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LATITUDE 15 A TREASURE IN LUSAKA

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You know its summer in Sub-saharan Africa when you hear the shrill, jet engine-like cry of the cicada. The sun shines fiercely in the clear blue skies, the trees stand like pillars, unwavering, as their leaves in radiant shades of green, dance ever so slightly in the warm breeze. Amid the overarching branches, birds chirp away happily over a majestic ivory Mediterranean style building. Its large tan imperial style wooden doors wide open, beckoning you in to explore the mystery within its walls. The location is none other than Latitude 15 Degrees, a stylish contemporary getaway nestled in the quiet, upscale neighbourhood of Kabulonga in the city of Lusaka.7

Guests find themselves entranced by the splendid art and décor that is dotted around the hotel with impeccable attention to detail. The décor incorporates bespoke art pieces made from recycled elements and unique handcrafted furniture courtesy of the hotel’s CSR initiatives that empower local artists and craftsmen. Old house doors from Zanzibar recycled to serve as table, boat engines from Malawi torn apart to create wall ornaments and lamp stands; even old wine bottles and copper geysers are broken down to create the majestic chandeliers that grace the high ceilings of the building. No one piece is too distinct of any particular region of Africa, but it all comes together beautifully to create a unique Afrocentric multi-dimensional space.

A birdseye view of The Works

It all began on the shores of Lake Malawi where two savvy entrepreneur friends, Nick Brown and James Lightfoot, opened a lodge and later a hotel in Lilongwe, Latitude 13 Degrees. They saw the need for a hotel that rendered a more personal service to its customers as compared to large chain hotels, and so they pioneered this new brand of exclusively African, luxury boutique hotels. The hotel grew wildly popular and the duo set their sights on Lusaka. Latitude 15 Degrees which opened its doors in 2012 has enjoyed the same success as its sister hotel and has been cited by some travel journals as one of the best boutique hotels in Africa.

Latitude 15 Degrees recently expanded to include The Other Side; a private member’s club area that includes a lounge, bar area, restaurant, a gym with a personal trainer to assist you, a wellness spa and swimming pool.

The Other Side provides the perfect relaxation spot for members

“What is the other side you may ask; it is a novel experience with all aspects of life under one roof. It’s a totally new concept that we are proud to offer” Roberto Pellicia, CEO of Latitude Hotels Group Africa.

This section exudes luxury and exclusivity yet at the same time has an air of inclusiveness. It’s a place anyone can belong to and feel right at home. The arty vibe continues its run throughout this section, which includes a larger than life wall clock made out of old bits of car and truck engines. The space invites you to be socially interactive with comfortable oversized sofas in different colours and textures, and coffee tables that could also be mistaken as pieces of art.

“Business guests from different walks of life are often looking to set up businesses and contacts in Zambia during their visits. The Other Side gives them an opportunity to access a vast network of local and international professionals and entrepreneurs through our membership base. Guests essentially have their own private members club where they can entertain and be entertained, create collaborative partnerships, and experience a level of stylish social interaction that is unique in Lusaka” Nicholas Best, Group Commercial Director.

The Works is yet another addition; it’s an entrepreneur’s dream. The Workspaces include hot desks, single and multiple person private spaces, meeting rooms and event spaces. All of these spaces offer a range of memberships to suit the individual need; from one day to a couple of weeks, or even the full year. And because this is part of The Other Side Club, you get the added perks of access to all their facilities.

With two restaurants both offering unique dining experiences, one is definitely spoiled for choice. The main hotel restaurant is one of the best in the city with expertly prepared food presented with a lot of artistic flair.

“Anything prepared with love is always good. Everything is made in house and so is always fresh. I’m very versatile in my cooking style and enjoy embracing everything, so our food doesn’t have a specific category of cuisine it falls into”, Mwansa, Head chef.

Each room is fitted with modern décor

The menu has scrumptious offerings of aged rump steaks; Bourbon glazed pork ribs and grilled T-Bones among others that would satisfy any true meat lover. For something a little more exotic, dive into a Thai beef salad or Moroccan lamb tagine, but save room for dessert as they serve up an excellent cheesecake and a moreish chocolate fondant. And wash it all down with a glass of some of the finest wines the world has to offer. The restaurant at The Other Side, in line with it’s more interactive and social environment, offers a menu with tapas and mezze style dishes perfect for sharing over an informal meeting while you sit back in the large inviting sofas sipping on cocktails prepared by expert hands from the very well stocked bar. There are options for those who want something more substantial too, but sharing seems to be the underlying theme at The Club. You can also have your meal out on the wide patio, next to the lit pool with its hypnotising allure while a live band serenades you.

After all the working, eating and socialising you can retreat to one of the hotel’s 32 en-suite rooms, all equipped with air conditioning, Nespresso coffee machines, flat screen TVs, great WiFi, perfect for catching up with those back home, and a mini bar stocked with drinks and snacks. They also have a desk and a sofa, leaving you with a great space to settle and relax into. The rooms are lush and awash with light from the large floor to ceiling windows, the large bed dressed in crisp white linens and billowy duvets accented with plush throws and scatter cushions. A soak in the full sized bathtubs or maybe a shower is all you need to relax you before calling it a night.

If you are here on a long stay, the hotel also has three 2 bedroomed apartments with their own kitchens.

If you are looking for the ultimate authentic, immersive experience of African art, style and hospitality then look no further; Latitude 15 Degrees embodies all of the above and more. Be sure to look out for the Latitude experience in Kampala, Uganda, set to open next year, with future expansions set for other interesting cities across Africa.

Latitude 15 is found at 35F Leopard’s lane, Lusaka, and at

www.15.thelatitudehotels.com

DWAIN WHITAKER THE ARTIST

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