One of andBeyond's most iconic lodges, the Phinda Forest Lodge, will undergo an extensive rebuild with a reopening date set for late 2023. The lodge, located in the andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa was first built in the early 1990s.
"Back then, the lodge's innovative and progressive design made a huge statement on sustainability, as it was sensitively constructed within the ancient sand forest with minimum impact at the heart of the project," said Kevin Pretorius, andBeyond managing director for South Africa Lodges.
andBeyond has hired interior design firm Fox Browne Creative to reimagine the lodge using a minimalist design that still retains subtle references to its original "Zulu-zen" décor.
Due to the sensitivity of the surrounding habitat, existing room structures will be used in order to maintain the lodge's minimal environmental impact. Throughout the rooms and main guest areas, the interiors will be reimagined with new fixtures and finishes drawing inspiration from the surrounding san forest, while blending aspects of Japanese minimalism with local culture.
Elements of the natural forest and Zulu culture will be brought into the rooms through the use of tactile textures and natural materials such as woven matting, textured grass cloth wallpaper, and hardwood floors, with natural stone tiling in the bathrooms.
Major structural additions will include a family suite, a library and lounge, and walkway with central fire pit linking the main area to the library, a newly reshaped and tiered pool, and significant upgrades to the main dining and bar areas.
Pathways to and from the rooms will be reduced and redirected to provide an even more exclusive and private feeling at the lodge.
In keeping with other lodges in andBeyond's portfolio, the family suite will comprise a standard suite linked to a newly built second bedroom, which can be accessed privately or through an additional linked passageway.
The new purpose-built library and sitting room will be centered around a reading table and double-side fireplace with surrounding areas for guests to relax. Sliding doors will lead to an outdoor deck, nestled among the trees with views of patches of forest and the wetland areas.
A wooden walkway will connect the library to a new pool area, which will feature a reshaped and tiered swimming pool designed to maximize the scenic setting. An all-new massage room will also be constructed next to the pool.
"We are excited about the refurbishment of one of our most loved lodges, and we hope to welcome guests back to Phinda Forest Lodge as of 1 December 2023," Pretorius said.