Banff Lodge: Our full report
Situated in the quiet suburb of Hillside, about a ten-minute drive from the centre of Bulawayo, Banff Lodge ...... is clean, comfortable and convenient for a night or two in the city.
Situated in the quiet suburb of Hillside, about a ten-minute drive from the centre of Bulawayo, Banff Lodge is clean, comfortable and convenient for a night or two in the city.
Dating from the late 19th century, Banff Lodge has been run as a family enterprise since 2013. A lot of work has been put into upgrading and improving the property and it’s now beginning to pay off. Although there is still some work to be done, we found Banff a perfectly adequate place to spend a night on our first visit here in 2014.
A short path from the car park leads guests through Banff’s garden to a rather dated reception area, where friendly staff are on hand to greet you and show you to your room.
Banff Lodge has 11 rooms and 2 family cottages, all of which are en suite. We stayed in one of the older family cottages, where furniture and chairs seemed to have been added without much thought for design and style. Most of the rooms have been renovated, however, with plans to complete the work as soon as the money becomes available. These newer rooms are much nicer than the cottages, with modern fittings and a more contemporary eye to detail. None of the rooms has air conditioning but each has a fan,a tea and coffee station and satellite TV. Complimentary WiFi is found around much of Banff Lodge, but this is patchy and you may need to take a little time to find the hotspots.
The en-suite bathrooms are quite small but clean and functional with plenty of hot water. Our bathroom had a bathtub only, which was a little frustrating, but we’re pleased to note that they plan to put showers in all the bathrooms.
Banff Lodge has a couple of restaurants. Relaxed and informal, The Deck is situated on a deck under a thatched roof, overlooking a small pool. This is a popular place with locals, who also appreciate the TV coverage of sports from around the world.
For a more formal dining experience, there is the New Orleans restaurant inside the main house. This has been around for a number of years and has won many national culinary awards.
There are no activities included in a stay at Banff Lodge but reception will be happy to organise museum visits and excursions.
Banff Lodge is a good option for anyone passing through Bulawayo who wants to overnight somewhere close to town but not in Bulawayo itself. Dining options are varied with The Deck offering a relaxed pub atmosphere, and the more upmarket New Orleans restaurant. The lodge is a little dated in its décor and design but it’s clean, comfortable and manned by friendly staff.
Country manager: Zimbabwe
- Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
- Ideal length of stay
- Banff Lodge works well for a one-night stopover in Bulawayo.
- Banff Lodge is about 30 minutes from Bulawayo International Airport. Most guests staying here will transfer to Banff by road.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- We found the food on our last visit to Banff Lodge to be very good indeed. The Deck (open from early in the morning until about 9.00pm) was a lovely place for a drink and some food next to the pool.
For breakfast we had a full breakfast of two eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns and corn fritters.
For dinner we enjoyed a really well cooked surf & turf option: a 250g sirloin steak accompanied by calamari and lemon-buttered prawns, with chips and salad. It was delicious.
The more formal New Orleans is open 6.30–9.00pm every evening. We didn’t eat here on our last visit but the menu looked great, with highlights including roasted bone marrow served with a berry salad, onion and toast, or sticky pork ribs with spicy potato wedges and a mixed leaf salad. The seafood menu was also impressive with beer-battered Namibian hake of particular appeal to us.
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are very much welcome at Banff Lodge.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions.
- Special activities & services
- There is a small jungle gym in the garden and the pool will appeal to children too. There is also a large, secure lawn for them to run around.
- Generally recommended for children
- Although not specifically designed with children in mind, Banff Lodge is a good place for kids to stay.
- The pool isn’t fenced and the car park at Banff can get very busy, so we’d of course urge parents to supervise their children at all times.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back up generator for use in the event of the mains failing.
- There is patchy WiFi throughout Banff and good cellphone reception.
- TV & radio
- There are plans for TVs to be installed in the rooms soon but there is no radio.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All the rooms have en-suite bathrooms that are fully plumbed, though not all have showers. The water pressure and temperature was good on our last visit.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Reception has a fairly limited first-aid kit for any minor ailments. For more serious medical issues there is a doctor in Bulawayo and for really serious issues medical air rescue services are on hand to transport patients to Jo’burg or Harare.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Banff Lodge is fenced and has an electronic gate manned by a nightwatchman. Security guards patrol the property throughout the night.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in reception.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service is provided at an extra cost.
- Although there are no safes in the rooms there is a guest safe, which visitors should speak to reception about using.
- Accepted payment on location
- Banff Lodge accepts cash only – there are no credit card facilities here.
Other lodges in Bulawayo
Alternative places to stay in this same area.