Tourism in Harare has been picking up in for several years, and it now finds itself a modern, cosmopolitan city, home to an excellent arts scene as well as a fair number of swank restaurants and hotels. And while the CBD can get a bit busy (though it’s not as bad as other major African cities), there are plenty of places in and around it to relax in chic comfort. Whether you’re there for a weekend or a week, here are our picks for the best places for a relaxing stay in Harare, Zimbabwe.
This fantastic hotel in the Avenues neighborhood is just east of the CBD and features a colonial style that has been popular with travelers for decades. Inside the grounds, you’ll find two swimming pools, delightful gardens and beautiful Shona sculptures to help set the mood. The gardens are filled with trees and ponds, offering a great place to stretch your legs and relax. All of the rooms have traditional colonial decor, along with Victorian-era ceilings. The one caveat is there is no air conditioning, though the mild climate of Harare rarely requires it. There are two onsite restaurants along with a bar on site, but the one to go to is Emmanuel’s, serving a fantastic selection of local, wild game dishes.
Located on 2nd street in the CBD overlooking Africa Unity Square, the Meikles Hotel is certainly one of the best (if not the best) in Harare. It’s popular with VIPs coming into the city, and while there, you’ll be treated with exclusivity at every step. The historic property opened in 1915 and had its centennial celebration in 2015. Victorian ambiance is everywhere, and the hotel is thoroughly maintained to high standards. The onsite restaurant is also excellent and serves an astounding breakfast. Rooms are rather spacious and have curved archways, mahogany furniture and crown molding to complete the Victorian look. There’s really no need to leave the hotel, as it’s a vacation destination in itself.
Located in the lovely northern suburbs, this posh property offers rest and relaxation without the hustle and bustle of the CBD. There are only 16 rooms and suites, but are all separate with intimate gardens and a luxe safari-style atmosphere. Each room is unique and decorated with contemporary art from different African countries like Morocco and Uganda. The tropical gardens are worth wandering around to relax, and the swimming pool and spa offer fantastic retreats, too. The onsite restaurant serves international gourmet cuisine and features live music throughout the week. For avid golfers, there’s a manicured championship golf course on site.
This thatched-roof hotel in the serene Glen Lorne district is the perfect place to relax for the weekend and is only about 20 minutes from the center of Harare. The hotel is surrounded by fantastic hillside views and a vast countryside that put you in the country mood in no time. But don’t let the traditional charm fool you, there are also modern amenities here. The Imba Matombo restaurant dishes out haute cuisine and is certainly one of the best places to eat in the region. Those looking to keep in shape will want to take a break for a game of tennis or take out the clubs and spend a day playing on any of the 10 courses in the area.
Crowne Plaza Harare – Monomotapa
If you need to be close to the action while doing business in the city, but still want a bit of relaxation in between, the Crowne Plaza is an excellent pick. The hotel is owned by Intercontinental Hotels and is a fine example of its high quality offerings. The rooms are all super comfy, spotless, feature modern decor, and have large windows that overlook the city, so you can watch the buildings light up from the comfort of your bed. The onsite Parkview Brasserie offers delicious buffet-style meals, while Le Français has the best French dining in the city, along with a cool bar to chill out during the evening. For something more trendy, head to the second floor and the Aquarium Lounge bar, which has stellar views and access to the gorgeous hotel swimming pool.