Reviews of Villa Margherita
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Good, bad and ugly at Villa Margherita
During our stay at Swakopmund we experienced highs and lows of our trip within one day. As for Villa Margherita, it provided comfortable lodging (well up to expectations for those seeking only a good night's sleep and a leisurely breakfast), but we experienced shortcomings in hospitality in other respects.
Villa Margherita is an old colonial house converted into a hotel with some charm, about 5 minutes walk from the town centre. We were allocated the “King” room - an enormous, generally well-equipped suite, which comprised a spacious en-suite double bedroom (though rather dimly lit), a second double bedroom and an adjoining lounge. Neither of the latter two rooms were needed or used by us, but we appreciated the gesture. There were other bedrooms within the main house, but we gained the impression that most fellow guests were using the more compact, modern rooms available in a recently built detached wing in the pleasant back garden. The hotel had been well modernized, providing, for example, free internet access to its guests, but, curiously, as described below, only rudimentary telephone facilities.
The hotel supervisor was welcoming. She turned out to be good with routine affairs, but either unimaginative or over-constrained by process when it came to matters of initiative. We gained our first inkling of this when we discussed our need to depart early on our first morning, in order to reach a kayaking rendezvous at Walvis Bay by 7.30am. She gave us to understand that it was impossible for us to take breakfast before 7am – even if this involved only cereal or other non-cooked food. We were not even offered a cold take-out. In the event, we took a chance, went down to the breakfast room at 6.45am and found a serving maid able to provide us with bread-rolls and a hot drink, which we bolted down before setting off at 7am.
We had a delightful day, kayaking among seals and dolphins in the morning, followed by an excursion to Sandwich Harbour in the afternoon. On our way back to the hotel from Walvis Bay, we stopped to take a look at Bird Island (a large artificial platform for collecting guano from resident pelicans, flamingo, seagulls and other birds.) This necessitated leaving the car unattended at a lonely parking area just above the beach, some 100m off the main road to Swakopmund. Our guard was down and we committed the cardinal sin of leaving our rucksack in the passenger compartment of the locked car. On return within 10 minutes, we found a rear window smashed and our belongings stolen. (We later learned that this location was notorious for such crime - with perpetrators hiding in the nearby dunes to await their opportunity).
Back at the hotel, minus ready cash and stolen cellphone, we needed phone facilities to report the car damage to the car-hire firm and to stop our stolen credit/debit cards. Our room had no telephone and we asked if we could use the hotel equipment to report our problems. The supervisor took us to a phone in the dining room, where we had to carry out the calls in the hearing of some dozen hotel-guests eating their dinner (an experience perhaps as irritating or uncomfortable for them as it was for us). She went off, but soon returned to hover over us with a long face and a silent wringing of hands – concerned, as it turned out, that we were making unexpected calls to the UK card companies, which she would have to account for. We reassured her, on completing our conversations, that we would pay for the calls, whereupon she left beaming. Subsequently, we were charged N$225, at N$15 per minute – the latter justifiable, perhaps, if the hotel had invested in a convenient phone system for its guests, but substantially over-priced when compared to the overseas call rates and relative privacy of public call-boxes just down the street.
Our experience of dining at the hotel was limited, though our second breakfast was fine. For our first evening we found that one had to choose from the dinner menu several hours in advance, in order (we were told) that fresh ingredients could be purchased. On this basis, Anni had an unremarkable vegetarian meal. I was still dealing with the mussels from Sossusvlei (discussed elsewhere), so ordered nothing and ate little. For our second evening, reluctant to engage with the choose-in-advance system and, in any case, tired with our experience of the dining room and its phone, we crossed the road to eat tasty, very reasonably priced food at a nearby Mexican restaurant, named Three Namigos.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa forwarded these travellers comments to Villa Margherita who thanked the guests for their feedback, and apologized that they did not like their room.
With regards to the early breakfast, staff at the hotel cannot work earlier than 06:30 since no taxis operate before then and the manager does not want the girls walking to work alone from the township. Therefore no staff are available for a 06:30 breakfast, but if guests wish to eat something slightly before 7, the hotel will do what they can to help.
Villa Margherita decided a while back not to have phones in the rooms, mainly due to the cost, but also because most travellers have a mobile with them. They therefore provide cordless phones and free internet, where guests are welcome to use skype.
Villa Margherita are sorry that the guests were not so keen on their food. The hotel buys their food freshly each day and so guests must order in advance. If they prefer, there is a choice of many restaurants within easy walking distance.
villa margherita - an oasis of tranquility
exceptionally warm welcome by beautifully friendly people. incredibly helpful and catered to all of our needs and desires (booking restaurants, early breakfast, laundry etc).
would highly recommend if travelling to swapomund.
Whilst here, we arranged a Walvis Bay Pelican Point kayaking excursion for these travellers. They commented:
kayaking with jeanne is a must.
a most magical experience which was a definite highlight of our holiday. Jeanne is an amazing, passionate, welcoming and enthusiastic host. highly, highly, highly recommend
The room was ok but there was no welcome basket of fruit nor any the next day either. Couldn't open the rather dirty blinds so had to have the light on all the time.
Felt it was a bit of a let down compared with what they sat about themselves.
A relaxing and comfortable place to stay to recover from our flight. Very friendly atmosphere. All staff extremely helpful and couldn't do enough for you.
Enjoyed private balcony overlooking garden.
Massage very good and helped recovery from flight.
Although tea/coffee provided on request at any time, it would have been nice to have had those facilities in the room. An excellent place to stay.
Villa Margherita review
We wish had chosen somewhere else, The location was so noisy as it is on cross roads. The room was unbearably hot, with no means of cooling it down, even some windows were stuck!! We asked for an electric fan to try to circulate the air, but the reply was no. The breakfast was very frugal.
The laundry service was quick, so quick everything came back as dirty as it was given in, and ironed but still very damp. It was rewashed without charge to us.
I would not recommend this guest house to any one. Unfortunately we did to some guests at Kipwe (taking Expert Africa advice to us) and they complained about the noise and unbearable stuffy room as well.
Expert Africa comments
One of the owners of Villa Margherita replied to us and was very upset by these travellers feedback, and that they did not enjoy their stay. They commented that the management/staff, plus Amelio (one of the owners), at Villa Margherita, spoke to the travellers everyday and they appeared quite happy, apart from the room’s temperature.
Expert Africa recommended Villa Margherita to these travellers and we are sorry that it did not suit them. We generally find the standards here are high and as such are happy to suggest it to our travellers.
Because there is a wide gap between how these travellers described their stay, and what the owners tell us about it – it makes it difficult for us to comment in any detail. Consequently, for the sake of balance, the owners have requested that we put up their comments verbatim, so please find their response here:
’tks for sending us the below report.
It goes without saying that the below comments are shocking also in consideration of the signed comments they left at Villa Margherita at departure i.e.
Appreciation of the room: too hot
Quality of breakfast: excellent
Quality of the dinner: excellent
Overall impression: average
the above was filled in and signed by the guests on the sheets we hand out at check-out while on our guestbook they wrote and signed : VERY GOOD
More in details I can report the following
room name : Queen
The guests stayed in the room called Queen (on the first floor) and were complaining about the absence of air-conditioning at the check-in but refused to change room (our staff offered them the Adam & Eve suite and the Honey Moon but they did not want to change)
The room they stayed in has, besides 1 small window that is on the street side, 2 large windows overlooking the garden/internal yard but they were apparently scared to open them (intruders may climb in at night?)....no window was or is stuck!
The above was noted on our records and besides the staff, my husband Amelio also talked to them every single morning during/right after breakfast
We admit that those few days of January were unexpectedly hot in Swakopmund and as a consequence standing powerful fans were ordered those days from Windhoek and are now available for any guest
breakfast: sorry to hear that our individually served breakfast was found frugal by them considering that as clearly mentioned on our breakfast menu, guests can have what they want and as much as they want among smoked salmon, eggs, fresh fruit salat, home made cakes & muffins, breads & jams, pancakes, mueslis, cornflakes, yogurth, etc...while the waitresses are going up & down with hams& cheese platters
dinner: they stayed with us for dinner 1 night, spending N$ 963.00 totally and leaving a comment like EXCELLENT, no problem was reported by the staff in the service and/or kitchen that evening
laundry: the guests complained and the garmets were rewashed nothing at all was charged to the guests for laundry service
staff: our staff is well instructed to NEVER SAY just NO, so for sure they apologized for that "strange" climate while offering them, as mentioned above, to change the room (the same as offered by my husband)
friends: the couple (Germans from Darmstadt) were recommended by the guests and came to Villa Margherita as walking-in guests and stayed the night of January 29th 2011 in the Adam&Eve suite commenting on our guest book as EXCELLENT and EXCELLENT was their comment on our separate check out sheet for all the points (except dinner since our kitchen was closed that night and they went out to another restaurant)
Villa Margherita review
Beautiful guest house. great room. Some problems with the food. We expressed our concerns to the owner.
We went to the Tug restaurant which was a brilliant experience.
Smart and stylish Villa Margherita
Very smart room. We had the Queen room and it was super stylish. The whole building has a lovely character.
Nice courtyard area.
Food was pretty good as a meat-eater, but poor for the veggie. He had to have pasta both nights and the second night was really bland - soggy gnocchi in white sauce (it should have been gorgonzola, but they either forgot to add it or ran out.
Staff were very nice.
First internet for guests on our trip that we were aware of.
Villa Margherita review
We loved Villa Margherita. Once again our expectations were quite low as we hadn't heard much about the place (we had wanted to stay at a couple of other properties but they were booked).
VM is relatively new and doesn't yet have the reviews that other places enjoy but it definitely will!! The location is terrific, just a couple of blocks away from downtown swakopmund where all the shopping, restaurants and services are located. The rooms are very comfortable, tastefully decorated and the in-room lap tops with web access are a godsend after a week in the wilderness.
The staff are very friendly and the owners are always available and extremely helpful. I would love to go back to swakop and would definitely stay here regardless of availability of any other hotels. Bravo to Elliot and Claudine!
Awesome dune ride...ask for Hermann
Villa Margherita---Good location to area amenities. Owners mingle with the guests during breakfast. On-street parking was initally a concern, but in the end not an issue. Internet service was appreciated. Great kitchen and ambiance in the dining area. Muti was especially accomodating.
The outside vendor (Mula/Mula (sp?) ) for activites was very cool. The boat ride in the morning was very cold and heavy jacket, gloves and hat were all appreciated. The bay was fogged-in most of the day, especially in the morning, but this was the luck of the draw. The boat dropped us off on shore for a Land Rover ride in the dunes (guide was Hermann and he was most excellent !) Once a few kilometers from shore the weather improved dramatically.
The lunch set-up in the dunes was probably the best overall lunch experience of the entire 2 1/2 week trip. Fresh oysters, game, pasta and champagne.....awesome!
Villa Margherita review
This was more like a small boutique hotel than a guesthouse, and the food was better than the local seafood restaurant we tried (The Tug).
The Italian flair for interior design and attention to detail made it quite a contrast to other places we stayed. Lovely breakfasts.
The Sandwich Harbour Tour was real highlight. The guide was absolutely fantastice, very knowledgable, relaxed and friendly.