The rising star in the travel world; a review on White Pearl Resort

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Mozambique is a rising star in the travel world.

Savoteur has described ‘Mozambique to be the new Maldives’ because of its lush green mangrove forests, turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. These discreet and luxurious hotels have subtly immersed themselves in the soft surroundings that Mother Nature has shared with us.

Lesser known than its African contemporaries, Mozambique hasn’t always been a fashionable destination, of course. Following the 1990’s, after years of a civil war, Mozambique rarely featured in peoples travel plans. Since then, the country has been involved in peace talks and tourism has played a defining role in its post-war culture.

Nowhere is this truer than along the coast, where cutting-edge island chic hideaways and retreats are becoming a magnet for those in search of barefoot luxury escapism on their Mozambican luxury holiday.

If you are a South African resident and looking for minimal travel time to a resort that is elegant, the grace and luxury of White Pearl Resort is the ultimate coastal pick.

My article on ‘Know before you go’ to White Pearl Resort published here is the definitive guide on how to travel to White Pearl and what to pack. I render advice on how to book your holiday, what accommodation to select and even what to pack.

Mohamed and I were invited to White Pearl Resort for the official opening of the Amani Spa. This was the first Amani Spa located at a beach resort.

On Day 1 of our trip, we had a brief orientation over Afternoon Tea. Before dinner, we met for sundowners at the Pool Bar before a 3-course dinner at the White Pearl Restaurant (all detailed below).

On Day 2, Mohamed and I chose Horse Riding as our preferred activity as the weather wasn’t suitable for the Ocean Safari (which was such a shame!). We had some time after breakfast to explore the Resort before heading out to meet our instructors. The afternoon was at leisure, before being invited for tea and cake. The official opening of the Spa was held with guests enjoying drinks and canapes at the Spa. This was followed by dinner and an early retreat to our room because of the weather.

On Day 3, I spent the morning at a Yoga class which worked on the basic Chakras, and using the poses to stimulate these Chakras. Following this, I opted for my breakfast in our room, before preparing to leave the Resort by helicopter. We had some time in-between to enjoy our last few moments at the resort before departing for the airport.

Traveling along the coast by helicopter, all you see is miles of ocean frontage with a pristine beach, surrounded by untouched tracts of bush. With absolutely nothing in sight until the view of White Pearl gently cleared into the hilltops nestled in the distance, its a discovery of an idyllic beach paradise set amongst the dunes overlooking the sparkling Indian Ocean of what can only be further described as a secret beach break.

 

Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by staff and directed to the reception area where you are asked to be seated and given an arrival cocktail. The Contemporary Coastal interior is a perennial theme throughout the resort creating a relaxed, airy and luxurious atmosphere indoors, whilst bringing in the bright, beautiful and energising aura of life on the beach.

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A brief explanation of the resort was followed by a light lunch where I was introduced to other Media attending the launch of the Spa. It was rather unfortunate that the weather was overcast during the duration of our stay, in particular on our arrival. The views that awaited us as we walked out onto the wooden deck was superb.

 

Walking towards the left of the main walkway is the Beach Bar which is set against the backdrop of an endless ocean.

We dined here for lunch during our stay, and spent some time on the loungers watching the waves. You may choose to be seated in or out and we recommend reserving a lounger outside on a sunny day. You really feel like you are in the ocean with the proximity to the shore. I love how the music compliments this space too along with the food that is served. Dining is informal here and ordering of a few starters is encouraged instead of one large meal.

If you’re spending time at the poolside, meals may be ordered from The Beach Bar.

If you’re in the mood for some board games, they may be found on the large counter in boxes. There are plenty of games for adults and children, which is a great way to spend a few hours on a lazy afternoon.

An all-white backdrop is the perfect way to introduce the coastal look into the Suites. The beauty of the large, generously sized bedrooms which lead out onto the deck brings you closer to nature and its soothing abode. The interior decorators at White Pearl achieved this by simply borrowing from the color palette that the beach has to offer. The refreshing light blues, cool aqua, light teal and turquoise were the perfect additions as the accent shades that enlivened the space.

Each suite is air-conditioned and the epitome of contemporary beachside elegance and informality, with the interior spaces blending seamlessly into the outdoors.

Some of the key features of the Suite:

  1. 54 sqm
  2. Private plunge pool and provate deck
  3. Outdoor shower and indoor luxury bathtub with amenities
  4. Satellite TV and Bluetooth speaker
  5. Mini bar with a coffee and tea tray and espresso machine
  6. Air conditioning
  7. Wifi connectivity

The addition of a single natural object can take the decor of a space into perfection. The large, draped lighting that is visible throughout the resort is an example of this.

What did I (we) love about the Guest Suites:

  1. There is sufficient plug points all across the room for charging of devices. There is no need to bring a travel adaptor with as the Wattage is the same as South Africa, however we do recommend bringing a 2-pin plug along if you require it.
  2. There are full length sliding doors that open onto the decking. Privacy is ensured if you close off the main entrance with the rope stanchions. This is basically a ‘do-not-disturb’ indicator to staff or other guests. There isn’t a need to close the curtains if you require complete privacy as the suites are not in view of other rooms alongside, in front or behind.
  3. I love the generous space and the usage of the open-plan area. Nothing seems to be in your way, you don’t need to walk around things to avoid bumping into furniture. Everything has a space and is conveniently placed within the area.
  4. I particularly love two elements of the Suite; the couch overlooking the deck (and ocean) and the positioning of the bathtub. I particularly appreciate a couch within a room space, to watch tv, have a cup of coffee whilst looking out into the ocean or reading a magazine or book. It is also the perfect place to fall asleep on a lazy afternoon! The bathtub is in line and view of the beach in front of a large window. If you require a bit more privacy, simply draw the curtains and light the candles (totally acceptable during day light hours too!).
  5. The coffee and tea station is adequately supplied, with treats in the jars daily (we are dippers, so we completely appreciated the cookies that were placed in ours!). I really liked that I was able to make plunger coffee with the ground beans supplied and able to have a full potful instead of just one cup from a single sachet.
  6. The workstation is the ultimate writers retreat. I really loved that it overlooked the deck with the garden and beach in front, with ample light and inspiration coming in through the clear glass.
  7. If you are traveling without kids (on a honeymoon or a sexy weekend ;)), there is an outdoor shower (the only shower, so prepare yourself if you have any inhibitions!). If you need to shower late at night and the weather is cooler, it can be problematic – it tends to get really cold outside! If this a huge concern for you, then you will only be able to use the bathtub located within the room, in full view of the bedroom and seating area.
  8. There are full sized bath and body products for usage during your stay that are replenished daily. I really loved how the scent makes you feel like you are at the seaside; soft yet distinct and fresh that can be identified throughout the resort.
  9. There was never a need to request for additional towels, robes or toiletries as everything is sufficient in the room.
  10. If there are clear skies, we insist that you soak up the sunshine on the deck or submerge yourself into the private pool. You may also request your drinks or meals outside, for a proper afternoon of relaxation and rest.
  11. I’ve left the best part for last; your personal butler. I could have/should have/would have taken more advantage of this service (but I was shy to!). Each Suite is appointed a Butler during your stay and a separate cellphone that is loaded with credit with which to contact him during your stay (at any time of night or day). He attends to anything and everything that you require (On a stay at The Burj al Arab in Dubai, our Butler ran a rose and milk bubble bath upon returning from an evening out. He even unpacked our shopping, onto hangers and had it ironed to wear!). You usually see him at breakfast, lunch and dinner time, and the best part is that he notes all of your preferences so you don’t need to re-explain to another member of staff during your stay. This is especially helpful if you have dietary requirements and you need to make every waiter aware of it every time that you dine. Our Butler ensured that our breakfast was sent to our Suite immediately after my Yoga class – He Just Knew! It really is one of the perks and one of the main reasons to book such an upmarket, fancy resort if you really want to spoil yourself!

As described in my previous post on White Pearl, there are two categories of accommodation available; the Beach Pool Suite and the Pool Suites.

The Beach Pool Suites are located on the beachfront. The 6 prime suites give direct access to the private beach.

The Pool Suites are higher up, with a wider view of the beach from the rooms, however one would need to walk along the decking until you reach the bottom.

I wouldn’t say that there is a huge distinction between the two other than the location (and let’s face it location, location, location). If you’d really love to experience the resort and a bit short on the Dollar, book the Pool Suite instead of lusting over the Beach Suite. A few steps further to the beach isn’t a bad thing, plus you get a superb view of the ocean from higher up.

What did I think about the food:

Aside from the location, immaculate accommodation, stand-out service and soft, sandy beach, the next important thing to mention is the food. Coming from an Indian heritage, I miss spicier food when I travel abroad. I long for food cooked with or seasoned with chilli and familiar spices that always have a way of filling me up with satisfaction. When I return from a trip, its either that I have to request a good home-cooked meal from family or come back longing for what I’ve eaten on holiday.

A trip to White Pearl points to the latter. Because of the remarkable heritage and culture, shaped by centuries of Portuguese, Indian, Arabic and African influences, Mozambique’s cuisine is spicy and varied. Every single meal that we experienced at White Peal was stand-out in terms of flavour, presentation and freshness.

On our Guest Preference form that we are asked to fill in ahead of our arrival was a section on dietary restrictions. White Pearl caters exclusively for each individual that stays at the Resort. We noted our preference as Vegetarian with seafood. Needless to say that this was passed onto every member of staff AND an entire menu was created that centered around catering to our request. Alcohol was not present in any of the deserts or soups on our menu, and a Vegetarian and Pescatarian menu was presented to us every evening. There is no cross contamination in the kitchen, and they cater largely for Vegan and Vegetarian guests. If you’re thinking that either option is bland, or not flavoured properly, I ate some of my best vegetarian meals whilst staying here (with the exception of vegetarian food in India).

Lunch would usually be outside on the deck if the weather held up or at The Bear Bar closer to the beach. You are not limited to taking what’s on the menu although it makes it easier for the kitchen staff if you do. I requested grilled Prawn for lunch with chips and they obliged. It was so simply seasoned yet robust and flavourful. There is a large variety of mocktails to choose from, basically anything that suits your mood and time of the day! Everything is made in front of you and fruits are pulsed down to extract the flavour before any syrups are added to it. The bartender can make up anything for you, so ask them for an indication of what they are able to offer you. My only regret was not having more mocktails and lounging on the couches at sunset!

My experience on the breakfast needs to move all the way up to the top of this post!

The elegant beach chic of The White Pearl Restaurant is the perfect setting to enjoy mezze platters laden with fruit, freshly baked pastries and delicious treats for breakfast.

My readers are likely aware that I judge any good breakfast by the standard of their Egg Royale. If it’s not worthy of a mention, then there’s a likelyhood that I won’t return for another meal. Needles to say, this surpassed my expectation and it was worthy of a repeat! The English muffin was warm, yet had a slightly crispiness when biten into. The Hollandaise was of a good consistency, with just the right amount of seasoning and lemon added to give it its recognisable sharp feature.

I especially liked how the Crepes were presented and it has inspired me to serve my own pancakes at home like that! I hardly ever enjoy pancakes when I eat out, and these were perfectly crisp at the edges and paper thin and soft towards the center. I particularly enjoyed squeezing over some lime which I also never do at home.

breakfast1

On Morning 1 of our stay, we opted to have our breakfast at the restaurant. It wasn’t busy at all so we enjoyed the privacy of being the only couple there once the other couple had left. Breakfast is brought out on a tray with pastry, cereals and fruit carefully loaded on. If you eat meat products, cold meats are an option. I really appreciated how neatly presented everything was and the care and time that went into ensuring everything was so carefully placed on to the tray.

On Morning 2, I attended an early morning Yoga class (which was moved indoors due to the weather), and I requested that breakfast be served in my room. Out Butler ensures that it was sent promptly after the class as we enjoyed in at our convenience on the couch. It was too cold to sit outside sadly.

Guests are invited daily to enjoy tea and cake at around 1600pm. This is a complimentary service and the cake for the day differs daily. It’s generally a good time of the day to run into other guests in a less informal space, and something sweet to the long wait until dinnertime.

With the number of guests significantly less during off-peak times, one cake should suffice, however I would love if they would look into a full Mozambican-inspired High Tea during the busier season to cater for more guests and to show off that Mozambican heritage! Yes to piles of Pateis de Nata!

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Dinner is usually served at The White Pearl Restaurant. By night, the space transforms into a romantic, candlelit dinner restaurant and guests are invited to celebrate the finest cuisine Mozambique has to offer. The experience is complete with the warmest of Mozambican hospitality. There is a grand piano located on the upper level, which I’m certain is well used during busier periods.

We were invited to enjoy a three course meal for the duration of our stay. As mentioned, our menu had a selection of vegetarian and seafood options. Some of the highlights for me included the Prawn and Brinjal Roti in Mustard seed and Jeera, the Roasted crushed Potato, Mamoli Marinated Line Fish and the Mozambican Marinated Calamari. Dessert was spectacular with some classic favourites like Malva Pudding, and some interesting new options like Lemon and Ginger Creme Brulee. Dinner usually ended with coffee being requested to be sent to our room.

What was our impression of the Spa and its facilities:

The purpose of the media visit to White Pearl was to attend the opening of the first Amani Spa located at a beach resort.

The Amani Spa group is an authentically South African Spa brand, and prides itself with its professionalism, high quality services and standards. The name “AMANI” meaning “PEACE” in Kiswahili (East African tribal language) encapsulates the spirit of Amani Spa’s philosophy to create an “inner peace” by restoring harmony in all three elements – a physical body, a conscious mind, and an eternal spirit.

The newly built spa overlooks the savanna and sea, giving a unique feel of the Mozambican landscape. It is the most unpretentious of settings, the kind of place where the clients feel “at home” moments after walking through the door.  The decor has a calm, relaxed feel; and with the doors opened in the treatment room, it’s the kind of place that makes you want to linger just a bit longer, so plan on making the most of your relaxation time and not rushing away after your service is complete, time-permitting.

Spa facilities were usually offered to guests in their rooms or at another location within the property. They chose to formalise the space and create 2 dedicated Spa rooms all the way at the top of the Resort so guests would have a proper space to utilise the Spa offering, and therapists would have an official space to work from.

Media and guests were invited to the opening and were served canapes whilst listening to a speech to officially open the Spa. Treatments range from their Signature Journeys, Luxurious Body Collection, the Massage Collection, Deluxe Facials, Pamper Journeys to Hand and Foot treatments and even catering for young adults and smaller kids.

Mohamed and I were the first guests to be offered a treatment at the Spa. We both opted for an Ocean Therapy Body Ritual which was an ocean inspired full body exfoliation using natural sea sponges and sea salt to soften and polish the skin followed by a full body coconut balm massage. The therapists were eager and very excited that were part of this journey and that they would be performing their first treatments at the new Spa! They were professional and went out of their way to ensure that we were comfortable and well taken care of.

I believe that every beach resort needs a dedicated space to indulge their guests in a luxury Spa experience. It makes more sense when it is a retreat for couples or those traveling on honeymoon, so the addition of the new Spa to the White Pearl portfolio is definitely another reason to book, or at least spend another full day at the Resort.

I would like to see more Hydro facilities introduced as the years progress, which would mean an expansion on the current space. A steam room and sauna would be a lovely addition.

I’d also like to see a formal seating area or gathering place for pre or post-treatment relaxation during nice weather with a counter serving fresh juices and healthy meal options, so there will be no need to go down to the Beach Bar for meals before or after.

Unfortunately couples massages aren’t an option currently as the space doesn’t allow for it. I’m certain though that if they have an additional staff, and you would like the service of an in-room massage, they will be willing to assist. However this is not a standard offering (so do ask nicely!).

We were offered the choice of any of these activities during our stay; Ocean Safari, Spa treatments, Beach/Bush horse riding, Serenity Turtle walk, Yoga and Meditation sessions and a Cultural Town tour.

In addition to the complimentary Spa treatments, Mohamed and I opted for the Beach Horse riding as it was the only activity that was suitable to do in the overcast weather and didn’t require as much time as the Cultural Town Tour (which I hope to do on my return visit).

We were assisted by two gentleman, Bazilli and Eric who guided us throughout the walk. It was a beautiful experience and I urge you to try the Beach walk on a horse at least once, even if you aren’t certain how to mount a horse.

The walk takes you quite far out, and once you are ready to turn back, simply steer your horse. It was extremely fascinating to see crabs moving all along the beach! It was quite an amusing sight!

What was our overall impression of White Pearl Resort:

  1. The travel time to White Pearl Resort is a 50 minute flight out of Johannesburgs International terminal and a 30 minute helicopter flight to the resort. If you’re after a beach break with minimal travel time, this should be top of mind when considering a Resort.
  2. Traveling to White Pearl Resort as a South African resident is at a fraction of the price than going to any other coastal region. Inquire what special rates are offered to South African residents when booking.
  3. We loved everything about the resort; the decor, the smell, the way the spaces opened into each other and above all the excellent service. Each and every member of staff is there to assist and nothing is too big for them to arrange.
  4. There are plenty activities to keep yourself and kids entertained. If you are traveling with little kids, there is a kids program which targets learning though play and exploration. Children are able to learn about the sealife and go on turtle walks when its the correct season. There are also boardgames and the pool.
  5. The food was outstanding, and this is reason enough to go back! I really enjoyed every meal and everything was flavoured and spiced so well. The quality of all produce and plating is on par with any 5 star dining experience in the City.
  6. The rooms are so tastefully decorated and well maintained. If you’re after some alone time with your partner that is luxurious yet intimate, the Beach Villas allow you to experience the sound of the ocean with nothing to distract you.

A feeling so free. An experience so profound. Visit White Pearl Resorts.

Visit: http://www.whitepearlresorts.com/

White Pearl Resorts

Ponta Mamoli

Zitundu

Mozambique

Tel: +258 84 605 8112

Email: reception@whitepearlresorts.com

For Direct Reservations: direct@whitepearlresorts.com

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