Catherine Dinsdale, a writer for Luxuriate Life, embarked on her inaugural journey to Namibia in February. As she set foot in this extraordinary country, she was immediately captivated by its awe-inspiring charm and natural wonders. From the moment she arrived, Catherine’s heart was filled with an overwhelming love for Namibia and all it had to offer. During her stay, The Windhoek Luxury Suites had the honour of hosting her, and she graciously shared her feedback on our charming boutique hotel.
Welcome to Namibia: A Weekend at Windhoek Luxury Suites
It seemed as if we had been travelling forever, but the last short flight from Johannesburg to Windhoek was the most eagerly awaited. The plane door closed against torrential rainstorms and opened to a wide horizon of African blue sky, which just seemed so much bigger and all-encompassing than any other destination.
With the welcoming sun on our backs, we entered the airport building and efficiently made our way through to the landside. The staff at immigration and the mobile communication centre where we purchased a local SIM card could not have been more welcoming. Taxis were available to take us into town, and most of the leading car hire companies were residents at this small international airport.
The Windhoek Luxury Suites
The 30-minute drive from the airport was eventful, with the sighting of a large baboon from the side of the road. The bushland around us soon gave way to a smattering of houses and busy streets. And in no time, we arrived at our home away from home for the next few nights. Set in the quiet and private enclave of Klein Windhoek, the Windhoek Luxury Suites are low-rise, with plenty of places to park and staff at the gate to greet travellers.
The design is modern, with soft brickwork and wooden floors, and interspersed with walkways and shaded greenery. I loved how the reception area was open at one end, with a breeze running throughout, cooling the hot air, and leading to chairs and tables under a green gazebo. Although our needs were simple, the ladies at reception were unfailingly helpful, and all the staff were charming and friendly.
The layout of the Suites was pretty straightforward, particularly as the different room areas are named after wine varieties; Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, etc., which I found both an educational and creative way of remembering where your room is!
We were in Malbec, and room 2 was downstairs, facing the lovely garden area. All the ground floor rooms have a patio with tables and chairs. We loved sitting out there in the cool breeze of the evening, star-spotting through the lattices of the gazebo. Wherever you look, there is lush foliage. A palm tree above, vines growing up and through wooden slats, thick and dense treetops swaying in the breeze. Accompanied by the sounds of an African night, we sipped our glasses of red wine and relaxed entirely.
Our room was large and very comfortable, a statement that applied most definitely to the bed too. Again the combination of brickwork, light solid wood complemented with white paintwork, and beige-soft furnishings conveyed modernity and indulgence. A large screen provided all the requisite channels though I baulked at watching Northern Hemisphere rugby when in the Southern Hemisphere. Air conditioning was efficient and necessary. Our bathroom was also generous in size, with a fabulous shower and beautifully scented local toiletries. We had travelled for near on 48 hours to get here, and the comfort with a touch of luxury was exactly what I yearned for.
At the end of a long day in the African heat, an outdoor pool is, I think, a prerequisite rather than the ‘I can take it or leave it’ part of the holiday experience. The wood-decked pool area was tucked away in the corner of the grounds in a quiet and peaceful location – ideal for soaking up the Namibian sun. We lazed on sun loungers and moved for drinks to the tables and chairs, helpfully placed under the welcoming shade of a large, dense tree.
Our dining experience
The Windhoek Luxury Suites do not have an on-site restaurant, but that’s not an issue at all, as just across the road is a small centre housing three sister restaurants to the suites and a scattering of upmarket shops. The building is constructed in the style of a Portuguese Quinta or Spanish Hacienda, complete with cloisters and a lovely fountain in the centre of the courtyard where Bougainvillaea trees provide shade. We decided on the Stellenbosch Wine Bar and Bistro on our first evening. It was a good choice. The food was excellent; my partner and I plumped for the Namibian steak served with a tasty local salad and preceded by tempura prawns. We washed down with an excellent bottle of South African de Wetshof Chardonnay and picked off a wine list which would not shame the South African wine capital, after which the restaurants are named.
Breakfast is a simple arrangement; we were provided with a voucher each morning which was then swapped for whatever we wanted from the breakfast menu at the Stellenbosch Market café across the road. We completed all three eating establishments on our second evening when we ate dinner at the Stellenbosch Tasting Room. A Durban Lamb curry was washed down with a Tokara Cabernet Sauvignon, selected from an impressive South African wine list.
We didn’t regret not venturing further afield but concurred with the reviews we had read – this really was some of the best food in Windhoek. Namibia has a colourful history, having been German and South African territory before independence in 1990; we couldn’t help but think that the South African influence, coupled with German standards of service (not to mention the Rheinheitsgebraut standard lager) and a touch of Portuguese style from across the border in Angola, result in the excellent cuisine. We were provided with an excellent culinary start to our Namibian expedition.
Written by Catherine Dinsdale
In a nutshell
The Windhoek Luxury Suites are quiet and calm and are a great choice to bookend a holiday in Namibia. It feels far enough from the hustle and bustle of the Namibian capital and, after a long journey, is a perfect place to recuperate and regenerate. It allows a gentle easing into a Namibian adventure, the first chapter of your African book.