Sams Giardino is reminscent of a Swiss chalet.
Sam's Giardino: Our full report
The comfortable Sam's Giardino is set in an attractive garden, a few minutes' walk from the centre of Swakopmund. Run by its enthusiastic Swiss owner, Sam Eggar, with the aid of his exuberant dog, Beethoven, it is welcoming, homely and slightly offbeat.
Many of Sam's helpful and very professional staff are women from the nearby township, who he has helped through an innovative programme of training and employment, and who now add their own welcome.
Sam's Giardino's nine spacious rooms, including a family room, are clean and bright with rustic tiled floors, wicker furniture, white walls and linen, with an added splash of green for decoration. One king-sized room is larger than the others, although an extra bed can be added to any room. All rooms have heating, useful in wintertime when it can get pretty chilly in Swakopmund, and are equipped with cupboards, luggage racks, beside tables, lamps, hairdryers and safes. Those downstairs have large glass sliding doors that lead onto the garden, while upstairs rooms have higher wooden ceilings with skylights and views over the garden from the windows.
Each room has an en-suite bathroom with a shower, toilet, basin and mirror, with soaps and toiletries provided. The bathroom of the king-sized room is very spacious, with a lovely glass tiled shower and large bath.
Slightly separate from the other rooms is the family room, with its own television, allowing families to enjoy Sam’s with a degree of privacy from other guests. It consists of one twin and one double room, sharing a bathroom.
Downstairs in Sam's main area, a lounge full of books and sofas, and with a TV, leads off the reception area. Through the lounge is the breakfast room, which overlooks the garden. To one side is an enoteca and upstairs is a small reading area. There's also a lovely leafy garden where guests can relax on sunloungers shaded by palm trees, or play games with Beethoven.
In the morning, an extensive breakfast is served in the bright and sunny breakfast room, but by night the room is transformed into a romantic candlelit setting for a wonderful five-course dinner, with accompanying classical music. Sam, who speaks English, French and German, likes to create an elegant but relaxed atmosphere for the evening meal, chatting to guests and serving the meals himself. If there are just a few guests, dinner may be served in the enoteca. Here, Sam indulges in one of his passions – wine – and guests are enthusiastically encouraged to participate in wine tastings.
Sam is able to help with booking any activities in the local area, from boat trips to adrenalin sports and more. He can provide maps and tour leaflets, and will explain the location of attractions and shops. (NB: It’s essential that you read the Quadbike warning in the ‘Health & Safety’ section below for our comments on insurance issues regarding this activity.)
Our viewSam's Giardino is a firm favourite amongst our travellers. It offers a warm welcome, good food and comfortable rooms not far from Swakopmund's town centre – and Sam has initiated a particularly good staffing model, which is having a positive impact on some of the poorer people in the community.
Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights
Directions: Sam's Giardino is on Anton Lubowski Avenue, two minutes' drive from Swakopmund town centre, or ten minutes on foot. There is secure parking at the back.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Sam Eggar – and Beethoven the dog.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Breakfast, available from 7.00am to 10.00am, incorporates a wide range of fruit and cereal, including home-made Swiss muesli, breads, a large selection of jams, cheeses and yoghurt, plus cooked eggs and bacon, which is all very well prepared and served.
For lunch, Sam can make you a sandwich on request.
Dinner is a lovely five-course set menu that is served at 7.30pm. Guests can participate in wine tasting before dinner, if arranged in advance with Sam. On our most recent visit in October 2016 the menu was smoked salmon served on a rosti, then a clear vegetable soup followed by a mixed garden salad, the main was a poached hake fillet with mushrooms and a homemade parfait with fruits to finish.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £15-20
Drinks included: While we are told the water here is fine to drink, the supply in Swakopmund can taste quite chemical to those not used to it, so you may prefer to stick to bottled water, which is provided on request.
Further dining info: Sam is extremely knowledgeable about wines, and will happily recommend wines to go with your meal. On our last visit the cost of the five-course dinner was $300 Namibian dollars which we think was fantastic value for money.
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Sam's Giardino.
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: Sam can organise babysitting on request, although note that the sitters are likely to be local women who may not be formally qualified in child care. There are some games in the lounge.
Equipment: Cots can be provided.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: WiFi is available in the main areas and in the rooms.
TV & radio: There is a television in the lounge with English and German channels, and another in the family room.
Water supply: Mains
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: There are doctors and a good hospital in Swakopmund.
Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity or in this area. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There are electric gates at the front of the property. The front gate is locked from 10.00pm but guests can come and go through the side gate with their own key. Both Sam and Beethoven sleep on site.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all rooms.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: There is a safe in every room for small valuables and money. No currency exchange is offered.
Accepted payment on location: Travellers can pay with major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard. Cash payments may be made in Namibian dollars or South African rand.