The Elegant Guesthouse

Windhoek, Namibia Book from

Snazzy and secure guesthouse in a quiet, leafy area close to the city centre
Windhoek is among Africa's most sedate capital cities, a place where cars stop at traffic lights, restaurants close early and the suburbs surrounding the city centre seem more akin to those of Münich than of Nairobi. In a quiet street at the heart of one of the city's sleepiest neighbourhoods, Jörn and Birke have fashioned a guesthouse which place their architectural and decorative accent on elegance and comfort of the most contemporary kind.

The Elegant Guesthouse has a light, breezy and welcoming feel thanks to its open-plan design and extensive windows: the single-storied stoop architecture reflects the city's colonial (and recent) past. Clipped green lawns, a csparkling pool, impeccably manicured guest rooms and cheerfully attentive staff help ensure that from the moment you arrive you feel a delicious sense of Dulce Domum - even though the wild beauty of the African veld is just miles from your door.

Highs

  • Eye-catching furnishings, fabrics and finishes have been fashioned to the most exacting, Germanic of standards
  • Jörn and Birke's hands-on style of management makes for a tight, superbly run guesthouse
  • Elegant's garden and pool offers blissful respite after a day exploring the city, especially during the hotter part of the year
  • An honesty bar, cosy guest lounge and pro-active staff help to make you feel instantly zu Hause
  • Secure, off-street parking is a big bonus, especially if you're setting off to explore Namibia in a fully loaded 4x4

Lows

  • It's a wee bit too far to walk into the city centre but Elegant offers 3 free transfers per day
  • A check-out time of 10 am could feel like an imposition if you tend to sleep late

Best time to go

When you choose to visit Windhoek will probably be influenced by the game viewing season rather than what is happening in the city itself. From July through to mid November you can expect to see a lot of action at the waterholes (as far as both animals and tourists are concerned) with the busiest time coming between July and August: there's a second busy period between April and May coinciding with the Easter break in Europe even though the wildlife viewing is less rewarding at this time of year. From December through to mid February be prepared for high (mid 30s +) temperatures whilst the rainy season is generally from January through to the end of March. Bear in mind that even if daytime temperatures are high throughout most of the year they can rapidly descend at night.

Our top tips

For most travellers to Namibia, Windhoek is the point of arrival and departure before they undertake a longer tour through the country. A two day stay at the beginning of a holiday and maybe a final night before departure (or vice versa) would give you enough time to get an insight into the place.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 6
  • Breakfast only
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The conception of Elegant's muted beige, grey and black guest rooms was no chance event: Jörn worked for several years in top-end tourism and had clear ideas about bedroom dos and don'ts.

The Guesthouse's garden and courtyard facing bedrooms are light, functional and imbued with contemporary, angular good looks. They have twin beds which can be zip-linked to create queen-sized doubles, great mattresses of the firm-yet-pliant variety and these are matched by top-of-the-range bed linen.

Expect a full quotient of gadgetry: flat screen TV (discreetly tucked away in a cabinet in most rooms), WiFi, telephone, hairdryer, safety box and a hot and cold air-conditioning unit.

All rooms benefit from some sort of sitting out area - the nicest give straight onto the lawn - and all come with sparkling shower rooms dressed from floor to ceiling in swish Italian marble or slate-coloured tiles. They have surface top sinks in white ceramic or stainless steel and walk-in rain showers with invigorating water pressure. And all of the rooms have masses of storage space.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The guesthouse has an open-plan kitchen-diners where the smiling Namibian staff busy themselves preparing your breakfast to the strains of easy-on-the-ear music (Ella Fitzgerald when I stayed) whilst you chat with Jörn, or pore over your guide books and maps. Tables can also be laid up out on the terrace or outside your room when the weather's right.

A big, help-yourself buffet reflects the owner's, and the country's, Germanic past: expect yoghurts and muesli, fresh fruit kebabs, cold cuts and cheeses, a big range of jams and three or four freshly baked breads, including one of dark rye. Coffee or tea is served at your table as well as fruit juice (of the carton variety). And any variant on the cooked breakfast theme can be prepared whilst you look on. It all felt open, inclusive and it was great to see the way that Jörn and his staff seem to get along so well - and on an equal footing.

No lunches or dinners are on offer but if you prefer not to stray from The Elegant you're welcome to order in a takeaway: in the guest information folder in your room you'll find an extensive choice listed under Dial a Meal.

But given that you're probably in town for just two or three nights, chances are that you'll want to dine out. For a bit of fun and big cuts of meat, head for Joe's Beer House which is just along the road from The Elegant: Bavaria meets Bush in its rustic décor and collection of African hunting trophies. Let Jörn or any member of his staff know at breakfast where you fancy dining out and they'll happily take care of reserving your table.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Treat yourself to a facial, a body wrap, manicure or pedicure at the Escape Health and Beauty Centre, just a short walk from The Elegant

  • Head into town to The Clock Tower and take a leisurely stroll through the Windhoek's old German quarter

  • Shop for African memorabilia: two of the best places to buy Namibian curios and folk art are at the Bushman Art and African Museum on Independence Avenue and The Namibia Crafts Centre close to the Warehouse Theatre

  • Don't miss the Christuskirche, best seen in the early morning or evening light, with its wierdly fascinating mix of architectural styles

  • Take a tour into the Katutura Township to remind yourself of how the less fortunate live in the country's capital city

  • Drive to the nearby National Botanical Gardens, an 11 hectare slice of greenery at the heart of the city: you'll see masses of birdlife as the flora of the country's many diverse regions

  • Windhoek gets lively during Oktoberfest and Karneval

  • Chill out on a lounger in the garden watching a host of feathered things flitting amongst the greenery

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children are welcome but there are no cots or extra beds available so you'd need to bring a travel cot or book separate rooms.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)

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