Namibia’s capital city is a curiously tidy affair at the heart of a country that is home to some of the most bizarre and dazzling landscapes on earth. Accommodation options here were once rather limited for those with a penchant for luxury, but when boutique sanctuary The Olive Exclusive swung open its lofty doors, that changed dramatically.
This cool and contemporary all-suite hotel is a later addition to the lower key Olive Guesthouse next door, with just seven individually decorated suites. Cocooned amid a sun soaked olive grove in an upmarket district, The Olive Exclusive is arguably Windhoek’s finest hotel. A combination of raw materials, tribal accents and a hint of minimalism give the interiors an African aesthetic with a modern kick.
Check in at the reception desk, a magnificent slab of rough granite with a polished top, set beneath a soaring ceiling. Straight ahead lies the snug, where weathered leather sofas sit alongside trunks and bookcases line the walls beside larger-than-life portrait photographs of the Himba tribesmen of northern Namibia. To the right is the restaurant, dotted with marble and metal tables and Eames chairs, where a whisky bar serves as a striking focal point. Cobalt walls jar against sawn hardwood and lighting is key; from the cutout globes overhead to the hand-made rattan shade strung from a sculptural tree trunk jutting out from the wall. There’s an alfresco terrace with honey-hued stone steps leading down to a small swimming pool.
From the outside, the separate suites are a medley of dusty green and glass that fit discreetly in the environment. You can pick from two categories – junior and premier, with the latter featuring private plunge pools set into expansive covered verandas. Inside, each room is charmingly unique and decorated to reflect a region of Namibia, among them Kunene, Erongo and Etosha. Huge beds are strewn with faux fur blankets and polished concrete floors softened with animal skins, with every suite featuring an open plan lounge and dining area leading to the bedroom. But aside from that, it’s a lottery as to what you might find; a cavernous hanging chair or a buttery leather sofa, a teak root table or a collection of fired pots. Bathrooms come painted in shades of the Namibian wilderness with abstract murals by South African photographer Micky Hoyle, some feature natural stone basins and bathtubs.
The Olive Exclusive might be primarily used as a fleeting stopover for safari-goers, but holed up in a heavenly suite with room service at the ready; you might find you’d like to stay for good. Make it your first stop on a wilderness road trip and hop into a retrofitted Land Rover courtesy of overland Africa connoisseurs Safari Drive.
Words by Annie Biziou – Lifestyle Editor