The 3-star Cresta Lodge, Harare is a member of the Cresta Hotels group, which has hotel properties in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Built in 1992, it’s become a landmark in Harare and has recently undergone a major refurbishment, with the Sango Conference Centre and most of the rooms completed. The public areas and the rest of the rooms will be completed in 2014.
Where Is It?
Cresta Lodge, Harare is six kilometres from the city centre and 20 minutes from Harare International Airport. The hotel is on the corner of Samora Machel Avenue and Robert Mugabe Street, and it has ample secure parking.
The hotel has 171 rooms made up of 161 standard rooms (26 with twin beds), six executive suites and four family rooms. The standard room I stayed in had a queen-size bed and choice of three pillow types. These newly-refurbished rooms boast flat screen TVs (with selected DSTV satellite channels), a mini-bar, tea/coffee-making facilities, a digital safe, electronic key and air-conditioning. The majority of the rooms have large walk-in showers, whilst some have baths with overhead showers, for those who prefer a bath. All the suites have both a bath and walk-in shower. Interestingly, the rooms have both square and round three-pin electrical sockets at comfortable workstations complemented by a high-back office swivel chair. A glass sliding door opened up on to a balcony from where I had a perfect view of the garden. I left the door open at night, as the room I stayed in was on the first floor and I prefer fresh air to air-con. Completing the room was a light wooden floor, comfortable armchair, coffee table and, most importantly, complimentary Wi-Fi – certainly more than you’ll get in most 3-star hotel rooms.
Restaurants & Bars
Chatters restaurant is the venue for all main meals. Buffet dinners are the norm, but an a la carte option is also available. I opted for the buffet, which had cold meats, salads, various starch options, roast chicken and roast beef, and was satisfactory. The hotel also offers an a la carte ‘business lunch’, where you can mix a meeting with pleasure. Adjoining the restaurant is Chatters Bar, which caters to all tastes and is the ideal place for pre-dinner drinks. The Continental Bar Lounge is situated in the lobby area and leads outside to a patio overlooking the swimming pool and gardens. Light meals, as well as tea and scones are on offer here, whilst an ice-cold beer, sitting on the patio watching the sun go down comes highly recommended!
Meeting & Conferencing Facilities
The recently-refurbished Sango Conference Centre is a separate building, but is connected to Cresta Lodge, Harare by a covered walkway. The centre has eight conference venues, which are able to host anything from 12 to 700 delegates in a variety of seating arrangements. Sango Conference Centre is technically advanced, with state of the art projectors and audiovisual equipment, broadband access for every delegate and video conferencing facilities. The largest venue, ‘Miti-Shiza’, has a high and wide door entrance for vehicles, making it possible to host product launches here. There is also a large covered patio area in front of this venue with cocktail tables and chairs, and this space is ideal for tea breaks or informal meetings. The centre has its own entrance and secure car park for around 300 cars.
Apart from the swimming pool, there are no other leisure facilities, but if you fancy your golf and have the time, then try Chapman Golf Club, which is just a few kilometres away.
Cresta Lodge, Harare punches well above its 3-star status, and is the ideal environment in which to mix business and pleasure.