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Machweo
Machweo
Machweo

Machweo: Our full report

Part of the Onsea House set-up, Machweo (or Machweo Wellness Retreat and Fine Dining to give it its full ...

... name) opened in October 2011, and this boutique property is on the same plot as the original Onsea House, in the hilly rural suburbs east of Arusha town. By default, it's where Onsea's guests tend to eat - both properties share the same exuberant Axel Janssens as Chef-Manager.

Together with its sister property Siringit, also near Arusha – Machweo has a reputation for producing some of the best food in the region, and this is reason enough to stay here, either overnight or as a dayroom base between flights.

Approached along a muddy/dusty earth road south of the Moshi Highway, a few kilometres east of Arusha town, Machweo can be entered through its solid-looking security gates, or a similar pair for Onsea House, 100m further up the road. Most guests will check-in at reception at Onsea, before being installed in their room at Machweo. The common lounges, dining and terrace areas of both properties are open to all guests, though most people tend to congregate at Machweo, whereas Onsea is used more as an overspill and backup area for larger groups.

Everything at Machweo is modern, stylish and very nicely done, designed with clean plaster-and-brick work, flagstones, red-tiled roofs, dark woodwork and wood-framed windows, and overall a slight oriental styling. The main dining terrace with its fine views, and a high-roofed indoor lounge behind, leading up to the loos and kitchen, have high ceilings, giving everything a cool, open feel.

The nine guest rooms (housed in the main building and three separate two-or-three-room cottages) have similarly high ceilings, spacious stone-walled bathrooms with walk-in showers, plate glass dividers, double basins and large, four-poster beds with mosquito nets. There is also a small mini bar and coffee/tea making facilities in the room.

Activities are probably what you're about to embark on while staying here, rather than what you want to do (Macheweo is a very easy place to laze away the day), but the lodge does offer some very pleasant ways to pass the time, including the small lap pool (and the larger swimming pool in the lower garden at Onsea House, which was being refurbished on our last visit in February 2018), and a massage suite, steam room and sauna. And of course you have the option of visiting Arusha town, by cab (Machweo will organise that at extra cost) or building in a visit to Arusha National Park into your itinerary (best organised in advance through Expert Africa).


Our view

Renowned for its contemporary style and run with flair and energy, Machweo is one of our favourite places to stay – and eat – in the Arusha area. The breezy location and views are sublime, the rooms are spacious and comfortable and the Belgian-African food is some of the best we've had in Tanzania.

Lyndsey Marris

Lyndsey Marris

Tanzania expert

Geographics

Location
Arusha, Tanzania
Ideal length of stay
One night if you’re passing through at the beginning or end of your safari. But you could easily spend two or three nights here just relaxing.
Directions
Machweo is located in a partly suburban, partly rural setting, 20 minutes’ drive from Arusha and around 40 minutes’ drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
Accessible by
Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board
Food quality
One of the best reasons to be based at Machweo is the food, prepared and cooked by the Michelin veteran Axel Janssens.

Breakfast starts from 6am and consists of a wide-ranging continental buffet, with local fruit, cereals, bread and pastries, and anything cooked that you'd like to order – many guests opt for a full, English-style breakfast.

Lunch is very flexible and between noon and 6pm there's a bistro of frequently changing à la carte options, usually including a choice of several main courses and desserts, as well as lighter dishes and salads. When we visited these included Belgian beef stew with fries, “raw-food" veggie lasagne and tomato and prawn salad

Dinner which is from 7pm is much more elaborate with a number of courses. Guests can usually expect appetisers, soup, a cold or hot starter, a main course, a delicious dessert, and cake or chocolates with coffee. On our last visit we enjoyed appetizers of tomato bruschetta, followed by stuffed egg plant for the starter, roasted lamb with a rosemary jus for the main course and coconut ice cream with raspberry coulis to finish.

At lunch and dinner South African, Italian and French wines are complimentary, included in your full board rate.

Meals are served on the outside terrace, which offers diners wonderful views of the surrounding villages and rolling hills.

For more information see the food section of the Onsea House report.

Children

Attitude towards children
Children are welcome at Machweo, though the atmosphere is slightly quieter and more adult than at Onsea House. The owners have a young family, though they are not always there.
Property’s age restrictions
None.
Special activities & services
Babysitting by housekeeping staff is possible.
Equipment
Some toys and DVDs, plus baby cots and highchairs are available.
Generally recommended for children
Yes – Machweo is informal and the swimming pool is a draw. If you're staying here, you will also be able to use the pool at Onsea House. Beware: there’s no lifeguard at either pool.

Communications

Power supply notes
There is a back-up generator and inverter for Arusha's fairly frequent power cuts.
Communications
There is mobile phone reception and free wi-fi throughout most of the property, though guests are encouraged not to use their devices in public areas.
TV & radio
There is a large sports screen in the massage suite/pool bar. This area will gradually be transformed into a full pool bar as the massage tables are relocated.
Water supply
Other
Water supply notes
Water is pumped from the local river and goes through six filters, making the water used in the kitchen completely sterile. However, bottled drinking water is provided free of charge for guests.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
Four staff at Machweo and Onsea have received first-aid training and they have a first-aid kit available onsite. For more serious cases they are only a short drive from Arusha and a nearby hospital. The reception has a list of doctors with different specializations in order to help guide guests the best medial contact for their needs.



Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity in this area. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it's vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Security measures
Machweo has a secure gate and askaris (guards) around the property day and night.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers inside and outside the main areas and most staff are trained to use them.

Extras

Disabled access
Laundry facilities
Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money
Limited foreign exchange can usually be arranged, but using an ATM in town is likely to be more cost-efficient.
Accepted payment on location
You can pay for your extras on checking out using US dollars Tanzanian shillings, British pounds or Euros in cash.

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