West Africa may not be considered the most popular of areas to explore – especially for those more interested in the safaris its Eastern and Southern regions have to offer – but one country in particular is proving to be the destination of choice for many first timers to the continent: Ghana.
In comparison with other countries in the region, torn apart by civil war and political unrest, Ghana has remained a symbol of hope for democracy and stability throughout Africa. Widely regarded as the friendliest of West Africans, Ghanaians are warm and cheerful by nature; their welcoming of foreigners is sincere and heart-felt.
For those of you visiting the nation’s capital, Accra, and preferring a more luxurious feel to your accommodation, there is no place better to reside than Villa Monticello. Relatively new compared to the other chain hotels which dominate the city skyline, after only 18 months of operation, this 14 suite boutique hotel proudly possesses a World Travel Award for Ghana’s Leading Hotel 2012.
The hotel exudes an aura of peace and tranquillity; a stylish and sophisticated haven tucked away in the exclusive residential area of Airport. Accra’s general vibe is one of endearing chaos (depending on your mood!) but upon entering the hotel, all is calm. A first for Ghana, this luxury boutique hotel boasts 14 individually themed and decorated suites; all equipped with iPod docking stations, Acqua di Parma toiletries (yes, in Ghana!) and Egyptian cotton sheets. Choose from the opulent blacks and pinks of Coco Chanel, or rustic burnt oranges and dark woody browns in Out of Africa. A stay here is to journey into an interior designer’s paradise.
As well as a restaurant, pool and gym, there is a ‘chill-out’ room where guests can watch TV on brand new plasma screens and lounge on the sofas. Oh, and did I mention the in-suite treatments? Guests have the luxury of choosing from a variety. Indulge in the exotic sounding Japanese Face Lift Massage, or opt for the more conventional Mani/Pedi combo.
The Koncierge service will organise tours for you in and outside of Accra, giving you the chance to sample the rich and vibrant culture outside of the hustle and bustle of city life. Braving the markets of Makola and Kaneshie require both stamina and an adventurous spirit. And, of course, having an air-conditioned SUV waiting for you, helps.
About an hour and a half’s drive North East of Accra is the beautiful township of Akosombo. Towering over the town are the rolling hills of the Akwapim and Togo ranges, which converge to form a narrow gorge. In this gorge a stunning luxury yacht is docked, The Ohemaa LXI.
Located at The Maritime Club, a wonderful restaurant with the view to match, this yacht is available for private charter on the magnificent Lake Volta. There is nothing more invigorating than the sensation of escaping. Aboard this yacht you can marvel at the wild hilly landscape and vibrant green vegetation this untouched region has to offer. Complete with an upper deck, kitchen, living room, dining area and three bedrooms, this is no ordinary yacht. A crew is also on hand with drinks and nibbles, eager to provide valuable local information on the area and all its charms. For an opportunity to escape Accra and enjoy the true beauty of Ghana, this is an experience not to be missed. Luxury and West Africa may not seem a likely pairing, but you’d be surprised.