Windhoek’s new world-class Hilton

A lot to smile about – Karakulia Weavers
August 12, 2012
Home to Khoisan people and coastal birds
August 12, 2012
A lot to smile about – Karakulia Weavers
August 12, 2012
Home to Khoisan people and coastal birds
August 12, 2012

Text and photos by ©Sharri Whiting De Masi – All photographs copyright of the author 

Re-printed with permission of the author

We’ve seen Hilton Hotels around the world, and the new nine-story Hilton in downtown Windhoek is on par with the best of them, says Sharri Whiting De Masi.

From the soaring ceiling of the mosaic-floored lobby to the rooftop spa, pool and fitness centre, the hotel’s public spaces offer amenities that international travellers have come to expect from five-star establishments.

The hotel has been designed to use Namibia’s spectacular light to best effect, both in interior spaces, such as the restaurant and business centre, and in the broad, shaded terraces that allow guests to enjoy views of the city and mountains beyond.

Owned by United Africa, the hotel will be managed by seasoned Austrian hotel executive Roman Kopacek under the designation Hilton: General Manager. According to Mr Kopacek, Hilton’s marketing strategy in Africa is to have a hotel in every capital on the continent, and the Windhoek project was readily welcomed by the Namibian Government and tourism community.

The new Hilton Windhoek is a luxury property designed to attract business and leisure travellers looking for top-level hospitality and service. In keeping with the owners’ desire for the hotel to reflect Namibia and its culture, the Hilton’s recruiting policy has been to hire as many local employees as possible, including students and graduates of UNAM and the Polytechnic, and trainees in specialised hospitality programmes.

New staff will then enter the Hilton’s renowned employee training programme, which ensures that the service offered at the Windhoek Hilton achieves the same high standard as Hilton hotels around the world.

The essential Namibian touch

The hotel’s 150 rooms were designed with a balance of classic comfort and high-tech functionality, appealing to both tourists and business travellers. The colour scheme has the essential Namibian touch. Following Mother Nature’s design, the hotel reflects shades of the Atlantic and Namibia’s coast in rooms and hallways at the front side of the hotel, gradually moving into desert hues as you move to the rooms facing Independence Avenue. Fourth-floor rooms will open onto garden terraces. It goes without saying that the views will be spectacular.

The dramatic glass-walled tower with its Diplomatic Rooms invites discretion and privacy, with its own glass elevator just inside the entrance to the hotel. In addition to the rooms, the tower offers five two-bedroom suites (85 m2), as well as single suites – they could also be called the sunset suites, as they face the front of the hotel and will catch the spectacular early evening light.

The Presidential Suite, at 105 m2, includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining room, living room, kitchen and state-of-the-art bathroom and amenities. It’s an ideal space for either board meetings or family vacations.

Unique Southern African location

Guests accustomed to Hilton Executive Floors will find them on levels 8 and 9, along with the Executive Lounge on the ninth floor. Dave Horton, global head of the Hilton brand, recently said that creating a ‘more holistic’ ambience in the Executive Lounges of Hilton hotels has been a ‘key focus’ for 2011–2012 (New York Times, April 26, 2011). In Windhoek, the Hilton’s Executive Lounge was designed to take advantage of the unique Southern African location and views, creating an atmosphere of comfort and privacy for its guests.

The Ekipa Restaurant, the Centrum Piano Lounge and Coffee Bar, the Sports Bar and the conference/ballroom spaces bring the outdoors in, opening to terraces that are ideal for breakout spaces or cocktails. The restaurant has a state-of-the-art show kitchen, a meat-aging cabinet and a pizza oven, reigned over by Chef Tim Thiveson, who has worked in the Seychelles, Johannesburg and Germany. While the menu will reflect changing themes, Namibian game will be a staple- ingredient.

Facilities for congress and special events include multi-media connections, and have also been designed to bring the outside in, with both the ballroom and break-out rooms opening onto spacious terraces. An 18-metre lap pool, spa and gym are located on the ninth floor, where there are unparalleled views of the Windhoek skyline and mountains beyond. Local residents will be offered memberships in the gym, and will be welcomed for spa treatments.

This article appeared in the Aug/ Sep 2011 edition of Travel News Namibia.



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