandered into reception which with its high ceilings and glorious artwork give an inspiring first impression, second only to Jabulile Motaung’s huge smile! Jabu started out in housekeeping and explained with a shy smile “management is so good at recognising your true potential, so here I am at reception, loving every minute. My colleagues and management trained and taught me brilliantly!” I was early for my meeting with Anthony and so after saying hello I walked out to the pool area where children from very small to much bigger played happily in the shallow pools while Dad watched from a comfy spot under a huge umbrella. Other guests relaxed on recliners, regularly refreshed by the attentive waiters nearby. A business breakfast was underway in the airy open dining room and other guests sat in huge armchairs in the bar area… smiles, happy greetings and laughter abounded. Such is the atmosphere everywhere.

I exhaled slowly and realised I was relaxing, taken in by the calm, luxurious yet completely laid-back atmosphere.

GM Anthony Moskovitch is a delight – of course hotel mangers are meant to be pleasant and knowledgeable – but as the minutes past I was completely enthralled by the history of the hotel and the area, of Anthony’s love for and commitment to his staff and passion and knowledge of neighbouring guesthouses and tourist attractions, where he regularly sends guests acting as a base from which the Meander can be explored and enjoyed. Overflow guests are referred to establishments of a similar standard and comfort. Antony, born and bred in KZN and the youngest general manager to date has followed in his mother’s footsteps as she was a deputy general manager in her time.

Siphindile Mnyundu the Reservations Manager explained how she had started out as a receptionist in 2016 and in 2018 was promoted to her current position. Her tour of a variety of the close to 100 bedrooms was led with confidence and passion. The recently upgraded bedrooms are blissful – with the spaciousness of older buildings integrated with all the modern comforts – even some that have space for a small business meeting, for bigger ones the conference rooms downstairs under the old eaves are amazing.

With Anthony’s words still clearly in my mind “you must meet our barista Phumzile Mazibuko, her coffee is exceptional, her smile improves every day and her laughter a delight” I was taken through the hotel to the coffee station. Almost as an after thought Anthony had added “Phumzile is deaf, there is a small chart to teach you some sign language on the desk.” The family from the pool were ahead of me and Dad was explaining to the children about how sign language worked and what it was to be deaf. The warmest smile greeted me and in a matter of moments we were communicating via my very basic signing and Phumzile’s handwritten note “I am deaf, I started work here in 2019. I enjoy my work here, I am happy to meet you 😊” the coffee was delicious … I am so glad I can sign a round of applause and thank you!

Too soon it was time to go. Thami walked me to the door. He had moved quickly up to his Porter job and proudly told me, “Tomorrow is my first year anniversary of working here. I love meeting our guests and assisting them.”

I admired a guest’s hat as she walked in with her husband and he dropped back to say “isn’t my wife lovely, we are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary here today!”

Congratulations to the couple, to the small group of focussed Shareholders, to Anthony and his exceptional staff you have lifted the experience that is ANEW Hotel Hilton to phenomenal levels.

I will be back very soon.