Can you afford to have a drink at the Hilton Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia?
No… is the answer given by most local people. Even those with a little money…
Asking the same question in many cities, including in Europe, will bring the same response. The Hilton Hostel is expansive…
Perception of cost is everything – wherever we live and however much money we have…
First things first. Why would you go to the Hilton Hotel for a drink? Well, in Windhoek, the Hilton is one of the tallest building in the city and has a Roof Top Bar. If you go late afternoon, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset on the mountain, and see the city lights popping up as night is coming down. It is one of the nice view you can have within the city. Like everything, you might not want to do it every day, but it is a nice outing.
When you are a tourist, it is fine. You will do it once and then you leave. But when you live there, this is one of those experiences that you can enjoy at least once in your life, or for special occasions. I have been a couple of times altogether for special evenings.
I was told by someone that I have more money than him because I went go for a drink there. To which I replied that I actually had less then him…
When I have been to the Hilton bar, I selected the cheapest drink: a beer for N$25. This is more expensive than if I buy it with my shopping (N$8 a bottle) but not that much more than in another bar (N$20). Now, I only drink 1 beer so that I can enjoy the view. So the evening cost me N$25 (and my drinks for the week for that matter).
I pointed out to him that the same day, he had spent N$30 on drinks…
“No!! I had Coke and it is only N$10…”
“yes… but you had 3 Cokes today…”
“So, this makes a total of N$30 for the day…”
“Oh… right… true…”
(Note: this is the price of Coke when you don’ buy it at the supermarket – it is otherwise cheaper than beer…)
You have to know the costs – the first perception is that the Hilton is expensive. It is, but people don’t actually know how much a drink cost and so don’t know if in fact that they can afford it. You also have to look at the global picture of your spending and not only at individual items. Then you can decide where you spend your total budget…
Compared to him, instead of soft drinks during the day, I chose to have one drink on the highest building of the city, enjoying a beautiful sunset… And I even had change.
This was over the one day, but it could have been over 1 week or more. To go there once in his life would mean that he only has to cut his soft drink by 3 cans… He did not think that he had this option. Now he does, and it is up to him to choose.
A luxury evening can be affordable – as long as it is not everyday and if you consider all your spendings, making a choice about how you want to spend this money.
The cost in Euro and the comparison to European prices is irrelevant. We need to compare in country. But for those who are interested, at the time €1 = N$13 (Namibian Dollar)