Magazine article New African

Mozambique's 80-Year-Old Splendour. (Tourism/Environment)

Magazine article New African

Mozambique's 80-Year-Old Splendour. (Tourism/Environment)

Article excerpt

It is the fanciest hotel in town and it has clearly seen better days. But Mozambique's 80-year-old Hotel Polana is not giving up, and in fact has recently been spruced up in anticipation of an influx of tourists from South Africa, Europe and elsewhere.

David R. Ankers is general manager of the venerable old hotel that was built in 1921 when Mozambique was still a Portuguese colony and the capital, Maputo, was still known as Lourenco Marqucs.

Occupancy at the 200-room hotel is running at 65%. Nearly all of them are filled with American or South African executives here on business. Only two per cent of the Polana's guests are tourists in the true sense of the word, and the majority of these arc South Africans, though adventure travellers are coming from Portugal as well in recent years.

Last October, the hotel's public areas were refurbished in a facelift that cost $US3.3m. The hotel, located along Julius Nyerere Boulevard near the embassies, is arguably one of Maputo's most beautiful buildings, and is vaguely reminiscent of the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro. …

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