Milnerton guesthouse comes out tops
EMMAH Makatu, owner of Zwinoni Lodge in Milnerton Ridge, has become the new face of the Tsogo Sun Book a Guesthouse programme, beating out the competition to see her establishment named Guesthouse of the Year for 2013.
And Makatu sees the honour as a major boost, saying the exposure will give her a competitive advantage, and allow her to take her business to the next level.
Located beside the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Zwinoni ( the Venda word for “birds”) is a favourite for bird-watchers and guests seeking beauty, luxury and tranquillity.
Makatu built Zwinoni Lodge on a 1 200m property, with the idea of combining her living arrangements with her business.
She says she’s always had a passion for entertaining, and has many friends countrywide who visit her constantly.
“When they (leave) they would tell me about the good service, and even if they stayed in a hotel they’d come to my place for African cooking.”
Opening a guesthouse seemed a natural progression from being a great host.
Makatu says Zwinoni guests sleep very well thanks to the tranquillity of the location, the sounds of around 180 different species of birds and, of course, the comfortable beds.
They also enjoy her homecooked African cuisine which you don’t get at big hotels, she says.
She prides herself on offering a personalised service without being intrusive, because her guests are “not just a number”.
Makatu is part of a special Tsogo Sun programme called Book a Guesthouse, which aims to help boost standards, training, appearance and quality in the industry.
She says the programme has benefited her enormously, with the award just the cherry on top.
The only programme of its kind in South Africa, 92 percent of its members are black South African women.
And through it, Tsogo Sun has contributed directly to the creation of 258 jobs, and indirectly to the creation of more than 2 000.
Zwinoni has 10 en-suite bedrooms – equipped with satellite TV, a mini-bar, and tea- and coffee- making facilities – which overlook the beautiful gardens. There is also a conference room for about 25 people.
Makatu is impressed by Tsogo Sun’s offering to entrepreneurs, which she says includes “excellent training, annual conferences, interaction with other female entrepreneurs, and directors of Tsogo Sun, internet services and more”.
MAJOR BOOST: Zwinoni Lodge has beaten the competition.