Hotel Check: AVANI Lesotho


Maseru, Lesotho

BACKGROUND: Sun International sold portions of its Lesotho, Botswana, Namibian and Swaziland operations, and the whole of its Zambian offering, to Minor Hotels in 2014 in a deal worth $47 million. Minor has rebranded the hotels under its AVANI and Anantara brands, bringing its Asian hospitality, typified by friendly, helpful staff, to Africa.

WHERE IS IT?  You’ll find the hotel on a hill in the north-west of the city, just over four kilometres from the border with South Africa. If you’re flying into Moshoeshoe I International Airport on either Airlink or Maluti Sky, the 20-odd kilometre drive will take you about half an hour.

ROOM FACILITIES: There are a total of 158 rooms, ranging from standard, executive and superior rooms to suites (including one Presidential suite), laid out in four wings. My executive room had a very comfortable king-size bed, writing desk, aircon, luggage rack, electronic safe, tea-and-coffee making facilities and private balcony overlooking the hotel’s pool area and the city at the bottom of the hill. The room was spacious and well-appointed as was the bathroom, which had a large vanity around the basin, a bath and a separate shower. Housekeeping set out a pair of slippers at my bedside each night and hung a robe in the bathroom. The plug points at the desk were easy to access. I was sceptical about the ottoman that was clearly intended as a chair, worried that the lack of back support would cause pain, but it was comfortable enough for the short time I needed to use it.

avani-lesotho-3Guests receive 250MB of free wi-fi data per day; extra data can be charged to your room. It was easy enough to connect my iPhone and laptop to the network, but my Samsung tablet had difficulty. The connection wasn’t terribly fast, but it did work.

There are two elevators servicing the entire hotel and they worked hard during my stay, given the 100% occupancy. If you’re not keen on waiting for a lift, you can take stairs, which I found to be mostly unused.

The staff at reception were very helpful when I needed to have my key card reprogrammed (note: don’t keep your room card in the same pocket as your cell phone – it wipes out the coding) and my request for extra rooibos teabags was promptly attended to.

RESTAURANTS & BARS: There are three dining options onsite. Café Nala serves three buffet meals a day. Over the course of three breakfasts, I sampled the muesli and yoghurt, croissants (which were deliciously buttery), eggs, bacon, savoury mince, sausage and mushrooms, all of which were really tasty. Coffee takes a little while to brew, so if you’re there early, you might have to wait until it’s ready. At the lunch buffet, I opted for roast beef, rice and hot veggies. I was disappointed at the lack of gravy, but the meal was delicious nonetheless. Jing Tao serves Chinese cuisine, catering to the large contingent of Chinese guests who come to play at the casino. The food is the westernised version that I am familiar with and it’s all outstanding, especially the sweet and sour pork and the spicy beef. Leifo Bar, adjacent to reception, offers cocktails, coffee, cakes and a full menu of bar snacks.

avani-lesotho-1BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: The hotel houses six meeting rooms on the lower level. The smallest, Seotlong, seats nine or 10 people in U-shape or boardroom seating respectively, while the largest, Pisto 1 and 2, can accommodate 200 in either U-shape or banqueting style, and 300 with cinema-style seating.

LEISURE FACILITIES: The biggest drawcard is the casino, with its roulette and blackjack tables and banks of slot machines in both smoking and non-smoking sections. The onsite gym offers workout spaces and a small number of heartrate-elevating machines. The spa’s menu includes massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. The outdoor swimming pool is inviting during Lesotho’s sweltering summer.

VERDICT: A decent four-star offering. Rooms are comfortable, food is tasty and staff are friendly, although wi-fi speeds could be faster.

Kate Kennedy

: Hilton Road, Maseru
T: +266 2224 3000