A wink along with the necessary composure
The building contractors behind the hotel, Andre & Ockie Oosthuizen"We come in peace", the OJ Construction signboard proclaims at the building site where The Delight Swakopmund is taking shape. Between the dust and the noise passers-by can't help but smile.
"Swakopmund has its own little ecosystem as far as the building industry is concerned", says contractor Ockie Oosthuizen. "Then this project came up for tendering and we were invited. We knew that going to the coast can be a little tough. So we relied on a bit of dry humour and put up this signboard forthe local contractors.
"Ockie and a partner started OJ Construction in 2006. Five years later Ockie's brother André bought the partner's shares. Since then the brothers have made quite a few changes."When André joined we decided to change our marketing and make it more eye-catching and also more fun. When we put up a signboard there is meaning to it.
"Thanks to the smooth cooperation between all parties involved, construction work on the Gondwana Group's new hotel has progressed without any major delays since the start in June last year.
"There haven't really been any issues", André maintains. "Swakopmund's building regulations are basically the same as in Windhoek. And we find that the municipality in Swakopmund is very forthcoming and approachable."
The Delight Swakopmund is the Gondwana Group's first hotel in an urban area. For OJ Construction it is the first building project in Swakopmund. What prompted the brothers to submit a bid for the construction contract?
"Gondwana!" Ockie answers spontaneously. "Because of the background of Gondwana and the way the group has grown." To which André adds, "And they also make every corner of Namibia accessible to Namibians as well, instead of focusing on international tourists only. Giving Namibians the opportunity to visit any part of the country affordably was quite a nice initiative by Gondwana."
Currently it's all systems go to finish the hotel's entrance area with its massive windows. End of July is the deadline for what the brothers consider the most impressive part of the building ever since they first saw the architectural plan.
"It's a hotel but it's multidimensional, not a rectangular block. That's what interested me the most when I saw it for the first time. And the triple volume of the foyer is quite impressive. We hope it looks as good as the pictures when we finish building it," André jokes.
The Delight Swakopmund is scheduled to receive its first guests in November this year. And who knows, when the job is done the two contractors might treat themselves to a well-deserved break there. What are their expectations of the hotel?
"I think it's going to be a mixture between homely and modern", André believes. "The whole setup is not like a standard hotel where you walk down a corridor to get to your room. The rooms are accessible from the outside which is quite nice. It's going to be a completely different feel while staying there." And Ockie adds, "Everybody working at Gondwana has a smile on smile on their face and welcomes you. I think they choose their employees very well."
The Delight Swakopmund: further impressions by architect Sven-Erik Staby and interior decorators Fox & Browne.