Villa Margherita

Swakopmund & Coast, Namibia Book from N$1700

Boutique at its snazziest and jazziest in one of Swakopmund's oldest colonial houses
Sandwiched between the vast emptiness of the Namib desert and the cold currents of the Atlantic ocean, Swakopmund remains one of Africa's most unique and quirky colonial creations: Bavarian church spires alternate with palm trees whilst cool ocean mists cloak the town and surrounding dunes in a blanket that feels almost surreal in its other-worldliness.

Amelio and Claudine fell under the spell of the place and revamped one of its most flamboyant townhouses to create an intimate guesthouse full of art and colour. Many of Villa Margherita's original features remain - elegant staircases, fireplaces, cornicing, panelling - but these now serve as backdrop to big canvases of pop art, eye-catching designer lamps and an eclectic mix of sculpture, masks and photography. There's a big dash of deco and a mood that is both lighthearted and sybaritic: count on a big comfortable room, great food and kindly care from your hosts and their staff.

Highs

  • The food, much of it inspired by Amelio's native Italy, is as good as anywhere in town
  • This is a place with an instant feel-good factor, much of it to do with the striking use of colour throughout the Villa
  • Off street parking is a big plus if you're trundling around Namibia in a loaded-up 4x4
  • You're within an easy stroll of all of Swakopmund's most interesting sights
  • You can expect masses of TLC from your young, charming and ever-friendly hosts

Lows

  • Be prepared for the town to be bathed in cool mists for a large part of the year
  • Villa Margherita's corner plot means that a fair amount of traffic passes: you'll hear it from the garden

Best time to go

When you choose to visit Swakopmund will probably be influenced by the game viewing season in Etosha and other parts of the country rather than what's happening with the weather in Swakopmund.

Bear in mind that during the months of July and August coastal fog envelops the town even though by driving just 10kms inland you're guaranteed day-long sunshine.

The town sees a big influx of visitors from South Africa and Windhoek in December and January who are atrracted by the cooler temperatures of the coastal belt. The best time of year to visit is during the Namibian summer - December through to mid March - when temperatures are mild and the lighter mists burn off earlier in the day.

But don't think too much about the sun factor: you're guaranteed plenty of that in other parts of the country and Swakopmund has a unique appeal at any time of year.

Our top tips

Don't miss the opportunity to take a boat trip out along the Skeleton Coast to see its abundant marine and birdlife: you may well see dolphins just yards from your boat.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 7
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

When it came to creating the guest bedrooms at Villa Margherita Amelio and Claudine thought big and opted to slot in just 7 generously sized doubles. Each one has enough space for a big sleeping area as well as some kind of sitting area, either within the room or in an adjoining annex.

In the main house there are 3 upstairs doubles with showers rather than baths: The Queen, The King, and Romeo and Juliet. Of the 2 downstairs rooms, Eden is a double with shower whilst Adam and Eve is alone in having twin beds and both a bath and separate shower. And to one side of the house in a separate wing (which Claudine calls The Cottage) there are a further 2 suites: Lady Hamilton has a shower room whilst her (appropriate) neighbour Nelson has a bath.

As is the case in the public spaces, colour is the chief protagonist with a lively combination of lime green, orange, bordeaux, violet and coral tones in both fabrics and paintings, many of which were created to match the rooms by Amelio.

All rooms apart from Adam and Eve have big double beds (some kings, some queens) and whilst most furniture is contemporary and angular there are also antique tables, dressers and chairs, all juxtaposed with maximum aesthetic appeal in mind. Most rooms have parquet floors, a couple are tiled and two carpetted in a neutral beige tone with bright kilims sustaining the keep-it-colourful note.

Since our visit, Isotta, Tristano and The Nest have also been added.

The paintings and bright palette are also present in Villa M's swish bath and shower rooms. Most have additional cupboard space, a couple are large enough to double up as dressing rooms and all come with a big pile of soft white towels and flannels (which are changed daily), bathrobes, and roiboss shampoo, gel and soap.

Features include:

  • Wifi internet
  • Tv
  • Cd player
  • Internet access
  • Safe box
  • Bathrobes
  • Toiletries

Eating

The chance to dine in Villa Margherita's restaurant Il Tulipano is one of the best reasons for booking a stay here. Amelio learned to cook at one of Italy's top catering schools and is passionate about food.

His culinary aim is to combine the best of local ingredients with the recipes of his home country. And the dining room, with its striped olive green and pale yellow wallpaper, funky lamps and bold artwork feels the perfect place to eat a special meal. Suppers often begin with an aperitif out in the garden or, in the cooler months, beside the fire when Amelio tends to be around to talk you through that evening's menu.

Our dinner was amongst the best of our trip through Namibia. A starter of beef carpaccio (Amelio's own) with flaked parmesan was followed by homemade fusilli with fresh salmon and a rich tarragon sauce. Guests always are given a choice of main course which tends to be either fish fresh from local market or some kind of red meat: being in Namibia, it will always be of the best. We chose the fillet of beef which was served with fresh pesto sauce, polenta and pan grilled peppers and aubergine whilst the homemade sorbet which followed was the perfect way to end a memorable meal. And there's a small but tempting choice of South African and Italian wines: we chose a merlot and cabernet Kaapzicht which was fabulous: just ask Amelio for his recommendations if you're in any doubt.

You're also guaranteed a great breakfast at Villa Margherita which will be accompanied, like dinner, by some kind of uplifting music of the jazz or classical kind. Guests are individually served by Villa M's uniformed waiting staff. After a fruit salad, juice, a basket of fresh bread and rolls, butter and jams and the very best coffee are brought to your table a cooked breakfast order is taken: it could be a variant on the English theme or, if you prefer, smoked salmon with creamy scrambled eggs.

Features include:

  • Room service
  • Bar
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Food and wine
  • Walk to restaurants
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Head off to explore the desert surrounding Swakopmund making sure not to miss the enormous, sinuous form of Dune 7

  • Take a cruise out from the harbour to see dolphins, seals and pelicans: your trip will wind up with oysters and champagne; whales can easily be sighted July-October when they migrate to the Cape

  • Try your hand at sandsailing or sandboarding down the dunes

  • Take in a few of Swakopmund's German colonial buildings like the Wörmannhaus and Lutheran Church as well as the Town Museum and the National Marine Aquarium; there are also 2 cinemas within 5 minutes walk

  • Take a boat trip out from the harbour to fish for marlin but be sure to arrange this beforehand with Claudine and Amelio

  • You can go sailing and kayaking in Walvis Bay

  • Experience the beauty of the desert with a half day ride by camel or horse; there are several nature reserves nearby - Naukluft Park, the Skeleton Park and the Swakopmund River Bed region

  • Rossmund Golf Course is 10-15 minutes by car; there's also a tennis court and swimming pool in town

  • You can also take a hot air balloon trip, you will be collected at Villa Margherita

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Food and wine
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • History religious
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Museum
  • Safaris
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Whalewatching
  • Wildlife
  • Shopping

Kids

Claudine and Amelio have a young family of their own and are easy when it comes to children: this is the sort of place where nobody will raise an eyebrow if kids come down to breakfast dressed in their pyjamas. The best rooms for families are Adam and Eve (the twin with a couch) and Eden, which can interconnect; or the massive King suite which has two bedrooms.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
8/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape