The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: Heritage Council Approves New Plan for Swakop's Strand Hotel

OHLTHAVER & List's Strand Hotel project in Swakopmund is back on track after the National Heritage Council of Namibia approved the revised development plan, O&L Leisure said yesterday.

The ground-breaking will take place in July next year and the new 4-star, 135-room hotel will open its doors in April 2015, O&L Leisure said.

The project will provide jobs to 1 500 people. Once operational, the new Strand will directly employ between 147 and 155 people permanently.

"We are delighted with the positive reactions, from all quarters, to the plans, designs and schematics presented. Within a short period of only two weeks the revised Strand Hotel development secured approval and support from the Swakopmund Municipal Aesthetics Committee, the Swakopmunders themselves at the public scoping process and now the National Heritage Council of Namibia," O&L Leisure managing director Bruce Hutchison said.

O&L Leisure said it received "constructive suggestions and comments" during the public scoping."We have studied these carefully and will address them as we move forward entering a far more detailed design and planning phase than called for to date. As pointed out by the public, matters such as wheelchair access, public walkways, sight-lines and others are planned and will be incorporated into the final designs," Hutchison said.

The new design makes provision for three restaurants, three bars, numerous all-weather and outdoor terraces, a beach kiosk, retail space and conference rooms – all with direct public access from the Mole and without having to reach them via the hotel lobby.

"These facilities are designed primarily for the public and not only hotel residents," Hutchison said.

"This site on the Mole calls for a development which is there for all to enjoy and not only those staying in the hotel. These public facilities will be sculptured to welcome all residents in and visitors to Swakopmund."

To realise its vision, O&L Leisure has acquired the services of Roland Gaelens, world-renowned food and beverages conceptualiser from Belgium.

Whilst Gaelens' experience is world-wide, he has also gained "pertinent knowledge" throughout Southern Africa, Africa and the Indian Ocean region, O&L Leisure said. He has the "ability to tune into local tastes while clearly understanding how to blend these with what international visitors are looking for when visiting a country".

"We aim to immerse him in Namibian and Swakopmund history, culture, traditions, produce and supplies to ensure we get the food and beverage [F&B] aspect absolutely right.

This includes focusing the F&B outlets to provide what locals want and at prices they can afford," Hutchison said.

International developers Mirage Leisure & Development will be responsible for the new Strand Hotel, working with DHK Architects in South Africa and Erhard Roxin Architects in Swakopmund.

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