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Palace of the Lost City celebrates 30th birthday with luxurious facelift

Since inception almost 30 years ago, The Palace of the Lost City has enthralled guests from all over the globe. Now, the legendary five-star hotel inside Sun City, designed by dreamers for thrill-seekers, has undergone a full décor refurbishment, of all of its 326 rooms and suites.

The design process, by interior architectural design specialists David Muirhead and Associates, began more than two years ago with the visualisation of the rooms’ new look and feel.

“As The Palace of the Lost City is an iconic destination, it was essential that we kept the hotel’s integrity, and the vision of its founder, Sol Kerzner, intact, while being sensitive to the brand’s history. Our job was to capture its essence – the fantasy of a lost African city, and evolve it,” said David Muirhead, partner at David Muirhead and Associates. “It was of paramount importance to us as a design company to ensure the longevity of this spectacular international landmark hotel.”

While the pandemic caused delays, local manufacture of new furniture items has been happening for the past year, although décor elements were retained and reimagined in line with Sun International’s sustainability goal to reduce its carbon footprint and environmental impact.

“Fashion and trends have changed since the hotel opened in 1992. Back then, bedrooms were not as important a focus as they are now.” The African luxury themed bedrooms are mostly bespoke, with carpets, upholstery and curtains designed especially for The Palace. A Versace wallpaper cocoons the room in warm golden tones, setting a relaxed mood.

“We changed the colour of the original carpets to a blue-green tone, but kept the same pattern. We have used FibreGuard fabrics for scatter cushions on the bed, sofas and curtains, which are eco-friendly, recyclable and have no harmful chemicals used in their manufacture. They are also child-friendly, with stain free technology. We used luxury African lifestyle brand, Ardmore Design for the accent cushion on the bed.”

“The original bedside lamps were recovered while the original armoire TV cabinet had its height reduced so that it doesn’t overpower the room. The two-poster bed is one of the original hand-carved pieces, as is the dining room table. Certain pieces of artwork were reused, and the horned accent tables are also from the original design,” Muirhead said.

A mahogany tea and coffee station was added to the room, developed and designed locally along with standing lamps which provide the feel of an African sculpture and add a luxurious ambience to the mood of the room.

The bathrooms were rebuilt in rainforest green marble, with new diagonally-patterned porcelain tiles on the floor calling out a synergy with the bedroom. A new timber vanity and new sanitary ware and accessories in brushed bronze by Kohler complete the look, along with new artwork by local artists Jenny Mallon and Sue Martin. The original mirrors above the vanity were retained.

Turning the design changes into a practical reality on site took a team of 215 including a construction team, painters, a quantity surveyor, contractor, project manager, air conditioning experts and an IT team.

Muirhead said Palace regulars were “overwhelmed with excitement” upon viewing the refurbished rooms. “The new look had to appeal to a broad South African market as well as the international market, so the positive feedback was encouraging.”

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