Villa Margherita is a lovingly restored guesthouse in the heart of Swakopmund.
Villa Margherita: Our full report
Villa Margherita – also know as 'The Charming House' – is an upmarket colonial-style boutique guest house, set in the heart of Swakopmund, on Namibia's Atlantic coast. It is located within walking distance of many shops and restaurants as well as the beachfront. Constructed between 1908 and 1913, it’s a lovely old house. It was, completely renovated and refurbished by owners Claudine and Amelio, and opened for guests in March 2008.
Central to Villa Margherita is a formal lounge, which features stone floors and a large marble fireplace, and the original wooden staircase that leads to the upstairs bedrooms. Deep red walls and dark furniture are lightened by white panelling and bright modern artwork on the walls, and guests are free to browse the magazines and books on Namibia that are set on the coffee table.
Off the lounge, the dining room is bright and inviting, with wooden floors and yellow walls. This is where guests are served breakfast, and lunch and dinner are also available on request.
Villa Margherita has 10 smart bedrooms and suites of varying configurations. All are individual in their décor and stylishly furnished with a mix of antique and modern pieces. The walls are hung with both black-and-white photos of Namibia and modern artwork.
Most of the rooms have comfortable king- or queen-size beds, although some are twins, and every room has an en-suite bathroom with a shower or a bath, a seating area, flat-screen TV, WiFi connection, hairdryer, heater and electric blankets, with complimentary tea and coffee provided. DVD players and films are available on request.
Five of the rooms are located in the manor house, with the others in individual buildings at the side of the property.
Upstairs in the manor house are:
- The light and airy Queen Room, set in the attic space, which has a large double bed and a spacious bathroom. Double doors lead onto a Juliet balcony.
- The slightly granderKing Room, which consists of two en-suite bedrooms linked by a comfortable lounge, making it suitable for families.
- The romantic Romeo & Juliet Room, which has a double bed and bathroom, and is decorated in pale green and red. It has its own balcony with views over the rooftops of Swakopmund.
Downstairs are two cosy and inviting rooms:
- The Adam & Eve Room, which has twin Art Deco-style beds and a matching wardrobe, as well as a spacious bathroom with separate bath. It also has its own small but separate lounge with a door leading into the garden.
- The Eden Room, which has a modern four-poster double bed and is decorated in pale green. It has a small bathroom with a shower.
Accessed via the garden are the two-roomed Cottage, The Nest and The Villa, with the latter two also accessible from the street.
- The Cottage, with two double bedrooms, is ideal for families as they can be interlinked. Both rooms have access to a paved patio area and the garden.
- The Lady Hamilton Room has a separate lounge and small bathroom with shower.
- The Lord Nelson Room also has a separate lounge, and the bathroom has a bath.
- The Nest is a small cottage with a white picket fence and pretty garden. This, too, would work well for families as it has two bedrooms – one double and one twin – with a shared bathroom and a large lounge area.
- The Villa is a spacious, renovated house with wooden floors throughout. Along with two en-suite rooms there is a large lounge, dining room and separate kitchen, so The Villa can also be used on a self-catering basis.
- Tristano is a spacious twin bedroom decorated in pink, green and red, with an en-suite bathroom with shower.
- Isotta has a four-poster double bed and a small lounge area and is decorated in more neutral tones. It also has a small en-suite bathroom with shower.
The small flower-decked garden at Villa Margherita is bright, colourful and filled with birdlife. A lawn, with a water feature at its centre, leads to a covered seating area with comfy sofas and chairs, and a raised patio is a great spot to enjoy breakfast during the summer. On our most recent visit, in May 2016, the staff were very welcoming and offered us a drink, which we enjoyed in the garden.
Villa Margherita's hosts will also help to arrange all kinds of activities for guests, although they prefer to focus on the less commercial tours, and those that support conservation of local habitats – such as the day trip to Sandwich Harbour, or the half day trip kayaking with seals. Other options include sky-diving, and dune-boarding or quadbiking through the Namib Desert dunes. (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.) If you need a break after an exciting day outdoors, Villa Margherita also offers massage treatments in their small spa room.
Our viewVilla Margherita is a good upmarket choice for two or three nights in Swakopmund during a Namibia self-drive safari. With its cosy fireplaces and elegant staircases, it displays the unique charm of an old house – but tastefully peppered with modern furniture and artwork. Staff are exceptionally attentive and helpful, and spacious family rooms make it a good option for families.
Ideal length of stay: A stay of 2–3 nights is ideal to explore Swakopmund and partake in some of the many activities available.
Directions: Villa Margherita is set on the corner of Daniel Tjongarero Avenue and Otavi Street, in Swakopmund.
Accessible by: Self-drive
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 also serves lunch and dinner solely for its guests, focusing on local ingredients. From smoked salmon to oryx carpaccio to homemade pasta dishes, as well as fillet steak – 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 your meal.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10
Drinks included: Drinks are not included except for tea and coffee.
Further dining info: Yes
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Villa Margherita.
Property’s age restrictions: Children of all ages are welcome as long as they are kept under parental supervision.
Special activities & services: Babysitting can be arranged but note that babysitters are members of staff and not professionally trained childminders.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: The Nest and The Cottage are ideal for families and extra beds can be added on request.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: WiFi access is available throughout the property. Personal laptops are available on request. There is also good cellphone reception in Swakopmund.
TV & radio: Each suite is equipped with a flat-screen TV.
Water supply: Mains
Water supply notes: The tap water is suitable for drinking
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: There are doctors and hospitals in Swakopmund. Quadbike warning: Quadbiking is sometimes available as an activity 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 taking part. Be aware that some insurances cover quadbike 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's a safe for personal belongings in every room. Off-street and on-street parking for guests is available, and there is a security guard who keeps an eye on the parking area at night.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are available in all the main areas, as well as smoke detectors.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service available at an additional charge
Money: There is a safe in each room. Currency exchange is available in emergencies only.
Accepted payment on location: Cash payments may be made in Namibian dollars and South African rand. Most major credit cards are also accepted.