The Polana Serena is one of the grand old classic hotels in Africa. Initially known as the Polana Hotel, it was constructed in 1922 in the then colonial HQ city known as Lourenco Marques. The Polana Hill was, and still remains, one of the poshest areas of the city.
Situated on a hilltop in one of the best locations in Maputo, the hotel has an amazing view of the sea, and the grandeur of a luxury hotel with rich traditions. From its beginnings, the then Hotel Polana built itself a reputation as one of the best hotels in Africa, and was in the colonial days synonymous with high life in Lourenco Marques.
Like most of Mozambique, the old Polana got run down during the years of civil war, and those who were around at the time describe a hotel where little was left of the old magnificence. In a move to reinvent itself, the Polana became part of the Serena hotels and closed down for renovations for five years.
While carefully renovated, the hotel has maintained a very classic look and feel, and some may even say it’s a bit “rusty”. While visibly older than the Radisson, its far younger competitor in the business traveler segment, the latter can never beat the former in style and atmosphere.
I must admit that I am generally a great fan of any Serena hotel, so when I started traveling to Mozambique for business, the Polana Serena was my natural first choice. Like most of their peers from the same group, they never disappoint. This one is a notch above the others, though. I guess the pictures, too, speak for themselves (yes, I was the one who took them!).
While I’m not particularly fond of buffets, I make an exception for the ones at Polana Serena. They are in a category of their own, and impressive even for Serena standards! With my affinity for smoked salmon, I may be among their costlier guests. Now, all I need is some Beluga! 😋
Like most Serenas, they have a well-equipped gym and a very nice spa. The latter is actually memorable!
Somehow, I always seem to stumble across other Norwegians almost every time I am there, including top politicians and TV celebrities. Funny, considering that Maputo is not exactly the epicentre of the world, and that we are only five million Norwegians in total. I guess we are a nation of frequent travelers, though!
For the past year, I’ve been a frequent resident at the Polana Serena, and that looks set to continue in 2015. The staff and the other regular guests already know me well. Small wonder why I’m always so happy about my trips to Maputo! 😂