Armadale Lodge

Armadale Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
9 Suites
Traveller's rating
Excellent (96%) From 5 reviews
Children
Best for aged 12+
Open
All year

In the northern suburbs of Harare, about a 15-minute drive from the airport and ten minutes from the city centre, Armadale Lodge provides a tranquil location for an overnight stay in Zimbabwe's capital. Set in a single-storey 1904 farmhouse nestled in a charming garden, its traditional Edwardian character contrasts with contemporary African and Asian décor.

Accommodation at Armadale Lodge consists of nine suites, all individually themed. These are split into either Garden Suites or Courtyard Suites, with the respective views. Some, like the Livingstone, Nehanda and Shumba suites, have a distinct classic African feel; others, such as Shiva and Krishna, adopt a more modern theme focused on the Indian sub-continent.

All the suites are thoughtfully designed, and despite their proximity to one another each feels relatively secluded. The beds are particularly comfortable, which we especially appreciated when we were recovering from a long-haul flight in October 2018.

Each suite has a free-standing fan as well as a heater for the cooler winter months. A tea- and coffee-making station and a desk light are found on a writing desk in the corner of the room. Each suite also has a flat-screen TV with international satellite channels, and an electronic safe.

The en-suite bathrooms also vary in design, from the classic to the modern. Some have bathtubs and showers, some just showers. Although some are a little more dated than others, they are all clean, well finished and well maintained. Locally sourced complimentary toiletries are provided along with fluffy towels and cosy bathrobes.

The main house is split largely between the dining room, the guest suites and a large lounge on a covered veranda. There are plenty of cosy spots to sit and relax around the lodge, although some of the stained ebony and teak furniture can make it feel quite dark, especially in the evenings. In the well-stocked library you’ll find both reference and fiction books – and a useful bird checklist featuring an impressive array of species seen to date in the garden. Also in the main house is a small, Oriental-themed “breakout room” designed for meetings.

Breakfast can be eaten either in the dining area or in the gardens; alternatively, room service will be happy to deliver breakfast in bed. Other meals can effectively be taken wherever you wish – though we'd suggest the gardens as our favourite option, perhaps around the pool. Guests staying in the garden suites can arrange for private meals to be served on their veranda.

The lodge’s 1ha (2.5 acre) landscaped gardens hide several quiet seating areas which feel far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. A large swimming pool, nicely lit in the evenings, offers another great spot in which to unwind with a drink, relax and re-energise, or to enjoy a meal.

There is plenty to do in and around Harare and staff on reception at the lodge will be happy to help organise tours and activities. Thanks to its convenient location, Armadale is very popular with both tourists and other visitors, so you can expect to be sharing with businessmen and women and even the occasional touring sports team.

Our view

Armadale Lodge offers a tranquil, stylish overnight setting for those passing through Harare. It's very well situated for exploring the city and convenient for getting to and from the airport. The rooms are comfortable and varied in design; the main areas are thoughtfully decorated; and the lush, manicured gardens and large swimming pool extend the relaxed vibe.

Geographics

Location: Harare, Zimbabwe

Ideal length of stay: Most of Expert Africa's travellers will only overnight in Harare, before or after a safari, but we'd be happy to spend longer at Armadale.

Directions: Transfers between Armadale Lodge and Harare International Airport take about 15–20 minutes by road, depending on traffic.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: B&B

Food quality: The standard of food at Armadale is consistently very good and this was certainly the case on our stay in October 2019. For this reason, we would recommend taking meals here rather than venturing further afield. With sufficient notice the kitchen is able to cater for most dietary requirements,

Breakfast at Armadale Lodge was excellent. An extensive continental buffet includes plenty of fresh fruit, muffins, cereals, yoghurts and various jams and marmalades. There is also a “healthy option” or a (less healthy) full English breakfast available from the kitchen on request.

We didn't have time for lunch at Armadale Lodge on our last visit, but options vary from light snacks through to full three-course meals.

The dinner menu has a choice of up to three courses or a traditional braai (barbecue). We enjoyed a selection of salads and homemade vegetable soup. The main course was a choice of chicken, beef or fish, all served with steamed vegetables and mashed potato. Although we were too full to take on dessert, options included ice cream, apple crumble, lemon surprise and fruit cake.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £15-20

Drinks included: Drinks are not included at Armadale Lodge. Guests can help themselves to drinks from a 24-hour honesty bar, with the bill settled up at the end of your stay. The lodge’s borehole water is considered safe to drink. Bottled water is provided at an extra charge.

Further dining info: Room service is available.

Children

Attitude towards children: Children under 12 are permitted to stay at Armadale Lodge provided that this is approved by the management in advance.

Property’s age restrictions: No minimum age, but see note above

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: Although Armadale is fenced, the pool is unguarded so young children will need supervision at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: The lodge has a generator on standby should the mains fail – which they infrequently do.

Communications: The lodge offers complimentary WiFi and has very good cellphone reception. There are no phones in the rooms but guests can ask to use the reception's landline for local calls.

TV & radio: Each room has a 32-inch flat-screen TV with cable and satellite channels.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: All the lodge's water is sourced from a borehole.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Armadale Lodge has a dedicated doctor on standby who will see guests on request at his surgery. The nearest hospital is a short drive away and for anything very serious medical evacuation by air can be arranged between Harare and Johannesburg.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: Armadale Lodge has a perimeter wall and electric fence. The main electric gate is alarmed and private security guards patrol the property 24 hours a day from a central security room.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in reception.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A complimentary laundry service is provided to all guests.

Money: Each room has an electric safe. There is however no currency exchange available.

Accepted payment on location: Card payments are accepted in Visa and Mastercard, with cash in US dollars.

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