The story of the Hansa Hotel is a century in the making
Established in 1905 in the romantic town of Swakopmund, we’ve built our reputation on providing luxurious and sophisticated hospitality, complimented by the highest standard of friendly, personalized service. Today, the hotel is as synonymous with the town as the giant sand dunes of the great Namib desert that surrounds it.
This hotel is a place of enchantment where the social and private lives of the guests merge. People arrive, stay and depart to continue their journeys – they eat, drink and sleep… For a 100 years now, Hansa Hotel in Swakopmund – in the middle of the desert – has fascinated and attracted both illustrious and ordinary guests.
What is it about this hotel that has triggered the enthusiasm of so many people over such a long time? “This hotel has a soul,” says Stephan Wacker, the establishment’s manager with conviction.
The hotel – an oasis in the desert: This description is apt in the case of Swakopmund: It is an oasis, since – from whatever direction you approach it – you have to cross kilometers upon kilometers of dust, sand and rocks and you will long for a cheerful welcome at the end of the road. That’s when the Hansa Hotel opens its arms to you.
A 100 years ago on 5 July 1905, the master hairdresser Paul Miersch announced to his valued customers on a large advertising poster that “he would like to bring to the attention of the interested public” that he had moved his business to a new double storey building next to the Woermann Agency in the Schlucht Street opposite to the terminal.”
This new double-storey building turned out to have so many that Paul Miersch gladly rented some of them to travelers. And that’s when Hansa hotel was born. Afterwards the history of the hotel more or less disappears in the mist of time – temporarily.
With the appearance on the stage of the Rummel couple in 1954, the hotel once again emerged out of obscurity. With Sebastian a highly skilled chef and Elisabeth Rummel a talented interior decorator, the couple was responsible for the meteoric rise of its status as a luxury establishment. They created the unique atmosphere that still persists today and its fame spread far beyond the borders of the country. They renovated and expanded the establishment and laid the foundation for the strict standards that staff and management still set themselves today.
When they took over, the Rummels inherited a small hotel based on the “two-storey house” originally built by Paul Miersch. Although it had been expanded to include some neighbouring buildings and had been renovated and remodeled, the present day ‘Hansa Hotel’ was just a glimmer in the eyes of the Rummels. While Sebastian Rummel had planned the expansion and renovation, he died in a plane crash in 1968, just before his dreams could come to fruition.
But his wife Elisabeth realized those dreams for him. From 1970 onwards she ran the hotel together with her second husband Mr. Scheithauer.
With the hotel already a magnet for travelers from all over the world, it now truly reaped general acclaim.
This success story still today rests on two pillars: a carefully selected and professional staff that identifies intimately with the hotel and its guests as well as the excellent cuisine. The staff has remained – quite atypically – faithful to the Hansa Hotel over many years and considers it an honour to be able to work there. Management, in turn, is continuously concerned with training, follow-up training and advanced training.
A forty–year veteran, Reinhold Mertens (“Cheffie”), has placed his indelible stamp on the kitchen and the exquisite dishes it turned out. He has now found a worthy successor in Sven Höritzauer. Then and now, the principles that governed the preparation of the items on the by now famous menu remained the same – fresh and local ingredients.
The ‘soul of the hotel’ is in the final analysis the people that work there, not the furniture (no matter how tastefully selected) and they are the reason that guests from all over the world feel at home. At the ‘Hansa’ great value is placed on individuality and every room has its own décor as a result. Still, the overall ambience is clear: traditional elegance, cosmopolitan charm and classical luxury.
The name ‘Hansa Hotel’ is derived from the Old High-German word for group or team. It changed to ‘Hansa’ in the middle ages and became the common term after 1358 for a powerful association of German traders who traded with the rest of the world.
When Germany joined the colonial era of the European powers, ‘Hanse’ or ‘Hansa’ began to stand for a meeting place for travelers overseas, like the harbour or Swakopmund in the German colony of ‘German South West Africa’ – the colonial name for present day Namibia.