Zannier Hotels opens rock-top property in Namib Desert
Arnaud Zannier’s inspiration for the design of the hotel was conceived during his very first visit to the site and his first view from the top of the blocks. Arnaud admitted that he had been fortunate enough to experience a very special place, comparing the feeling of an old explorer discovering a destination for the first time – which is why the property was designed to look like a 20e Tent camp of the century for explorers.
The construction process was difficult due to the hotel’s remote location and its protected environment. All building materials and interiors were transported manually over the huge boulders, by expert craftsmen from Namibia. Zannier Hotels used only a limited number of existing roads to the site, to ensure that human impact on the fragile flora is minimal. In addition, each piece of furniture, including twelve handcrafted 30 kg canopy beds, had to be transported by hand over boulders and boulders thus avoiding the use of disruptive machinery.
Built entirely on stilts connected by solid raised wooden decks, the tents at Zannier Hotels Sonop are covered with an elegant canvas, designed to blend in perfectly with the surrounding environment. Shaped in an oval formation facing the spectacular landscape, the tents provide comfort to meet today’s discerning travelers while preventing soil erosion and ensuring the preservation of the insects, fauna and flora that make up the Namibian Desert dune ecosystem.
Each tent has been designed to invite guests to experience the life of intrepid explorers of the turn of the 20th century, while the materials and color scheme have been selected to complement the surrounding desert and blend in with the rocks. The Zannier Hotels Interior team only worked with natural textures and materials, including dead wood, rocks, mud and thatch, to ensure that nature remains at the forefront of the design. . Not to mention that Sonop’s spa was designed to resemble the rich traditions of the Owambo tribes in terms of interiors, construction and materials used. The Owambo are admired for their respectful attitude towards nature, values ââthat the Zannier hotels uphold.
“Rather than buying new furniture, Zannier Hotels have made an effort to reuse as much as possible – preference has always been given to antiques.”
All tents have a large bedroom, a seating area and a separate bathroom with a large bathtub and a rain shower. The furnishings include dressing tables with ornate items, such as tiny flasks and antique combs. Plus, floor-to-ceiling windows allow guests to experience life in complete seclusion, immersed in the surrounding landscape. The bedrooms have handcrafted king size four poster beds, a spacious living room with comfortable armchairs and a telescope for viewing the distant surroundings or admiring Namibia’s Dark Sky Preserve.
With private terraces that extend out onto large wooden decks, the tents offer magnificent views of the desert. Rather than buying new furniture, Zannier hotels have made an effort to reuse as much as possible – preference has always been given to antiques. Zannier Hotels found over 550 antiques for Zannier Hotels Sonop, including binoculars, cards, mirrors, magnifying glasses, bedside tables, rugs, trunks, armchairs and picture frames, as well as unique adornments such only gramophones, 19e Explorer’s boots of the century, vintage trekking poles and historic helmets. All new furniture has been specially made from Namibian materials by local architects, carpenters and construction suppliers from Namibia.
Main image credit: Zannier Hotels / Oyen-Rodriguez