SWAKOPMUND, Sept. 7 – “Creating amazing experiences not only for our own people, but also for visitors to Namibia, as well as landing our country as a nation with immeasurable potential to deliver the best on the African continent, as well as the entire globe, are part of our main focus areas on this journey of contributing to building the economy of Namibia,” said Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group Executive Chairman, Sven Thieme following Strand Hotel Swakopmund’s recent award as a stand out in the hospitality industry on the African continent.
The Strand Hotel Swakopmund was recently awarded the Best Hotel Development accolade in the 2017 Africa Property Investment (API) Awards, for its innovative design and outstanding achievements in services. The awards were announced during the API Summit & Expo in Sandton, Johannesburg more than a week ago. Launched at this year’s Summit, the API Awards are aimed at providing a distinguished platform for developers, suppliers and owners in the African real estate industry to showcase their best projects and services from across sub-Saharan Africa; giving special recognition to the best that Africa has to offer.
Located in Namibia’s premier seaside resort of Swakopmund, the Strand Hotel has become a landmark in the area and a popular holiday destination, with its beach location and being close to the town’s amenities. The hotel is owned by O&L Leisure – a subsidiary of the O&L Group – with a strong and reputable portfolio consisting of the Exquisite Chobe Water Villas – an exclusive and intimate wildlife lodge located at the eastern tip of the famous Caprivi Strip; the ever popular Mokuti Etosha Lodge in the north of the country – a premier destination for foreign and local tourists seeking thrilling wildlife encounters at especially the globally known Etosha National Park area; the historic Midgard Country Estate, located to the west of the Namibia is popularly known as an ideal family hide-away, a first or last stop for international visitors, the perfect venue for intimate meetings, and popular for team-building events or weddings for guests from all over the country and beyond, and of course the award-winning Strand Hotel Swakopmund that opened doors about two years ago.
O&L Leisure Managing Director, Terence Makari: “For O&L Leisure, it is indeed humbling and satisfying to get such prestigious recognition. The Strand Hotel was developed to provide guests with an authentic and modern Swakopmund experience that’s gemütlich, entertaining and rejuvenating. It was part of the design objectives to create a hotel that is charming and welcoming as the town it is located in. This recognition illustrates that all the thinking brought in the detail of the design of the hotel was worth it, and contributed immensely to creating a unique sense of place. It is satisfying to note that it is being recognized on the continental stage and we remain indebted to all stakeholders involved during the design stage for their valuable contributions. Its location, design and offering sets the Strand Hotel Swakopmund apart from other establishments in the sector.”
WSP in Africa – one of the largest multi-disciplinary engineering consultancies on the continent – was commissioned by the developer to design the Rational Fire, piped services (gas/plumbing and drainage), mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning for the hotel. “The main objective of the system’s design was to contribute towards sustainable development by means of utilizing resource efficiency in the design, careful selection of equipment that can withstand the harsh corrosive environments and provide robust reliable operation. Plant and materials were also selected of a suitable quality to last for a design life span of between 20- and 25-years, without major refurbishment during this period.” said Peter Hodgkinson, Managing Director of WSP Building Services, in Africa. In a statement from API, the award panel also indicated that the design of the hotel met the requirements of the local heritage council and that it responds sensitively to the existing indigenous landscape – through a functional and contemporary design approach that provides a unique aesthetic.
CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), Gitta Paetzold: “An award of this nature speaks to the quality and high standards of tourism/hospitality infrastructure that Namibia is able to offer to its national and international guests – proving that Namibia as a destination compares very well with the quality experiences in the rest of the world. The Strand Hotel Swakopmund has been a special place since its inception, and I wish to take this back to its initial construction – the hotel having been one of the founding members of HAN in 1987, and having held a special place in Namibian hospitality all along. Being situated at the main public beach in Swakopmund, most Namibians have a sense of ownership of that space and place, which explains why the planning for the total reconstruction of the Strand Hotel after Independence was such a long and complex process. Everyone, including many members of the public and the Swakopmund Aesthetics Committee felt the need to contribute, comment and object to the various plans presented prior to construction – resulting in the final design speaking to the needs and expectations of the public, who were guaranteed continued access to the place and surrounding beach and promenade – and even more so, the multitude of services, niches and products offered within the hotel. The award is proof that this concept was well thought through and applied successfully, making the new Strand Hotel Swakopmund a magnet for local and foreign guests alike. HAN is extremely proud to count the Strand Hotel Swakopmund as a founding and existing member of the Association, as it is a role model of continued improvement, where warm hospitality and service excellence are the key pillars of the operation – something that HAN is keen to promote in Namibia as a whole.” – NDN Staffer