Boutique Harare: A tranquil retreat at York Lodge

Min Read

Words by Yvonne C Mtengwa

Harare, the “Sunshine City” often proves to be an anomaly for most Zimbabwean diasporans headed in for business and pleasure, especially if they haven’t made their way back for a long while. As a buzzing city experiencing the impact of urban sprawl, I’d be the first to say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define where its boundaries lie.  

My arrival at the newly expanded Robert Mugabe International Airport was met with fascination, as I was keen to experience what I hoped to be a seamless roll out for any new airport welcoming international guests. I’ll describe the arrival procedures as presenting an opportunity for improvement, as with landing in most airports across the continent. Harare as we know it, challenges you to adapt to the energy of a people constantly on the move to make ends meet, from your initial encounters with airport staff right through to every conversation one might engage in onto their final destination. 

But in its hustle and bustle are pockets of serenity that defy the pulse of what lies beyond the walls from which certain experiences are availed. September heralded an unexpected trip back to the Zimbabwean capital for a period that would be much longer than I had stayed for on my most recent visit only a few weeks prior. Harare continues to invoke curiosity, especially given its fast-evolving nature. It’s a sensory overload for some, yet home for us who were born and raised there. There is always something new to marvel at, there are always so many questions on the tip of one’s tongue; again, much as you would have driving through the streets of Lusaka or Dar es Salam.

Keen to further discover what else was new on the boutique lodge scene in Harare after the pleasant surprises of the weeks before, I went on to contact York Lodge, which I had heard is a hidden gem and certainly very popular for inbound business travellers. Visitation numbers into the capital have long been on the rise, but where to put heads on beds remains a question for many, given the (less than favourable) locations of most chain hospitality product in the central business district of Harare.

A pristine place in the heart of Newlands, Harare

York Lodge stands as an epitome of sophistication and comfort, making it the perfect accommodation for business travellers seeking a blend of convenience and tranquillity. With its impeccable amenities, proximity to key business hubs, and the enchanting allure of its gardens, York Lodge offers a unique and distinguished experience for those visiting Harare.

Set on several acres of sprawling lawns, upon entering York Lodge, guests are greeted with an ambiance of refined luxury. The accommodations feature an extension of what used to be a private farmhouse style home, expanded onto the stunning acreage to include standalone suites and semi-detached rooms dotted within the York Lodge grounds.  Family owned and meticulously designed, rooms are incredibly, fully decked out to include your coffee making station, large wardrobe, bathroom with soaking tub and standalone shower. The garden facing units boast patios for one to soak up the warm yet nature-based atmosphere that comes with plush gardens, all providing a harmonious balance between modern functionality and classic charm.

An enchanting garden retreat

One of the standout features of York Lodge is its enchanting garden, a verdant oasis that offers a serene escape from the bustling pace of business activities. The meticulously landscaped gardens provide a tranquil setting, allowing guests to rejuvenate their minds and bodies amidst nature’s beauty.

The garden serves as an ideal venue for outdoor events, corporate gatherings, or simply a quiet stroll after a day of intensive work. The carefully selected flora contributes to a peaceful atmosphere, while the sparking swimming pools on the property cue in an additional invitation to enjoy a perfect balance between the energy of the city and the calming influence of nature.

Relaxed dining concept

York Lodge’s commitment to excellence extends to its culinary offerings. The on-site restaurant boasts a menu curated with a fusion of international and local flavours. Mornings begin with hearty hot and cold breakfast options, inclusive of fresh fruits, a selection of cereals, yoghurts and pastries before picking from a robust menu what one would like to top off their first meal of the day.

Of course, in-room service dining is always an option, and business travellers can indulge in a made-to-order gastronomic journey without leaving the comfort of the lodge. Staff are on hand to ask if you will be joining for dinner, a sustainable approach to ensuring there is no food wastage given the unpredictability of business schedules for some.  

A space to integrate work and relaxation

I spent most of my time working from the patio at the main lodge, and moving on to occupy that outside my suite after my lunch. The beautifully manicured gardens were too pristine for me to want to huddle up at my in-room workstation. For those who prioritize connectivity, high-speed Wi-Fi is available throughout the premises, enabling guests to stay connected and conduct business efficiently. The in-room workspaces are thoughtfully arranged, providing a comfortable environment for business activities. In addition, York Lodge offers conference facilities equipped with the latest technology, making it an ideal venue for meetings, presentations, and corporate events.

The on-site business center caters to the diverse needs of business travellers, offering services such as printing, copying, and secretarial assistance. When I needed some support, the office staff were on hand to assist with requests, with this thoughtful attention to detail reflecting York Lodge’s commitment to ensuring a hassle-free experience for those with professional responsibilities.  

Added advantage: Proximity to Business Hubs

The premises are extremely private, secure, and void of any interference from the outside world. Strategically located as the first address on York Avenue in the leafy neighborhood of Newlands, York Lodge is near key business districts and government offices in Harare, ensuring that business travellers can minimize commute times, allowing for more efficient use of their valuable time. Whether attending meetings in the Central Business District engaging in workshops or hosting meetings of their own onsite, guests at York Lodge benefit from its convenient location.

The lodge’s concierge service goes the extra mile to assist guests with transportation arrangements, providing a seamless and stress-free experience for those navigating the city for business purposes. This commitment to service excellence extends to personalized recommendations for dining and entertainment options in the vicinity, ensuring that business travellers can unwind after a day of meetings.

Home away from home while in Harare

From the mushrooming of new shopping centers and commercial blocks, food courts, and a myriad of petrol stations about town, the very evident real estate boom through the workings of privately owned real estate development companies, sharply contrasted by men and women contributing to the robust informal economy, most would agree that Harare is a sensory for some; even those of us who frequent coming home for work or play. But in it also lie spaces that are seemingly far from the madding crowd, providing the relaxation needed to function from within pristine settings. York Lodge in Harare, Zimbabwe, stands as an exemplary choice for business travellers seeking accommodations that seamlessly blend functionality with luxury – and calm.

I’m often asked by friends and family members to recommend places to explore when in Harare. For me, I was delighted to note that I could add York Lodge to the growing list of boutique product in Harare that not only meets the practical needs of business travellers but also elevates their experience by providing a tranquil retreat amid a bustling city. For a harmonious blend of work and relaxation, York Lodge emerges as the perfect choice in the heart of Harare. Do check them out when next in the Sunshine City! You can thank me later!

Yvonne C Mtengwa is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Travel Essence Magazine, a Communications Strategist by profession, with an avid passion for discovering Africa and the Middle East’s iconic landscapes through her travels. Connect with and follow her travel, tourism, and lifestyle experiences on: IG @Quintessentially_yvonne.



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