I am torn between a 5 star and 3 star review. I guess, I could have went with a 4 star but one particular incident (which turned out okay) could have been a mess. The Windhoek Hilton is very cool; modern and not tacky. The lobby is bright with lots of clever little touches and well staffed.
Well staffed, as in plenty of people to help you out. All the staff were quite friendly and seemed to know what their own jobs were - general things and requests outside their own description seems to bring a little confusion though. I don't mean, requesting the elevator guy to give you a pedicure, but asking the person who clears the dishes for coffee was ineffective. That said, I find that happens quite a bit in Africa. (I'm a Canadian/American living in Botswana)
The rooms were great. Large, inviting, and CLEAN! For me, "clean" is the most important hotel adjective, and our rooms were spotless. Open concept with a separate toilet area, plenty of water pressure, big towels, and lots of amenities in case you forgot something. (razors, shaving cream, toothbrush, shoe mitt, etc. . . . My wife thought the lotion was pleasant smelling for what it's worth.
Food was good in the restaurant and our caipirinhia at the roof-top pool bar was perfect. (We have had some really bad drinks in Africa so this was a welcome treat.)
Okay, so why the 3 star review? Well, for starters, check-in was ridiculous. It was not busy at all yet took forever. Our reservation had been canceled for starters, and no one could explain why. I asked if they had rooms available, which they did, so I told them "no big deal" let's just check into some rooms they had available. There was lots of running around, and discussion, and running around, etc. . . After 15 minutes we were offered a seat and a drink which we declined and waited another ~10 minutes before finally receiving our rooms. I still am not sure what was happening. Just put your guests in a room, and figure out any problems you might be having afterward. (we had just driven up from Swakop and wanted to settle in and grab some lunch.)
Lunch was good enough, and guests ate for 130 bucks/buffet. We live in reasonably rural Bots and wanted to hit a mall, so down to get the car. They had parked it for me at check-in and handed me a ticket. We had no idea where it was though (I thought they were valet parking for me) They pointed out where the garage elevator was and down we go to the upper garage. Apparently, the upper garage is more love-nest than garage, as it was empty except for 2 amorous couples who appeared to be returning from a rendezvous - glad we weren't a couple minutes earlier. They directed us to the Lower Garage where we found our car. (the seats were not reclined so I took that as a good sign) The ticket we received would not let us out though the gate though. Time elapsed, add more money or something. We backed up and found someone to release us back into the wilds of Windhoek, and were off.
Okay, the biggest problem was on our check-out day. We were traveling with my parents who are pretty well-traveled - and I should add that they liked the hotel on the whole, and they're used to the Ritz/Mombo/and other 5 star fare. We kept having staff visit us before checking out. I think the housekeepers stopped by around 9:00AM - whatever, we told them we'd be checking out at 11:00AM. (Check out is noon) Then someone came by who wanted to check out mini-bar. Dude, leave us alone, come count when we're gone. It was the non-staff visitor that was disturbing. My parents were hanging out in their room and some dude in a military uniform just walks in. He was pulling a suitcase, so I assume he was trying to check into his room - but this should not happen. Things happen in hotel rooms that should not be disturbed - not in my parents' room I hope, but in other rooms. Or who knows, what if nobody was there and the entrant was a thief? What if my wife was alone and the person was unsavory? She might kick his a@@, but. . . I hope this is a rare event.
I realize that this could happen anywhere, but it should not. The staff appeared to be earnest and trying - they were friendly, but it seems like they need a layer of training on becoming capable on general help outside their exact job description. (I didn't mention the hot coffee at breakfast we requested didn't come until we were finishing up our breakfast - that was a long 3 minutes!) Great hotel, friendly staff, a little too rough around the edges (staff doesn't really seem to understand what a typical guest is looking for - assuming I know what a typical guest is looking for) - and they need to seriously work on their check-in/check-out procedures.
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