BACKGROUND: Sibane, meaning light SiSwati, changed ownership in 2011 and underwent a refurbishment before reopening in August 2011. The extensive grounds include peaceful gardens and views of the surrounding mountains, accommodation, conferencing, a multipurpose event space, an outdoor boma and a spa.
WHERE IS IT? The hotel is situated about 30 minutes’ drive from the Oshoek Border Post with South Africa, a total drive time of about four hours from Johannesburg. About 25 kilometres from the border post, take the exit for the MR103 (you’ll see a sign for the hotel and an exit immediately thereafter), turn right at the top of the ramp and follow the road for a few more kilometres. You’ll see signs for the hotel on your left. If you’re flying into King Mswati III International Airport, it’s a one-hour, 80-kilometre drive to the hotel.
ROOM FACILITIES: The 30 rooms are divided into standard, twin and family rooms. There are also three suites available. My family room had a double and a single bed dressed in crisp white linen. Decor is tasteful, with an African theme, but it did take me a while to work out that what looked like bedside decoration was actually the bedside lamp. A wardrobe, work desk, two wicker chairs and a tea/coffee station complete the furniture. Plug points, both South African and British three-pin, weren’t hard to access. In the bathroom, the shower was built into the bath, with a swinging glass door to keep the water from splashing onto the floor. The small step down from the bedroom caught me off-guard a few times, but I eventually did remember to watch my step. Each room opens out onto a small patio with a couple of chairs, where I enjoyed a few minutes before dinner taking in the sounds of the evening. The hotel does offer free wi-fi, but I battled to connect to the internet in my room – the signal was rather weak. However, the signal gets better the closer you are to reception, so if connectivity is important, request a room near reception. Being adjacent to a major road, there is traffic noise throughout the night, but this can be countered by switching on the air-conditioning to create white noise.
RESTAURANTS & BARS: The Lijubantsendzele Restaurant just off of reception serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast buffet served up the usual suspects – muesli, yoghurt, fruit, cold meats, cheese, muffins, eggs, bacon, toast, sausage, mince, tomato. The selection isn’t endless, but the food is fresh and tasty. Cappuccinos and lattes can be ordered from the waiters. For dinner, there is a choice of buffet or an a la carte menu. I settled on a rump steak with pepper sauce served with chips and a medley of vegetables from the a la carte menu – a flavoursome specimen that was cooked to perfection. My partner opted for the buffet, which offered chicken and beef dishes with salads, vegetables and selection of desserts. The wait-staff was attentive and helpful – nothing was too much trouble. Above the restaurant is a bar that extends to an open-air patio for a relaxing sundowner or after-dinner drink, and a cigar lounge that can be booked for private functions.
BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: The hotel’s conference centre, in two self-contained venues, offers five rooms for up to 400 delegates in cinema style and 200 guests in a formal dinner setting. A boardroom just off of the hotel reception offers a more intimate setting for up to 12 people. There is plenty of safe parking on the hotel grounds. The boma is a great place for an after-conference meal, set around an open fire and catered by the hotel.
LEISURE FACILITIES: The on-site spa Rebirth offers an array of treatments, from facials to massages, for a relaxing and beautifying experience. There is also a pool deck for those wishing to take in the sunshine. If you’re after something a little more energetic, the hotel can help you arrange an off-site activity such as quad biking, horse riding, white water rafting, abseiling and canopy tours.
VERDICT: A modern hotel with all the necessary facilities and amenities required by business travellers, and well-placed if you’re doing business in Mbabane.
Address: Old Mbabane-Manzini Road
T: +268 2 416 1670