Arusha Coffee Lodge is well located for a night before or after your safari...
Arusha Coffee Lodge: Our full report
Set just outside of Arusha, close to the city's small domestic airport and just off the main road to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti, Arusha Coffee Lodge, which sits on part of a 40 hectare (100-acre) coffee plantation, in open manicured gardens, is a convenient overnight stop at the start or end of your safari.
Arusha Coffee Lodge (the urban sibling of Migration Camp and Tarangire Treetops). It’s interesting to scrutinise the coffee plants themselves, shaded under Granville palm trees behind the main buildings. The thin flesh of the red coffee berry encases the pale coffee bean, which has to be fermented and roasted to make it palatable.
The central areas at Arusha Coffee Lodge are housed in a large red-brick building, where the bar, lounge and dining area feature terracotta tiles, bare brick and white-washed walls and raw wood. The result is stylish and reminiscent of a colonial plantation house.
Beyond the reception desk, where the concierge is on hand to help with enquiries, is Arusha Coffee Lodge's bar (the ‘3° South’ Bar/Bistro, with its outside deck and indoor lounge), a bright but cosy room with rich amber-coloured wooden floors and one wall made up largely of french windows. Leather directors' chairs are set around dark wooden tables and a leather sofa sits by an open fire.
In the dining room at the Coffee Lodge, where there is also an open fire, tables and chairs are set out on the red-tiled floors, wrought-iron chandeliers hang from the ceiling and there is also an open fire. The adjacent lounge – the two rooms are partially divided by high open doorways – is quite a bit darker than the other rooms, but is comfortable and cool. Dark wooden furniture, large sumptuous sofas and leather armchairs make this an inviting place to relax. In the evenings when the fire is lit it is a cosy place to sit and enjoy an after dinner drink.
At the back of the Coffee Lodge on the left is a large open lawn and tranquil garden, dotted with wooden tables and chairs, and beautifully maintained. Each table has a broad sunshade, making this a great place to sit for lunch. No doubt it is this that helps to make Arusha Coffee Lodge a popular lunch time spot for both locals and expats.
Arusha Coffee Lodge's nice, 10-metre oval swimming pool (1.25m-1.4m deep, no lifeguard) is tucked among tropical bushes and so feels almost hidden away from the main garden. There are a number of sun loungers lined up on the patio and there is also some shade provided by umbrellas. The pool area doesn't have vast amount of space – but it is fine for a cooling dip and an afternoon of sunbathing.
The lodge has a small treatment area for massages, with Africology products for body treatments and Pevonia products for facial treatments. There’s a spa at the back.
Walk across the manicured garden and into the coffee plantation, where paths lead through the coffee bushes to the 18 standard rooms, which are lovely red-brick buildings with terracotta-coloured tin roofs. Dating from the 1980s, they are built after the style of old plantation houses and have lots of character.
Once inside, these split-level rooms are spacious and very comfortable. They are furnished with a sumptuous double bed, a small lounge area and an en-suite bathroom. There is even a fire place which can be lit on cool nights.
The lodge’s 12 suites are more recent, dating from 2006. Like the standard rooms, they are built in units of two.
Arusha Coffee Lodge has the ever-popular garden for lunch time (very decent, healthy food), and indoor dining in the lounge and bar area. When we were last here we found the food to be diverse and appetising. That said, the pleasantness of the garden more than makes up for this and it remains a popular spot to have lunch. The home-grown coffee is also worth stopping here for.
Most people stay at Arusha Coffee Lodge for just one night, using it is as a convenient stop at the start or end of their safari. It would be unusual for us to suggest a stop here of more than one night.
However, if you stay for longer then the Coffee Lodge can arrange activities for you, while you are here. There are options to take a taxi to some of the nearby curio emporiums, though more intrepid travellers might like to haggle for goods in the Maasai market in Arusha town. The Coffee Lodge can also arrange for you to visit a local village with a guide. Or you can simply lounge around the lovely swimming pool if you need some time for sheer relaxation.
Lastly, you won’t miss the ’Soko Gift Shop’ which sells including art works, fabric, shoes, bags and jewellery. The prices are reasonable and the selection is good. ’Kahawa Coffee Shop’ does sit-down coffees, take-outs, and beans and ground coffee sales. Both shops are part of a little retail development called Trader’s Walk which includes an outlet of the tanzanite specialist shop ‘The Tanzanite Experience’ and the major charity workshop operation ‘Shanga’ (‘beads’ in Swahili) which supports 47 disabled artisanal workers who fashion their products her and receive the benefits when they’re sold in the neighbouring retail store and showroom.
Our viewArusha Coffee Lodge is a popular hang-out with locals and expats and it has a welcoming and relaxed feel. The rooms are comfortable and the food good, and even if you're not staying the night, it's easy to while away a few hours here.
Ideal length of stay: The Aruska Coffee Lodge is a good base for one night at the start or end of your safari.
Directions: Arusha Coffee Lodge is on the western outskirts of Arusha, only about a 5-minute drive from Arusha Airport. It is around a 90-minute drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport depending on traffic
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Hotel and lodge owners Elewana
Staff: 132 staff
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: When we were last at the Arusha Coffee Lodge in November 2015, we stopped for lunch but didn't have a chance to sample the other meals they offer. Though we did have a really good chat with the manager who explained what guests can expect.
The breakfast is an à la carte buffet of fresh fruit, cereals, juices, fresh bread and pastries as well as juice tea and coffee. You can also order a full cooked breakfast which would usually include eggs of your choice, bacon, sausages, toast, tomatoes, mushrooms and maybe even hash browns.
Lunch is usually served in Arusha Coffee Lodge's lovely gardens. There is a large à la carte menu to choose from which includes a variety of international dishes such as lasagna, burgers and chips, sandwiches, grilled chicken and pizzas. We helped ourselves from a very tasty and wide-ranging buffet that included lots of vegetarian options and local dishes as well as familiar items.
Dinner is a more formal 3-course set menu served in doors in the dining room.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included, you can expect to pay around $2 for a soft drinks and $3 for a beer.
Further dining info: Yes
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Arusha Coffee Lodge.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at Arusha Coffee Lodge.
Special activities & services: Arusha Coffee Lodge has an outdoor play area with swings and a wooden climbing frame. They can also offer babysitting services, though guests should be aware that this will be from their house keeping team and not necessarily someone with a professional qualification.
Equipment: High chairs, baby cots.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: Arusha Coffee Lodge has a special play area for children, a swimming pool and wide open lawns. It is a great spot for kids.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: There is automatic generator standby and backup.
Communications: There is mobile phone reception around the lodge and Wi-Fi is available throughout, including in all the guest rooms and suites.
TV & radio: There is no TV in the standard rooms, only in the suites, but TV is always available somewhere in the public areas for major sporting events.
Water supply: Other
Water supply notes: Purified well water is used. Guests drink bottled mineral water, of which unlimited supplies are provided.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: It is only a short drive from Arusha Coffee Lodge to Arusha's clinics and hospitals.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Arusha Coffee Lodge has a secure gate at the front of the lodge, and security on site throughout the day and night.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in every room and throughout the public areas. Fire-training and first-aid training are done twice a year by the same compliance company that checks eco-compliance.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: The laundry is an extra charge and will usually be returned the same day. Guests decide on whether it should be hand or machine washed and dried in a tumble drier or out in the sun.
Money: Arusha Coffee Lodge offers a foreign exchange service.
Accepted payment on location: You can settle your bill using Tanzanian shillings or major currencies in cash. Visa, Mastercard and Amex are also accepted.