Mozambique’s coastal gem, Sentidos Beach Retreat, located on the idyllic Barra Beach in Inhambane, is redefining luxury hospitality. With its commitment to crafting unforgettable experiences and leaving a lasting impact on the local community, the resort is a guiding light and innovation in the evolving landscape of Mozambique’s tourism industry. In a conversation on the VA Podcast, Lwana Lopes, General Manager of Sentidos Beach Retreat, shed light on the challenges and aspirations that fuel this remarkable destination.
Pioneering unique experiences
Lwana Lopes highlighted Sentidos Beach Retreat’s mission to provide guests with an extraordinary experience that goes beyond traditional lodging. “What we want is people that sleep here do not feel they’ve slept on a bed, but they’ve lived an experience,” Lopes explained. This experience encompasses waking up to the picturesque sight of local fishermen setting out in their canoes, casting their nets, and participating in community projects that leave a lasting impact.
Expanding the horizon
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sentidos Beach Retreat has been on a growth trajectory since December. The resort is currently in the midst of a significant expansion, which includes the construction of additional rooms, a dive centre, and a conference facility that would have the capacity to host at least, 300 people. This expansion aims to enhance the quality of service and cater to the high-end market, with room offerings set to increase from 12 to 26.
Moreover, the resort is committed to promoting community engagement. It currently features 14 self-catering rooms, catering to a lower-budget segment, particularly appealing to divers and those interested in participating in community projects. “The project started two years ago, and it should be finished next year if everything goes well,” Lopes said, highlighting the resort’s dedication to the holistic development of the local community.
Aiding local communities
Lopes also emphasised Sentidos Beach Retreat’s involvement in community development projects. Guests are encouraged to actively participate in these initiatives, ensuring that they leave not only with cherished memories but also knowing that they have positively impacted the local community. “At the end of the trip, you want the guests to leave knowing he has left his mark because he will be helping with a project,” Lopes stated, underlining the resort’s commitment to providing an authentic and immersive experience for guests.
While tourism in Mozambique is on an upward trajectory, there remain hurdles to overcome. According to Lwana Lopes, one of the key challenges facing the resort and the tourism industry as a whole is the limited availability of international flights. “The biggest challenge at the moment is the international flight,” Lopes pointed out. “They have put us with a flight from Vilankulo to here, but we need international flights because of the guests and the agents we work with don’t want to come when they have to get on another plane,” she added. She however disclosed that she has received assurance from management of LAM Mozambique Airlines that they would start an international schedule soon – a development Lopes hopes would materialise soon to help reduce flight challenges for their international clients and agents.