Piercing angle grinders, hammering, workmen yelling and all manner of crashing, banging and thumping: the Strand Hotel has blighted Swakopmund's main swimming beach for seven long years. But now that messy reconstruction business is all behind us you can ask any Swakopumder if it was worth it and the answer will be a definitive yes.
From faded beauty, restored to and surpassing her former glory, the Strand Hotel is back in business and, with two more restaurants opening up shop in the interim, Swakopmund's main beach has never been more alive or attractive.
Occupying most of the breakwater responsible for the calm bay, the Strand Hotel is inches from the roaring Atlantic on all sides. Given a vigorous shake-up from its foundations all the way to its roof-top spa garden, this swish, swanky, modern hotel re-opened in October 2015 and all we can say is: what a comeback.
Per capita, Swakopmund must have more restaurants than any place on earth - we locals almost have one each - and along comes the re-opening of The Strand with five new dining options not to mention room service.
The Brewer & Butcher is clearly building on the Brauhaus and Kucki's success stories. A lively place to enjoy traditional Namibian food which is, by turn, influenced by German food so except jolly portions of Eisbein sidestepping trays of cascading bierkröge held aloft. The Welwitschia bar, lounge and terrace is equally pleasant in the middle of winter or those (ahem, rather rare it must be said) warm days as are the Farmhouse Deli and the Pavillion for a more informal munch-and-go deal. The Ocean Cellar is The Strand's signature restaurant and presents an exciting and much-needed quality seafood restaurant to balance out Swakopmund's meat-heavy palate. The sushi is excellent as are the oysters and, like all the eating options, you can see, hear, smell and even taste the sea. Or you can turn and face the show kitchen and enjoy that oh-so-soothing experience of watching a team of experts at work.
Rooms, spotless and tasteful, come in a variety of sizes and configurations, most of them sea-facing, and are equipped with the modern hotel's in-house conveniences like wi-fi, flat-screen telly, international plug points, air conditioning and, to be on the safe side you've got a mini-bar and room service. You get the impression they really want you to eat, drink and sleep well at the Strand Hotel. And so you shall.
Bed and breakfast accommodation in 125 rooms ranging from standard to presidential suite; en suite bathrooms all with showers; air conditioning; satellite TV; mini-bar; tea/coffee; safe; hairdryer; EU/UK/RSA plug-points; bar/lounge; two restaurants; micro-brewery; deli; cafe; spa and concierge desk
In addition to the beach beneath your feet and the many restaurants and cafes, Swakopmund is alive with options ranging from the cultured - museums, galleries, craft markets - to the natural - desert tours, marine safaris, kayaking with dolphins and seals, birding - to adventure sports - skydiving, paragliding, quad biking, deep sea fishing, shore fishing, surfing, sea kayaking, golf- this list goes on for quite some time.