Excitement is mounting on St Helena as the island gears up to welcome an end to isolation and more tourists than ever before. After an initial hitch, the winner of the tender for commercial flights will be announced in May and flights are expected to commence before the end of 2017.
In anticipation of the influx, Mantis Development, is restoring three beautiful old Georgian buildings on the island. When complete, these will form the Mantis St Helena, a luxury hotel comprising 30 en-suite bedrooms and attractive dining and bar facilities.
“We’re so proud to be associated with this new and exciting venture,” said Adrian Gardiner, founder and chairman of Mantis. “Mantis always seeks to unearth the exceptional and we’ve undoubtedly achieved that here – not many people have visited this remote part of the globe and we are delighted to have been given the opportunity to open up the doors to this new destination.”
As Gardiner notes, St Helena is one of the world’s last “undiscovered” destinations. The island is 2 000 kilometres from Africa, the nearest landmass, and boasts a spectacular variety of landscapes and vistas. With between 400 and 502 endemic species, and impressive marine biodiversity, it is on the United Kingdom’s list for possible future UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Last chance to experience the RMS St Helena
Until the airport was built, a Royal Mail Ship was the only way visitors and St Helenians could travel between the island and the UK, Ascension Island and South Africa. Once regular commercial flights are instituted, the ship will be decommissioned.
There is therefore a short window for travelers to enjoy a voyage on one of two remaining Royal Mail Ships, be among the first guests at the new Mantis St Helena hotel, and discover this unique destination.
St Helena is part of the British Overseas Territory and inhabitants of the 16km-by-8km volcanic island are English speaking; Jamestown is quintessentially British, with Georgian architecture, English-style Bobbies and red post boxes. The island also boasts the world’s most remote golf course and most remote distillery.
St Helena’s mild, tropical climate, friendly people and unique culture are extremely attractive to those looking for a unique, “unplugged” escape. A variety of walks allows visitors to explore the island’s ecosystems, which range from cloud forest to desert. There are also good diving opportunities and excellent sport-fishing options.
History buffs will be fascinated by the island’s nautical and military heritage, famous visitors and temporary residents. These include King Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (banished here for seven years after leading an army against the British), more than 6 000 Boer prisoners of war and, of course, Napoleon (who lived here in exile from 1815 until his death in 1821). The coffee that Napoleon praised is still grown here and considered by many to be the best in the world.
Start planning your visit now
Mantis St Helena is looking forward to opening its doors to visitors in a few months’ time. “We are confident that we can meet the planned completion date of September this year,” confirmed Graham Vass, Development Director for Mantis St Helena.
“An exceptional chef has been appointed. He has always wanted to live on the island with his family and will be arriving in May to secure his local suppliers. Other than the chef, we are employing a completely St Helenian staff complement. Matt Joshua, a well-known and well-respected St Helenian, will be our General Manager.”
When the hotel opens, visitors will be assured of international luxury standards and the warm welcome St Helenians have always extended to visitors.
For more information on Mantis St Helena, contact Mantis on +27 (0)41 404 9300. To find out more about the RMS St Helena, visit http://rms-st-helena.com/