An Absolute Oasis at the Amanzi Lodge in Harare, Zimbabwe
Trust me when I say that a decent hotel in Zimbabwe can be tough to find (more about hotels filled with food poisoning adventures and prostitutes that linger outside your room in later posts, I promise!)
Even before I visited, I've always loved the idea of Zimbabwe. I'm originally from Newfoundland, where there is a sizeable Zimbabwean community in the capital. I always marvelled at the parallels between our cultures and noticed how new comers were quick to integrate and make Newfoundland a home.
I was ecstatic in early 2015 when I discovered that I'd be touching down in Zimbabwe for the first time. I was headed for a work trip, and upon receiving the hotel suggestions, a colleague immediately emailed me and told me to book the Amanzi Lodge pronto, as it would fill and the other choices were a little dodgy.
A giant black SUV rolled up to the airport to pick us up with tinted windows and I felt a little bit like Barack Obama for a second (somehow I picture our own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau travelling in something a little more inconspicuous and eco-friendly). And sometime later as we rolled through the gates of the guarded Amanzi Lodge and the door shut behind us, I was enclosed in an oasis.
The staff are top notch! Check-in was a breeze, the hotel manager immediately got me a loaner set of adapters when I sadly explained how my water bottle had exploded on mine. The dining room is small and intimate, with charm and character. The food was good (although admittedly, not out of this world).
Each room is decorated in the theme of an African city or country. I found myself in the Zanzibar room, where the deep soaker tub was a dream come true.
I approached the pool with apprehension, as there was some sort of centipede looking creature at the bottom. A nearby staff member immediately noticed my concern (and didn't get annoyed with me as the staff at the Dar es Salaam airport did when I squealed as a cockroach scurried by my feet). He assured me that it was not dangerous, but quickly fetched it from the pool before I got in. Because it was too cold for most people in Africa to consider swimming (a chilly 23C!), I enjoyed the pool to myself for a while before heading back to work!
A friend took a colleague and I out for a lovely dinner. He had car troubles on the way back and was forced to leave his car at the hotel. The manager of the hotel personally gave him a ride home!
The one thing that I do often notice when travelling throughout many African countries is while most of the staff are local, management are often brought in from western countries. Perhaps in the future as economies and access to post secondary education grows, so too will the opportunities for local residents.
If you're looking for luxury in Harare, this, to my knowledge is the only choice. And boy, would I love the chance to stay here again! If you've stayed somewhere amazing in Harare, please, leave some info in the comments. I'd love to hear about it!
In the meantime, if you find yourself in Zimbabwe, check out the Amanzi Lodge!
Would I stay here again? Absolutely!
Champagnes on the Luximetre:
*The Luximetre is FooteOuttheDoor's 5 point scale to measure the degree of luxury felt by the hotel guest