Conservation-led travel company &Beyond has announced grand plans for its rebuild of &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia. Situated in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, one of Southern Africa’s largest private conservation areas and the continent’s only Dark Sky Reserve, the lodge is set to become one of the world’s leading luxury desert escapes.
The updated design ethos pays homage to the surrounding untouched desert landscape and maximises the scenic opportunities for guests while leaving as light a footprint as possible. The new building will comprise a series of glass, rock and steel pavilions built to withstand the extreme elements while providing the ultimate in guest comfort.
Showcasing the splendour and solitude of the desert, ten beautifully-appointed suites will spread out along the curve of the escarpment. Complementing, rather than competing with, the landscape, the glass-fronted suites frame magnificent desert views, while serving as a sophisticated refuge from the harsh desert elements.
The bedrooms will be dramatically reconfigured to provide more space without increasing their physical footprint. Glass-to-ceiling windows enable views from every corner of the suite, while enlarged skylights over each bed allow guests to appreciate the night sky. Discrete music systems will cater for guests’ specific tastes, while a customised personal bar will offer a variety of refreshments, including ice cream. Each private veranda will be enlarged and reconfigured and will also allow more choice for private in-room dining.
The brand new Star Dune Suite will consist of two ensuite bedrooms linked by a communal guest area, complete with private lounge and dining area. Designed with families in mind, the Star Dunes Suite is complemented by a host of fun and interactive children’s activities.
Clever use of space will almost double the size of the lodge’s guest areas, where design elements will play on light and shadow. The silhouette of the guest area will be transformed using perforated steel structures that will let in dappled light and shade, creating a sense of privacy. A new gym and spa area will offer elevated views over the desert, with the spa boasting its own skylight. A central island bar made of massive slabs of local granite will bring new life to the heart of the guest area, while an interactive kitchen will inspire guests with the theatre of food.
Guests can choose from a selection of activities, ranging from the traditional bucket list desert adventures to the far more obscure and exclusive experiences that will take them beyond the expected. While day trips to the world-famous Sossusvlei dunes, Sesriem Canyon and Dead Vlei can be arranged, guests are encouraged to delve deeper into the desert experience to enjoy its solitude. Carefully-curated excursions highlight the area’s natural beauty and allow guests to explore on their own. From scenic nature drives, quadbike excursions, guided or non-guided walks and mountain biking, to hot air balloons (available at an additional cost) and hikes up to ancient San rock paintings, there are options to suit all ages and interests. A definite highlight is the dune ecology experience, which is guided by a specialist guide and showcases the small wonders of the desert.
The ultimate in desert luxury, each suite will boast its own private plunge pool, as well as a sophisticated water recycling system, which will recycle more than 100 000 litres of grey water a month, helping to offset the 50 000 litres of water that will evaporate from the pools each month. Each suite also acts as its own solar power plant, with discreet roof panels that power the air conditioning, water treatment and recycling systems. USD 600 000 has been invested in state-of-the-art sustainability initiatives, including the addition of a water bottling plant. By bottling water on site and using recycled glass bottles, the lodge saves a significant amount of CO2 per month, absorbing the carbon footprint of the delivery truck that used to bring in bottled water and eliminating more than 45 000 plastic water bottles. All cleaning products used at the lodge are environmentally-friendly and 100% biodegradable; the monthly energy and water usage are strictly monitored; and the lodge undergoes an annual sustainability audit to determine its environmental impact.
&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is currently closed and will reopen in mid-October 2019.