Monday, July 9, 2012

Where to stay in Windhoek

Windhoek is a great little city - beautiful landscape (it reminded me a bit of a Southern California setting), spotlessly clean, friendly and very much worth an overnight or two sandwiching a safari. It's the perfect spot to chill by the pool, rest off some jet lag or, in my case, have some laundry done and dust off between trips into the bush. The culinary scene is up-and-coming and I enjoyed great wine with my meals; all around, it was considerably more cosmopolitan than I expected and really very fun. Ultimate Safaris, based in Windhoek, is a full-service ground handler and operator of exclusive tailor-made safaris to Namibia. Learn more about our custom vehicle fleet, our expert guiding team and our conservation trust.

There are quite a few options for accommodations for your travelers in Windhoek - ranging from welcoming guest houses to top-end and city hotels to destination spas. If your travelers are looking for the comforts of a 5-star city hotel, the Hilton Hotel recently opened in Windhoek and offers everything travelers would expect. It is located in the business district, rather than the residential neighborhoods where you find many accommodations.

For travelers looking for something small and intimate, Galton House offers top-notch service, excellent food and a low-key, but chic atmosphere. Located in the posh suburb of Eros, Galton House is a quiet hideaway with just 8 rooms (including doubles, twins, triples and a family suite). Facilities include a swimming pool, full restroom and shower for day use, lounge and bar area, laundry, wi-fi, a boutique that stocks local crafts and jewelry, and indoor and outdoor dining areas (dinner is a set menu, lunch served ala carte).  Meals were carefully prepared, fresh and tasty. The wine list is small, but well-edited and features hand-selected wines from Southern Africa. Rooms are simple, nicely decorated using contemporary colors and featuring stunning photography and art work. Galton has hit the nail on the head in terms of providing exactly what a guest house should (and, actually, quite a bit more) - welcoming service, good food, comfortable rooms and all the amenities travelers need. The value is excellent, as well, at rack 750 Namibian dollars per person, bed and breakfast. Travelers who have high expectations, but want to save in Windhoek and splurge on safari will love Galton House!

Also in Windhoek and not far from Galton House, is a luxurious option (and a matching price-point): The Olive Exclusive. Recently named one of the Best New Hotels of 2012 on the It List of Travel + Leisure (for design), The Olive Exclusive has raised the bar in terms of luxury accommodations in Windhoek. South African designed and oozing luxe, the Olive Exclusive is ideal for travelers who seek the top in style and don't mind paying the price. For travelers continuing on to lodges like The Fort, Mowani's honeymoon suite and Wolwedans Boulders, this would be a great fit. The Olive Exclusive is all suites and the rooms are over-sized with separate bathrooms (shower, soaking tub, double sink basins), lounge area, private verandahs, massive beds drowning in luxurious linens - it's a luxury hotel, for sure. The service was very good, the shop is home to all those beautiful African art and craft pieces that I want to bring home, but never have the space, the food was excellent and the rooms were truly stunning.

Outside of Windhoek about 30 kms is GocheGanas, a luxury lodge, nature reserve and wellness retreat. Due to the distance from Windhoek and the experiences offered at the property, we recommend spending two nights at GocheGanas and incorporating it into an itinerary as another destination rather than simply a transit night. Guided game drives and walks are available, as well as mountain biking for those who are looking to spend time outdoors. The Wellness Village is an extensive holistic center that includes a wide arrange of treatments and products, as well as a cave sauna, heated pool, fitness center, vichy shower, hydro therapy bath and more.

To include any of these properties in your travelers safari in Namibia, please contact Ultimate Safaris or the Kusini Collection.

Photos courtesy Galton House and The Olive Exclusive.

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