Constructing a lodge in the middle of the desert

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Milky Way, shooting star and Southern Cross. In Zannier Hotels Omaanda and Sonop, guests can expect an impressive spectacle in the starry sky

Overlooking the Namib Desert

Comprising ten luxury tents, Zannier Hotels Sonop has been cleverly constructed atop a group of boulders, affording spectacular 360o views of the Southern Namib desert. Arnaud Zannier’s inspiration for the hotel’s design was conceived during his very first trip to the site and first view from the top of the boulders. Arnaud recognised that he had been fortunate enough to discover somewhere very special, likening the feeling to an old explorer discovering a destination for the first time - hence the property was designed to resemble a 20th Century tented camp for explorers.

A logistics challenge

Built entirely on stilts connected through sturdy elevated wooden decks, Zannier Hotels Sonop’s tents are covered by an elegant canvas, designed to harmonise perfectly with the surrounding environment. Shaped in an oval formation facing out towards the spectacular landscape, the tents offer comfort to cater for today’s discerning travellers whilst also avoiding soil erosion and ensuring the preservation of the insects, fauna and flora that make up the Namibian desert dune ecosystem. Each tent has been devised to invite guests to live the life of intrepid explorers from the early 20th Century, whilst the materials and colour palette have been selected to complement the surrounding desert and blend into the boulders. Zannier Hotels Interior team only worked with natural textures and materials including dead wood, rocks, mud and thatch to ensure that nature remained at the forefront of the design. Not to mention, the spa that has been designed to resemble the rich traditions of the Owambo tribes in terms of its interiors, its construction and the materials used. The Owambo are admired for their respectful attitude towards nature – values that Zannier Hotels maintain.

Completely without a telescope or binoculars, up to 6.000 celestial bodies can be observed with the naked eye during one night. Guests of the Zannier Hotels Omaanda are spoilt for choice: thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows, travellers can experience the spectacle either from the luxurious refuge with an undisturbed view of nature, or from the "boma", an open fireplace where guests can gather together as the local tribes once did and watch the spectacle together in the sky. Those who wish to combine stargazing with wellness can watch the stars from the heated infinity pool, which guarantees an undisturbed view of the savannah.

Zannier Hotels Sonop also guarantees unique moments, because only from the Southern hemisphere can be spotted (with a little luck) the "Southern Cross", consisting of a total of four sparkling stars. Whether during a relaxing bath in the large bathtub or from the luxurious king-size bed. All ten oases, whose roofs are covered with canvas and thus create a special feel-good atmosphere, promise unique views of the endless Namib Desert thanks to the 360-degree panorama windows. Outdoor fans can enjoy an open-air cinema, a hot-air balloon ride or a late dinner in the dunes, of course always with spectacular views - star counting like in a picture book.

Construction of the platforms, beside the pool area (Jan 2019)

Zannier Hotels Sonop - A challenging construction

Night view of lodge

Drone view from the construction site

Zannier Hotels Sonop - Drone view from the construction site


Should you want to know more about the epic construction, to receive images or learn more about the offered experience at Zannier Hotels Sonop, feel free to contact Quentin GUIRAUD, Head of Communications: / +32 (0)472 05 57 19.