Everybody knows that I love all things Olive, so when I was asked to visit and review a lodge in Windhoek Namibia called the Olive Exclusive, I didn’t need much convincing. For 24 hours of driving all the way from Plettenberg Bay to Windhoek, I dreamt of olive scented soaps, olive patterned sheets, olive inspired decor overlooking olive groves and bowls of olives to be tasted. On arrival however, my expectations were far out-classed.
We did get an olive grove, as for the rest, their version was eons better than my tacky olive themed dreamworld. In fact The Olive Exclusive All-Suite Hotel and Olive Guesthouse has hit the nail of originality on the head and the result is a lodge dressed in raw inspiration and photographic genius.
As we were shown down a long stone staircase to the Etosha Suite, over looking the olive grove, I made a mental note to go easy on the wine at dinner so as to avoid any trip-spoiling injuries on my first night. On entering the suite however, I decided that I would quite rather spend the entire evening soaking up its detail and try out every corner of the opulent ninety plus square metre room (or rooms). Each of the Suites at the Olive Exclusive are inspired by the all the main regions in Namibia namely: Etosha, Erongo, Caprivi, Benguela, Otavi, Namib and Kunene. The interior design of the suites and the main lodge and restaurant were done by Mickey Hoyle, who is in fact more of a famous photographer than an interior designer. He did this one for fun. If only I could create such magnificence while having fun, I’d probably be far wealthier than I am today.
Inspired by his emotive and dramatic photography each room takes it’s lead from floor to wall images that have been converted into wallpaper. Raw materials and strong fabrics represent the colours and textures of each of these regions, transporting you to another place as you lie back on the sofa or in the huge tub. Accents of colour and hints of glamour remind you that you are in fact relaxing in a five-star suite or if you are on a work trip, sitting at the conveniently provided laptop with wifi in the room. I was lucky enough to be shown around to most of their premier suites and no two are alike. I loved the blends of leather and wood with stone and black and white photography throughout the main lodge and wished I could have stayed a week.
Dinner at the Olive Exclusive’s restaurant was equally impressive and we enjoyed a range of delightful seasonal dishes. The slow roasted shoulder of lamb on puff pastry with fig and brandy cream took centre stage as did the apple cake with cripsy bacon, avo and scrambled eggs at breakfast.
On my return trip through Windhoek I was invited back but this time to stay in the executive suite at the Olive Guesthouse, their other property which is next door and smaller, but just as delightful. Screed walls, floors and bathrooms are highlighted with soft stone-coloured furnishings.
Owned by Big-Sky Lodges, the Olive Exclusive and Olive Guesthouse are all held together by Roger Fussell and his efficient, friendly compliment of staff. They made me feel instantly at ease, yet still with a five-star touch. Travel and Leisure magazine voted them as one of the best new hotels in the world, and while I haven’t yet travelled the world, I can certainly agree that the Olive Exclusive experience is a marvelous one.