There’s something incongruous about driving into this swanky hotel in the scruffy mountain town of Mbale. It’s sleek and somewhat presidential, with beautiful rooms and sweeping views out over the peaks. But somehow the Mbale Resort Hotel – hands-down the swankiest place to stay in these parts – feels a little grand for humble Mbale.
The team members are warm and welcoming, and will show you through the bright and airy lobby space to the restaurant and the terrace. Upstairs, rooms are spread out over four floors. We slept in a standard double room adjacent to the presidential suite. The style of the room was modern, with luxurious touches such as baby-soft bathrobes and flattering lighting. Only the worst insomniacs could fail to get a good night’s sleep in the ultra-comfortable bed. Wifi is free and speedy.
We arrived late at night, under the cover of darkness, so when we pulled back the curtains the next morning, we might just have emitted a ‘wow’. The view from the top floor balconies is spectacular; thick greenery and bright bougainvillea frames a bubbling stream and serves as the foot of the mountain range. Birds of prey circle overhead, and sunlight filters through the fat leaves and lianas.
Breakfast that morning was a standard affair; think hot options such as bacon and eggs, hash browns and a range of cereals and granolas. We ate in the inside dining room, but you can ask to eat on the terrace if you want to make the most of that view. The lunch menu isn’t bad; there’s all the usual chicken and rice dishes, as well as noodles, pizzas and Ugandan specialties like ugali (maize meal) and matooke (boiled, mashed green banana.)
Thanks to the great service, lovely rooms and some nice touches, this is probably our favorite Mount Elgon hotel. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a bit of grandeur now and then.