Windhoek, Namibia's modern, German-influenced capital city, often catches visitors by surprise with its orderliness. Despite being less chaotic than other African cities, it's still more pleasant to stay a bit out of the action - which makes Am Weinberg, in the upmarket suburb of Klein Windhoek about a 10-minute drive from the city, an excellent option. Open since October 2018, it's a light-filled, Hamptons-style property, with 41 courtyard and loft rooms, two very good restaurants, a slick outdoor pool and a day spa. It's set on Am Weinberg Estate, an "exclusive lifestyle development" of luxury villas and terrace houses available to rent or buy, that sits on the hill behind the hotel.
On the slopes of Roman Hill, off to the east of the city centre, Am Weinberg has views over the valley below and the mountains beyond. It's also closer than most other hotels to the international airport, a 30-minute drive away.
With its white timber-clad exterior and navy and white-striped awnings, Am Weinberg wouldn't be out of place in the Hamptons, bringing a fresh, breezy look to an otherwise mostly utilitarian-looking city. The light-filled lobby opens onto a courtyard with fountains and lounges set beneath black-and-white striped umbrellas. A wine lounge and library also flows off the courtyard, where brown leather chesterfield lounges, a marble fireplace and bookshelves bring a club feel. There's a lovely outdoor pool on the first floor and the Soulstice Day Spa, offering everything from facials and Indian head massages, to deep tissue massages and body exfoliations, as well as a floatation pool, steam room and Middle Eastern Rasul mud chamber. The chic rooftop Sky Bar is perfect for sunset cocktails.
I'm staying in a "courtyard fountain" room, which offers the perfect amount of space for my pre-flight night in Windhoek. Plenty of light pours in from the double french doors that open onto the central courtyard; the only problem is that if you don't want other guests peering into your room, you need to pull the heavy drapes closed. For more privacy, request an upstairs "courtyard view" room, or a double-storey loft room, ideal for families. My room is fresh and modern, with bare floorboards, dove grey walls with white trimmings, a large arched Hamptons-style mirror that hides the flat-screen TV, a queen bed strewn with tropical print cushions, and arresting photographs of Namibia's landscapes. The large bathroom has a rain shower, and luxurious Charlotte Rhys products from Cape Town.
I have breakfast in the Library restaurant, surrounded by bookshelves, old maps of Windhoek and antiques including an old-timey typewriter. There are crumpets, croque madames and a full English breakfast to choose from, but I go for a hearty vegetarian omelette, with fresh fruit and a very good soy latte. Library is open all day for relaxed lunches and dinners, and Delicatessen next door serves cured meats, local and imported cheeses, homemade pies, pastries and sandwiches. Cape Town Fish Market restaurant, one of about branches across south-east Africa, is also part of the hotel complex, and I head there for dinner. The atmosphere is lively, the menu mostly local seafood with a Japanese bent – I have a delicious smoked salmon trout salad with edamame, butter beans, broccoli, chilli, avocado and teriyaki dressing, and some salmon nigiri sushi, washed down with a glass of South African pinotage from Am Weinberg's extensive cellar.
For gift shopping, head straight to the Namibia Crafts Centre off Windhoek's main drag, Independence Avenue, where more than 30 stalls sell textiles, woven baskets, beaded jewellery and more. Head to local favourite Joe's Beerhouse, a boisterous restaurant decorated with ropes and kudu skulls, to drink craft beer and eat game including oryx carpaccio and zebra steak. If you're keen for live music, hit up Warehouse Theatre, the centre of Namibia's arts scene.
Effortlessly cosy and inviting, Am Weinberg is a slick addition to Windhoek's accommodation scene. With its own restaurants and bars, a pool and a fantastic day spa, it's a difficult place to leave.
Rooms from about $237 a night. See amweinberghotel.africa
The Hamptons-style design and the polished, unobtrusive service.
Having other guests walk right past your french glass doors can make courtyard rooms feel quite exposed.
Nina Karnikowski stayed as a guest of Bench Africa.