Phantom Forest Eco Reserve is a 137ha luxury hotel located 7km from the Knysna River, South Africa. The reserve has more than 150 kinds of birds and a variety of animals including bush pigs, bushbucks, grysboks and blue duikers. Named after the phantom moth, a species found in the region, the reserve was founded in 1998. The privately-owned hotel, which was built in an area of Afromontane forest, was nominated for the title of Africa’s Greenest Hotel 2009.
The reserve contains 14 elevated tree suites. Categorised as classic, upper tree camp and Moroccan tree, the suites are built along a network of winding wooden passages. There are six classic tree suites, each covering 65m². Classic suites include bedrooms, lounges, outdoor living decks and en-suite bathrooms.
The reserve’s four upper tree-camp suites each occupy more than 75m². They feature bedrooms with lounges and outdoor living areas equipped with private Jacuzzi-baths. The Moroccan tree suites, each of which covers 75m², have a North African feel. The four suites have large bedrooms with lounge areas and private decks. All suites are decorated with African-style soft furnishings. Some rooms were inspired by Xhosa designs and feature artefacts and natural textiles.
The Moroccan suites are decorated with silks and velvets in a variety of colours. All suites have large windows.
The hotel has two restaurants. The first restaurant, Forest Boma, offers international cuisine with a local flavour. The restaurant offers a six-course gourmet meal to guests and the menu changes every day.
The second restaurant, The Chutzpah, offers Moroccan-style dining. The hotel also has a bar, Eyrie, which overlooks the Knysna River. The bar includes brightly-coloured lounge suites. Its décor was inspired by modern African art and includes hand-painted carvings.
Phantom Forest Eco Reserve has a conference facility that can cater for 14 guests. Called Business Boma, the meeting area has wireless internet connectivity, power points and an outdoor area.
The hotel’s spa, Body Boma, offers a range of treatments including complete body massage, reiki and Swedish treatments. A wet treatment area offers mud and mineral wraps and salt scrubs.
The hotel’s policy is to ‘touch the earth lightly’ and its design incorporates green building principles. No old trees were cut to create space for the tree suites. Instead, young plants were dug out and re-planted. The roofs, decks and supports were constructed using pines and poplars.
The hotel also has a sewage plant that recycles water. To reduce the impact on the forest, the reserve includes a 1km boardwalk. All cables and water pipes run below the boards.
Phantom Forest Eco Reserve won a Trade Leaders’ Club Trophy in 2009. It also received a Cape Premier Award in September 2000 and was named Leading Eco Destination in Africa at The World Travel Awards 2007. The hotel was nominated for Leading Green Resort in the World 2008 and Green Hotel Africa 2009.