Majestic Namibia

We are proud to call this majestic country part of the launch and The Villa Margherita part of our family of boutique hotels.

Villa Margherita offers exquisite accommodation for connoisseurs looking for a truly remarkable retreat in Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast of Namibia. This beach retreat town has German colonial architecture. Villa Margherita has been completely renovated and refurbished by owners Claudine and Amelio, before opening for guests in March 2008. Unique offerings include an organic bistro open throughout the day, spa massages and laptops and DVDs for guests’ enjoyment.

Nambia Highlights:
Namibia has the largest canyon in Africa (second largest in the world) called Fish River Canyon, the largest population of cheetahs on earth and the only known desert elephants, which adapted to desert conditions. Namibia has one of the lowest population densities of persons per square kilometer, which creates a sense of untouched wilderness conditions. Adventure seekers and photographers alike flock to some of the world’s highest sand dunes which are one of the main attractions in Namibia.’s Special Places: Ibo Island Lodge

Where: Located in Northern Mozambique in the Quirimbas Archipelago, Ibo Island is like taking a step back in time. The island itself has several hundred residents who live peacefully, mostly in one main village. Access to the lodge is a short 15 minute flight by small plane to the island. There are several historic forts on the island, and a short walking tour is the best way to learn about the history and importance of this island.

When: Ibo Island Lodge, consisting of three historic villas lovingly transformed into a beautiful boutique hotel, is an ideal first stop on an African itinerary. The pools and atmosphere of the island are supremely relaxing, and it’s a perfect first step into Africa. Relax after a long international flight, learn a bit about a unique culture and spend some time in the Indian Ocean before heading off on safari. Direct flights from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania into Pemba, Mozambique make this an easy combination with East Africa’s safari game parks.

Who: Ibo Island Lodge is for travelers who want to really feel like they are in Africa… not the Caribbean, Hawaii or any other nameless beach destination. History oozes from the walls at Ibo Island Lodge, and no two days or experiences are the same. Travelers can make a plan that suits their desires and activities are abundant.

Learn more about this very special place online here.’s Special Places: Delta Camp

Where: The world-famous Okavango Delta is the home of this Special Place- Delta Camp is set on the Boro and Metsematsweu channels of the Okavango. What differentiates this place is their personalized safari experience and unique offerings. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world where “dry land and wetland species cohabit, creating unique and startling associations of plants, amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles.” Big game is also found in the area, depending on water levels, such as elephant, leopard, cape buffalo, wildebeast, hippo and crocodile. We can thank the hippo for their engineering of the water-ways through the thick marsh and flood-plains.

What: Delta Camp offers twice-daily walking safaris and mokoro (handmade dugout canoes) excursions through the Moremi Game Reserve. Your comfortable chalet is en suite with hot and cold running water, a shower with a view, multiple areas in which to relax, mosquito netting and solar-powered electric lighting. You will not go hungry here. You can look forward to 4 meals a day – early breakfast before the morning drives, huge brunch, mid afternoon tea before the afternoon water excursions, and magnificent dinners flanked by cocktails and after-dinner drinks around the bonfire. And of course, we can’t forget the “sundowners” which is African cocktail hour held enroute during the afternoon excursions as the sun is setting on the Delta. Can you say spoiled?

Who: What makes your experience unique is the one-on-one approach of having your own private guide independent of other guests. You get to plan your day and don’t have to fit into a set schedule while at Delta Camp. These guides have a lifetime of experience living in the Okavango Delta and are well known for having eyes like a hawk or should we say African Eagle? Your guide will accompany you on all your excursions and introduce you to the dynamic ecosystems of the Okavango. Another offering that makes Delta Camp a Special Place is the opportunity for a 2-8 night extended, fully serviced and catered camping expedition by dug-out into the further reaches of the Okavango. Imagine feeling like you are in the middle of nowhere but with plenty of pampering from guides and camp hands? If you would rather stay closer to the lodge, you can’t top the Delta Camp treehouse. Pun intended!’s Special Places: El Pedral Lodge

What: We know we need to ‘wow’ the follower with our first Latin America property we are featuring. This Special Place is a destination some could only picture in their wildest dreams much less visit. El Pedral Lodge is the ultimate utopia for the adventure traveler or someone who wants to get away from it all. The lodge could be described as simple elegance, which doesn’t try to compete with the natural beauty and marine wildlife you will experience being here.

Where: El Pedral is located on Punta Ninfas on the Patagonian coast in Argentina. This Norman style house was built in the 19th century has been in the family for four generations. As the owners of the lodge tell us “It’s name comes from a very special formation, a large area covered by stones which ends in the sea framed by spectacular cliffs.” This is a relaxed, sophisticated and authentic place is the quintessential boutique destination. We love this place for the “harmony between man and nature.”

Who: Those who wish to be submerged in Patagonian life will discover the magic of this place. It has the ‘best seats in the house’ on Peninsula Valdes for whale watching and the whales will sing you to sleep at night. Almost as if on cue, a pod of killer whales will appear near the beaches for your observation and marvel. Sea lions will delight you with their curiosity and playfulness. Elephant seals and penguins are also a part of the spectacle, which is accessible from the lodge.

When: The activities are plentiful and vary depending on what time you visit. August and September you can watch as the Southern Right Whales swim very close to the beach for mating and birthing. In November, March and April, Orcas are known to be searching for prey. They will amaze you as they come flying onto the beach to hunt sea lions then retreat back into the water. September through March visitors can tour the Penguin Rockery, which has been growing since 2009 and is protected as a Punta Ninfas Wildlife Natural Shelter. This is just a handful of the activities El Pedral offers.

For more information on El Pedral Lodge click here:
El Pedral Lodge

Fire up the “Combinator”

Have you ever been contacted by one of your top clients wanting to book a customized exotic luxury trip for her family of five to East Africa during high season? And they want to leave in less than a month?

On the one hand, amazing! A $30,000 booking just fell in your lap! But you have to move fast and the idea of being able to pull this together in enough time for your clients seems pretty daunting.

So where do you start? You obviously have dates and places these people want to visit, but how will you ever find out what hotels have inventory during high season? Forget it, this may be an impossible feat.

The team at isn’t a stranger to these issues. Co-founders Sarah and Maisa have worked for years watching tour operators, hotels and travel agents scramble and work long hours, puzzle-piecing complicated FIT itineraries together. They knew there had to be a better way. was created specifically for these types of trips. Thanks to the platform’s patented multi-hotel search process, booking agents have a much simpler and faster method to view availability, quote SPECIFIC hotels and book these special hotels online. allows agents to search for hotels with availability in multiple regions, cities, hotels…the works, all in a combined space. Additionally, it provides an easy marketplace for agents, operators and DMC’s to connect to hotels, all while maintaining valued distribution channels.

Now, instead of travel companies having to call or email hotels directly or checking a number of random URLs and websites, agents can view ALL hotel availability in one place. And since it’s, it is the best of the best inventory.  We are currently testing the “ Combinator” in Africa and will be rolling out in Latin America very soon.

We are thrilled to share this groundbreaking technology and would love to hear from you.  Tell us what you think!

We welcome hotels and travel agents, tour operators, travel wholesalers to sign up for a FREE beta invitation here:

Interview with co-founder of Maisa Fernandez

An interview with Maisa Fernandez – Co-founder and Director of Distribution for

How did you dream up started as Sarah Fazendin’s brainchild about a year and a half ago. It looked totally different then.

Because we were looking at Africa as our Launchpad, and Sarah and I have worked for over two combined decades within Africa, we understood packaging is the main way consumers book safaris. There are so many elements involved in planning a safari because there are park and reserve fees to consider, additional costs of safari vehicles due to group sizes or young families, lodge-to-lodge transfers – in the end, we understand operators are a critical component in the area and we understand that the current lodge-to-operator itinerary and booking environment is very convoluted, complex and horribly time consuming. We wanted to offer up a good solution.

After we discussed the model in detail, we felt it made sense to create a B2B reservations platform that would help the distributors work seamlessly with the hoteliers, while solving a huge issue for boutique hoteliers – providing live, web-based reservations to buyers and encourage an all-in-one marketplace for both distributors and hoteliers to manage their inventory, guests and payments. Once we discussed this option in detail, we knew were on to something.

Tell us more about your background:

I’ve been working in tourism almost 16 years now. I started my career at Carlson Companies, Inc. in 1998 where I led the communications department for the Carlson Wagonlit Travel franchise division. I moved on to Public Relations for the world-renowned franchise in 2000. Then at the end of 2001, I decided to begin consulting for the public sector within Carlson Destination Marketing Services (CDMS), where I represented some of the most powerful tourism boards in the world, including: The Kenya Tourist Board, PromPeru, Singapore Tourism Board, Nepal Tourism Board, The China National Tourist Office, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, The Northern Territory of Australia and others.

Several months after initiating the merger between CDMS and Myriad, I decided to leave public sector work for the private sector. In 2010, I founded IMPACT Tourism where I have to this day been able to represent some of the finest boutique experiences in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The concept of being able to branch out to the technological travel space has been something I have wanted to do for quite some time. I am excited about the upcoming opportunities will offer the travel community.

Which professionals do you admire?

Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber is someone I have been watching. For those who may not know, catching a cab in SFO is a nightmare, and Uber has been alleviating the stress of getting a safe ride in the city and soon, we hope, across the nation. I am watching their expansion closely. They have really managed to “dumb down” the transportation crisis some select cities suffer from. He is disrupting the transportation space to a well-needed halt!

I must also mention Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairwoman of Carlson Companies, Inc. Marilyn has always had an amazing business savvy that is exuded through a no-nonsense, strong-minded yet thoughtful leadership-style. I was lucky enough to work with her on several occasions and she is bar-none the leader I admire most in both tourism and business.

What makes different?

I could go on here, but for the sake of expediency, I will just say that stands to become one of the most flexible and easy-to-use reservations solutions the industry will ever see. We believe this to be true not only for boutique hotels, but for the industry as a whole. I have no doubt that will become the new benchmark for distribution systems in the marketplace, one that will ease the booking process for all involved in an aggressively cost-effective manner. We have an amazing, young team, we are nimble, creative, we know the issues (all too well), and we want to see the boutique industry grow. We are working hard and fast to offer up one hell of a reservations solution that will be hard to ignore.

Where did the name come from?

Our plan for has always been to be a Global Interface.

We felt we needed to keep it simple. Globa.lI came naturally out of the words “Global Interface”.

What is your biggest challenge?

Right now for it is just making sure we gain enough feedback from our test users to ensure we have a stone-solid product. Every day brings on a new challenge, but in truth, the only thing we care about is getting it right. With Sarah and my knowledge of the industry, we think we are covering all areas necessary to create a fundamentally necessary platform for distributors worldwide. But there are times we can miss things, so this is a very critical stage for us in or build-out.

Also, we are starting small, specifically in Africa focusing on the North American market, but we have some aggressive plans to move into other emerging markets directly after launch, as well as have the platform available in other languages and currencies. We have a long list of hoteliers ready to sign on in other emerging markets now, but we want to test in Africa first, since we are aware this is the most challenging, when it comes to itinerary building. Staying focused is important in these initial stages, but it is always tempting to stray away from that focus. Sarah helps me there.

What stresses you out?

Actually, at this stage in my career, not much. If I had to pinpoint something that makes me most anxious though, it would be that which I don’t understand, haven’t thought through, or situations I fail to predict that worry me most. I like knowing as much as possible about an issue before I jump in, so I find I can be a bit more tentative and hesitant to make big decisions than say Sarah can. She is more of a risk taker than I am. I wish I had her tenacity.

What is your favorite place you’ve ever been?

Lamu, Kenya. Its easily the most mysterious and exotic place I have ever been. It crawled in my heart the minute I landed there. I’ve been about four times and every time I go back, I find something new on the island. Its magical.

What is your favorite part of the day on safari?

I always love the evenings. It is a chance to reflect on the days events, sit by a campfire and connect with new people. Being on safari is often a very introspective time for me. Therefore, engaging with people over a glass of wine at a fire is nice. But there honestly is nothing like crawling into bed every night to find a warm hot-water bottle and a warm blanket to pull over yourself as you feel the chilly damp air. There is something very cozy and thrilling about being semi exposed to the elements.

Where is the next place you want to travel?

I have always wanted to visit Jordan and the Middle East. Those are next on my target list, but I rarely travel for pleasure. I travel enough for work as it is, so when I take a holiday, I stay home. It’s bliss.

Any last thoughts-

I am just excited to be in this position today. We’ve had immense support from everyone we have been working with thus far. I am hopeful people find useful and a value to their business. I think this is as best a time as any to let the readers know our doors are open for brainstorming, partnership, sharing, whatever. Sarah and I are of the mindset that cooperation leads to intelligent “coopetition”, which makes us all better in the end.

An interview with Sarah Fazendin: Co-Founder of

How did you dream up

For 10 years my co-founder and I were working to market hotels to safari operators and increasingly noticed the way that business transactions took place was super inefficient. Not only were travellers not able to book online but also the amount of emails among travel agents and the whole process was massively inefficient. We wanted to make it more efficient.

Tell us more about your background:

In 2001 I was working for the Tourism Board of Kenya and I took my first trip to Africa. Like many people on their first trip to Africa, I fell in love and was committed for life. I’ve spent the last 13 years traveling Africa and while there I make time to listen to hotel owners and their concerns. Through those conversations over a glass of wine, I collected valuable insights from hotels looking to sell their amazing experiences. I realized there was a really special opportunity.

What makes different?

When people think about where technology is going in the travel industry, the logical route is always having consumers book everything online. In emerging markets this is more complicated because travellers need a bit more help and support along the booking path.

We are creating B2B technology, which supports, strengthens and grows distribution partnerships, which is what makes unique. We are the first company to go in and digitize hotel inventory, focusing on boutique hotels in exotic destinations, to enable distributors to more easily book these rooms.

Where did the name come from?

(Laughing) We were trying to find a cool URL that wasn’t taken. We wanted our company to reflect the mind set of experiential travellers thinking globally. Our customer is not going to New York for spring break they are going to Bali. Our brand is truly global exploration and that is why we liked the name.

What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is something we are challenging ourselves with- developing technology for the best user experience possible. We want to create tools, both the software itself as well as mobile applications, for hotels and help with the business challenges they face.

What stresses you out?

Travel is a super complicated industry. Nothing is linear and there are a lot of players and opportunities. My head hurts at the end of the day thinking about how can we streamline such a complicated industry, with lots of layers and cooks in the kitchen.

How can we make this as simple and intuitive as possible when the industry is anything but?

Which professionals do you admire?

As I mentioned, over the years I have had the opportunity to interact with countless small hotel owners across Africa. These small business owners are some of the people I admire most. These boutique hotel owners have dedicated their lives to a lifestyle and destination that is meaningful to them. These people have not only built something amazing, out of nothing, often in a remote and harsh part of the world. But they also are quietly working to support conservation, enable healthy and sustainable local communities and are certainly not in the business for fame or fortune. They are committed to a personal vision, and this is what drives them through the inevitable highs and lows of the travel industry.

Where is your favorite place you’ve ever been?

That’s a tough question. I would have to say Masai Mara in Kenya- it’s where I go for personal (non-work related) safaris. I’ve shared that experience with friends and family and hopefully next summer my kids. It’s a very cool and special place for me.

What is your favorite part of the day on safari?

Without a doubt, the evening Sundowner.

Where is the next place you want to travel?

There are so many places- for some reason beaches are on my mind. Lamu in Kenya and the Seychelles are definitely on my list.

Any last thoughts-

Hotels and travel agents/tour operators can register now for a Beta invite on our site here:

Tech fatigue in travel.

Most boutique hotels survive on about 40% occupancy. While we know this to be true in places like Africa and Latin America, I’ve been surprised to learn when citing this statistic in Telluride, Colorado (where we’re participating in a fantastic accelerator program) the immediate response from any local is, “yep and that is the same here in Telluride.”

I can’t think of many other industries where 40% would be considered great. Except maybe predicting the weather and venture capital (ha!).

The fact is this is a LOT of empty hotel beds sitting empty every night across the globe. We are sitting on the edge of massive innovation in travel distribution. While large hotel chains become more sophisticated and dialed into big data trends, it’s almost as if the boutique hotel sector of the industry are moving in completely the opposite direction.

We’re betting that the next big advance in travel technology – the advance that is going to drive the next billion dollars – isn’t highly sophisticated technology. It’s stupidly simple and focused on selling the 60% of boutique hotel rooms sitting empty each night. This is just way too much money being left on the table to avoid focus for much longer.

What do you think is the future of travel technology for boutique hotels? Leave a comment or let us know what you think on Twitter (@askglobali.)

And boutique hotels… apply for a Beta invite for today. helps you manage reservations, connect with trade partners, increase occupancy and be more efficient. Net result? We’ll help you fill those empty beds.