Short stay: Mantis No 5, Boutique Art Hotel, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


Is it an art gallery? A stylish tribute to Art Deco architecture and sophisticated interiors? An elegant paean to the Jazz Age? Or a warmly welcoming seven suite boutique hotel?

In fact, Mantis No. 5, taking its name from its address at No 5 Brighton Drive, in the upmarket seaside suburb of Summerstrand, is all of those. On South Africa’s Sunshine Coast it is just a four-minute stroll from the beach and the Indian Ocean. Though Port Elizabeth, sat on Nelson Mandela Bay, is no longer Port Elizabeth. As part of the Africanisation process, it is now Gqeberha, though most road signs still point to Port Elizabeth.

Purchased and lovingly restored by Adrian Gardiner, the hotel now houses over 200 pieces from the conservationist / entrepreneur’s private collection. It is worth sitting down in the lounge and leafing through the guide to the collection.

The welcome

No 5 arrange a pick-up from Port Elizabeth Airport. Much of the short 10-minute transfer runs along the coast. With just seven suites, the receptionist has the time to take us to our suite on the first floor.

The suite

Ample mirrors, a polished floor and numerous spotlights create the ambience of an Art Deco club. There’s even a bar-cum-foyer entrance with glasses waiting on the shelves. There is a grandeur to the wooden rectangular block floor, with shades from light cedar to mahogany contrasting with luscious cream rugs decorated with circles of muted colours.

Two sets of double glass doors lead out onto a wide balcony whose thin polished chrome railings have a feel of a deck on an ocean liner. Another Art Deco touch. Cleverly, a swivelling large television…

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