Namibian ­establishments shortlisted

05 October 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The shortlist for this year's Awards for Hospitality, Experience and Design (AHEAD) in Middle East and Africa have been announced and several hospitality destinations in Namibia have made it onto the list.

Among them are Habitas Namibia and the Zanier Hotels Sonop, which have been shortlisted under the category of Lodge Cabins and Tented Camps together with six other finalists from South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.

Namibia was also shortlisted under the category of Renovation, Restoration and Conservation. The Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge competes with three other finalists from Qatar, South Africa and Morocco.

The AHEAD Middle East and Africa awards give praise to outstanding hospitality establishments or projects that have been launched, opened or reopened between January last year and February this year.

Entries were initially organised into 15 categories which acknowledged from an establishment's guest rooms to its landscaping and outdoor spaces.

A shortlist was then composed by a judging panel of leading experts from the hospitality and hotel industry. This year it includes the design director of Hilton Worldwide, Leila Abdul Rahim and Pallavi Dean, founder of Studio Roar.

Located less than an hour's drive from Windhoek, Habitas Namibia is nestled high on a hilltop surrounded by a wildlife reserve of 50 000 hectares. The retreat was conceived as a new kind of safari camp where guests can experience not just the wildlife and surrounding savanna but also connect with local people and get to know their culture.

Zanier Hotels Sonop is a luxury tented lodge located in the Namib Desert in the //Karas Region on a 5 600 hectares property, while Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is situated within the Beyond Sossusvlei Private Desert Reserve, a vast 12 715-hectare expanse deep in the Namib.

Other projects on the shortlist include the Opus hotel in Dubai designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, which is set inside a cuboid glass building that is punctuated by an irregularly shaped void.

Also, on the shortlist is The Farmstead at Royal Malewane, an intimate lodge that looks out over the tree canopies of a national park in South Africa, and The Oberoi Marrakech, which is nestled amongst 28 acres.

This year – due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – the final stages of judging will take place over a series of video calls between 30 September and 1 October, where those on the panel reviewed projects one last time before deciding on their favourites from each category.

Winners will then be announced on 9 November at the awards' inaugural “hybrid” event, which will involve a digital screening for overseas audience members and a localised on-the-ground ceremony for people part of the AHEAD Middle East and Africa community.

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