BACKGROUND: The first Latitude hotel was Latitude 13° Lilongwe, in Malawi, which was such a success the owners opened Latitude 15° Lusaka. Plans are now afoot to open more such boutique hotels in selected African cities. The accent is on personalised service, African authenticity in design and décor, excellent food and to provide effective and innovative business meeting space and facilities. Staff to guest ratio is high, so all areas of the hotel are immaculately clean and neat, plus service is attentive. Latitude 15° was a beautiful old home that was remodelled and transformed by the addition of carefully designed buildings.
WHERE IS IT? Set in the prestigious, safe suburb of Kabulonga – which sports fine homes in large yards, as well as several embassies – Latitude 15° is an easy 30 minutes by taxi from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and 20 minutes from Lusaka centre. A safe car park, beneath a row of trees, is available for self-drive guests and their visitors.
ROOM FACILITIES: Latitude 15° Lusaka comprises 32 stylish rooms, two suites with large balconies overlooking one of the swimming pools, plus three two-bedroom suites, with their own kitchen facilities for families or long-term guests. Superior rooms – located in an area called The Other Side – have a garden view from a terrace with a table and chairs. Standard rooms also have a garden view. All rooms are brightly sunlit, spacious, uniquely painted and decorated with fine fabrics, curated original art works, zany photographs and hand-made lampshades. The bathroom is an experience in itself, with a stone bath sporting ultra-modern taps, a shower with eco-rain showerheads, Italian design toilet and the fluffy, new towels you would expect in a hotel that pays great attention to detail. The top quality amenities have a pleasant fragrance. A flat-screen TV, mini-bar with complementary still and sparkling water, tea and Nespresso pod coffee and a kettle are provided. Lighting in the room is interesting and can be business-like or romantic.
RESTAURANTS & BARS: Each side of the hotel has its own separately-run restaurant and bar. More formal, The Latitude restaurant is quiet and discreet for fine dining. The bar is well stocked with a variety of international brands. Glasses are good quality, to enhance drinking pleasure. The Other Side is more young and hip, with experimental cocktails and live music on Wednesday nights, or DJs over the weekend. Tapas-style food is available and is great for sharing.
BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: The Other Side has a novel approach to business, with THE WORKS area of four meeting rooms, offices – with glass walls, so sound proof, but giving a feel of being part of a working community – hot desks with perch plugs, plus a lounge area, all with wi-fi. Whether you need space for corporate brainstorming, signing a deal or a business dinner, it will be organised for you. These facilities are available to guests at a fee. Outside business people may join a private club to use them.
LEISURE FACILITIES: In front of the main lounge is an area overlooking a swimming pool – which has a length suitable for a few laps before breakfast – where umbrellas shade wooden tables and chairs. Guests dine here from The Latitude restaurant, have an evening drink, or laze on the wooden loungers in the Zambian sunshine. The Other Side also has a swimming pool, in front of a spa and gym. The spa offers massage and facial treatments in private rooms, or manicures and pedicures in a shared space. The gym has floor-to-ceiling windows onto a small courtyard and a range of new equipment for cardio and strength training. Personal trainers are available – for all levels of fitness – should you need one. Entertainment includes TED-style talks, art exhibitions and workshops, all designed to be stimulating and enriching.
VERDICT: With its progressive architecture, quirky décor, and well-designed trendy rooms, Latitude 15° may be the prime location in Lusaka for business people or holidaymakers. I highly recommend this artistic and creative, but functional place. C