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Owner and Founder of Mantis Collection
The Mantis Collection group began in South Africa when Adrian Gardiner purchased a piece of 'insignificant abused, eroded and spiritless piece of land measuring a mere 2000 hectares in size' to build a family home. However, after discovered photos and information on site and learning more about the history of the land he and his family developed the plot into the Shamwari Game Reserve, which today measures 25,000 hectares in size and has seen the re-introduction of all the game that once roamed the wilds of the Eastern Cape 200 years ago. Adrian and his team then went onto reproduce this model at the Sanbona Wildlife Reservein the Western Cape, near Cape. Following on from the success of the two reserves Adrian has been at the helm as his collection has grown over the past two decades.
What inspired you to get involved in the hotel industry in the first place?
The inspiration came from Shamwari Game Reserve when I realized the benefit of a circuit. Most of our visitors come from Cape Town so why not have product in Cape Town and then on the way up to Shamwari i.e. the Garden Route.This was followed by having a Hotel in our biggest source market the UK.
What is the single best/defining thing about Mantis Collection's hotels?
Our uniqueness: I know of no other collection of properties with such diversity. We have a "bucket list".
'Nurturing nature today for tomorrow' is the mantra for the Mantis Conservation division and you have received awards for 'Environmentalist of the Year'. Can you tell us more about your dedication to conservation?
The World with the population growth is shrinking by the day. If we do not look after what we have and what should be preserved - who will help us? We are playing our small part.

Adrian Gardiner

What is the next big luxury travel trend?
Speak to Richard Branson - maybe space!
What is your own personal litmus test for whether a hotel is worthy of the 'luxury' tag?
Service, style, décor - all the mod cons i.e. Wi-Fi.
Apart from your own, what are your favourite hotels/resorts? (and why)
They must be small and intimate with personal service. I don't like to be treated as a number.
What is your favourite city to visit?
London. It has culture, style and history.
What is your best overseas dining experience?
At our London hotel with our own private dining facility with a menu created by my wife and myself.
What is your favourite airline for business or first class? Why?
South African Airways. Best food, best service on board, best pickups - but worst lounges (in South Africa)
What three things do you never travel without?
Ear plugs, a change of clothes in my carryon bag, credit cards.(I never travel with hold luggage)
What is the one travel experience you will never forget?
I was called to a meeting in Abu Dhabi with the Ruler - waited for three days and he never arrived. Thankfully the hotel had DSTV (Satellite) and I was able to watch the incredible cricket match where South Africa and Australia scored over 400 runs each in one day and South Africa won!
What is the most important thing (travelwise) that money CAN buy?
All the things you need when your flight is cancelled or delayed.
What is the most important thing it CAN'T buy?
Time wasted through delays!
gardiner's Choices
South African Airways: www.flysaa .com
Posted 11/1/12
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