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    Oct 2014 · Dana Sanchez

    Every operator of a small guest house likes to think theirs is unique. Mozaika -- mosaic in Portuguese -- really...

    Every operator of a small guest house likes to think theirs is unique. Mozaika — mosaic in Portuguese — really is.

    Part of Maputo’s growing small-lodging hospitality scene Mozaika consists of two guest houses, decorated with mosaic murals created by a local artist, and a third, guest house recently opened.

    I started my Mozaika experience at Mozaika 1 on Avenida Agosthino Neto. It has nine rooms and a mass of multicolored bougainvilleas growing by the guest house pool that must be seen to be believed.

    I was quickly redirected a few streets over to Mozaika 2, which also has nine rooms on Avenida Emilia Dausse. That’s where my room had been reserved.

    Founded by Maputo architect Jose Vedor, Mozaika has several things going on that differentiate it: one is the mosaics.

    Another is the hotel’s exterior paint job in orange and yellow with a touch of blue. In a city that seems to make a point of not painting its buildings much, Mozaika’s paint job feels almost subversive.

    Francisco Junior manages Mozaika 2 and is the founder’s nephew. He also lives at the guesthouse so it’s personal for him. Born in Mozambique, he went to high school in Brazil.

    Working for multinational corporations as a brand manager and new product developer, Francisco told me he has stayed at a lot of big hotels.

    They were all comfortable, he said, “but you don’t have that familiar environment where you can forget you’re not at home.”

    The driving force with Mozaika, he said, was to create a place people would want to come back to.

    About 70 percent of Mozaika’s guests are in Maputo on business, and more than half of those are international. But that’s changing.

    Francisco said he’s seeing an increase in leisure travelers — he used to have 90 percent business customers.

    Guests want to be within walking distance of restaurants and every part of the city, he said. They can do that at Mozaika.

    The guest house had fast Internet that worked wherever I was on the property. The staff took orders for lunch and dinner on request, and provided an ample breakfast with fresh rolls and pastries, vegetable and fish samosas, cold meats and cheeses and eggs made any way you like. Each breakfast table got its own personal French press for coffee.

    Each room at Mozaika is different, “because every person is different,” Francisco said. “People love the colors.”

    Demand for accommodation is growing in Maputo, Francisco said.

    Based on feedback from guests, he said there’s a gap in the market for small homey lodgings.

    Mozaica 3 has a more traditional hotel layout than it’s predecessors with a gym, restaurant and 15 rooms. It is located close to the airport.

    Mozaika is often full but there’s always space to be found, Francisco said. “We have agreements with other hotels.” December is a good time to visit Maputo. It’s a down time for Maputo hotels, and a time when there are usually more openings.

    At Mozaika you’ll find a bar, laundry service, airport transfers, and swimming pools. You’ll also find staff willing to help show you how to work the TV — three times if necessary.

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