In the centre of Swakopmund, Villa Margherita...
Villa Margherita: Our full report
Villa Margherita – 'The Charming House' – is an upmarket colonial-style B&B, set in the heart of Swakopmund on Namibia's Atlantic coast. Constructed between 1908 and 1913, it was completely renovated and refurbished by owners Claudine and Amelio, before opening for guests in March 2008.
Villa Margherita has eight bedrooms and suites of varying configurations, all individual in their decor. The rooms are individually designed, decorated with large paintings, and stylishly furnished with a mix of antique, contemporary and modern pieces.
Most have comfortable king- or queen-size beds, but one has twins – and a couple of others offer that option. All have en-suite bathrooms with a shower or a bath, a seating area, flat-screen TVs, and WiFi connections. DVD players and films are available on request, and there are plans to provide individual laptops for guests' use.
Upstairs in the main house are:
• The light and airy Queen Room, with twin or double beds and a very spacious bathroom.
• The slightly granderKing Room, which consists of two double/twin bedrooms linked by a comfortable lounge and sharing a bathroom, making it suitable for families.
• The romantic Romeo & Juliet Room – with its own private balcony which inspired its name.
Whilst downstairs are the more cosy and inviting:
• Adam & Eve Room, which has twin beds, rather than the king- or queen-size beds that are the norm in the other rooms.
• Eden Room, with a large double bed and decorated in bright block colours.
The Cottage is an additional wing, great for families, which houses two homely rooms that can be interlinked:
• The Lady Hamilton Room, which opens out on to the garden and has its own comfortable lounge.
• The arty Lord Nelson Room, which is also accessed through the garden.
Finally, and across the road, is:
• The Honeymoon Suite, which has a private parking area, a terrace and a spacious living room, complete with its own laptop, satellite TV, DVD player and stereo system. Come here for peace and privacy.
The staff here are exceptionally attentive and helpful, and – with 14 staff members to just eight rooms – there is always be someone around to offer a good-quality, professional service.
Villa Margherita's main facilities include a communal living room with books and a fireplace – ideal to curl up in front of in the evenings or on colder days. There's also a small, flower-decked garden, where breakfast can be served in summer, and a separate restaurant, Il Tulipano, where evening meals must be pre-booked.
Swakopmund is well known as Namibia's springboard of adrenalin sports, and Villa Margherita's hosts will help to arrange all kinds of activities for guests, although they prefer to book the less commercial tours, and those that support conservation of local habitats. Options include scenic hot-air balloon rides over Swakopmund, sky-diving, and dune-boarding or quadbiking through the Namib Desert dunes. If you need a break after an exciting day outdoors, there are plans to offer an in-house massage service in the future.
Villa Margherita is a good upmarket choice for two or three nights in Swakopmund during a Namibia self-drive safari. It's close to Swakopmund's central facilities, including activities, restaurants and shops. With its cosy fireplaces and elegant staircases, Villa Margherita displays the unique charm of an old house – but tastefully peppered with modern paintings and sculptures.
Ideal length of stay: 2-3 nights
Directions: Villa Margherita is set on the corner of Daniel Tjongarero Avenue and Otavi Street, in Swakopmund.
Owner: Villa Margherita is owned and managed by Claudine & Amelio.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Breakfast is served at individual tables in Villa Margherita's dining room or in the garden during summer. Expect fruit salad, fresh breads and rolls with butter and jams, juices and coffee, as well as smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and English breakfasts.
Villa Margherita has an in-house restaurant, Il Tulipano, which serves a variety of Italian dishes and seafood, made from local ingredients. From beef carpaccio to homemade fusilli and fresh pesto sauce – gourmets are spoilt for choice. The restaurant's small bar offers a selection of beers, as well as South African and Italian wines to go with the food. Il Tulipano is open every evening from 6.00pm, and also serves lunch on Sundays. Please note that dinner must be pre-booked.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Villa Margherita.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: Two of Villa Margherita's suites can be used as family units with two bedrooms to accommodate two adults and two children, as well as a lounge area. Once personal laptops are available, children will be allowed to take them to their room to use.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: WiFi access is available throughout the villa. The Honeymoon Suite comes with a private laptop and a communal internet point is available at Villa Margherita's bar. There are plans to provide individual laptops in the future.
TV & radio: Each suite is equipped with a flat-screen TV; the Honeymoon Suite also has a DVD player and a stereo system.
Health & safety
Malarial area: No
Medical care: There are many doctors in Swakopmund, including the Cottage Hospital.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There's a safe for personal belongings in every suite. Off-street parking for guests' cars is available, and there is a night guard who keeps an eye on the parking area.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are available in all the main areas.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: Currency exchange is available in emergencies only.