So happy to have found this hotel. We checked reviews on 'Tripadvisor beforehand but weren't sure how busy it would be (we don't like travelling in high seasons). Made a call and spoke to the manager, Mr Wakker, who could not have been more helpful and charming during what was essentially just a one-off call. Decided to book on that experience alone and so glad we did.
Hotel is fantastically situated right in town and conveniently close to a number of shops ranging from tourism to clothing and so on. Also, not more than a few minutes' walk from the beach (and what a beautiful beach it is - miles and miles of pristine sand along some of the most perfect stretch of typical wild Atlantic coastline you're likely to find in Africa). Totally safe to walk on too with no hassle or 'beach boys' or any of that stuff which is a major bonus considering how epidemic this problem is elsewhere on the continent.
In terms of accommodations, one thing we found interesting in the reviews for the Hansa were people referring to it as 'dated' or 'old fashioned'. This was most certainly NOT our experience. We booked a suite (at a complete steal of a price) and found it immaculately furnished, presented, and absolutely huge. The style is certainly old European but there was nothing old about it at all. All the furnishings were perfectly up to date, fresh, spotlessly clean, and effortlessly comfortable. Really surprising seeing as the hotel is in a beach resort town so you'd expect, if anything to have quite minimal, utilitarian type furniture. Not at all. Everything is beautifully upholstered with seemingly no expense spared in terms of trims, lighting, and other fixtures. Great mini bar, a perfect little balcony overlooking some of Swakopmund's beautiful Germanic architecture, lovely comfy bed, excellent cable reception and wifi, and a massive bathroom with plenty of complementary toileteries and fluffy towels.
Staff, too, are just exceptional. Consistently gracious, welcoming, and friendly right from the doormen through to the gentlemen responsible for sprucing up the garden. We were always greeted by name by the reception staff which was a lovely touch, and the barman, Joseph, ranks for us as on a par with, if not better than, the best we've encountered at the likes of the Plaza and Waldorf Astoria or the supposedly (laughably) superior American Bar at the Savoy. We were always greeted with a cheery smile and wave and he knew exactly what our preferred drinks were too. Even depending on the time of day (gin and tonics upon returning in the afternoon and cognacs after dinner). What service! Proper old school, class barman - a rare thing in itself nowadays. Overall, probably the best thing about our stay were the staff. I can not praise them highly enough. We were even picked up by a manager when trying to call a cab from the Tug restaurant one evening and were assured that it was a service they provide and restaurants know simply to call them if guests need to get back. Outstanding attention to customer service and very much appreciated.
Restaurant too is very good and highly recommended. Our one tiny hesitation here though is that the menu can be a little too rich for long-staying guests although the kitchen was wonderfully obliging on the two occasions I opted for some plain grilled Kingclip. The staff too in the restaurant are wonderful and admirably demonstrate the Hansa's effortless ability to straddle the line between a very classy hotel with the needs of everyday travellers and familiies. We'd often turn up to dinner still with sunblock on and all dusty from travelling and get seated and waited upon as friendly and professionally as ever without so much as a second glance from the staff. The lady overseeing the restaurant too took a grizzling toddler off her hassled mother one evening and walked her round - thereby letting her tired mum have a bit of time to relax and enjoy her dinner. What a lovely and thoughtful gesture.
The only other thing that I would make a recommendation to the hotel on however is the nature of the game meat on the menu. I don't have a problem with game meat or its consumption but we were concerned about the possibility that we might be eating animals shot by amateurs. Namibia has a long and fine tradition of game marksmen but the country also caters to overseas gun nuts who come out on shooting sprees on specialist game farms that presumably sell off these kills. As such, we worried that there is no way of being able to tell if the game meat on the menu had come from responsible and licensed gunmen and farms or are just the product of some trigger-happy American on one of these reprehensible shooting farms.
I'm not an overtly sentimental person but I draw the line at the possibility of the animal on my plate having suffered a protracted or cruel death, nor will I support 'trophy' game farms, and I would hope that there is some way of being able to gauge this in future as we were unfortunately then rather limited in terms of our meal options. Responsibly sourced and correctly farmed meat that has to meet certain humanitarian conditions is an acknowledged consumer requirement in Europe (well, certainly the UK) so I see no reason why Namibia can not follow suit and given how superbly managed and professional the Hansa is in any event, one would assume they'd agree.
This though was our only 'negative' (if you can call it that) and the restaurant is otherwise superb. Outstandingly put together wine list as well. Definitely induldge in some of the red South African estate reserves; you will not regret it. Another tip is to have a drink in the afternoon in the small but beautiful garden and watch the sparrows and Weaver birds have a little bath. Then go back out in the late evening too after supper and have a brandy on the little sitting area next to the restaurant terrace while watching the stars. Gorgeous.
Overall then, an absolutely terrific find with probably the kindest and most professional staff we've ever encountered on our travels anywhere including to some of the world's supposedly finest and best hotels. We will definitely be going back to Namibia next year and mostly so we can kick back and relax at the delightful Hansa. A great hotel that is superb from start to finish is a rare thing and deserves being returned to time and time again. Absolutely wonderful and highly, highly recommended.
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- Also Known As:
- Hansa Hotel Swakopmund